TURNING THE TABLES No longer just a blank canvas to drape and decorate, today the table itself is an integral design piece.
“Drastic changes have emerged in relation to table shapes and styles,” says Cynthia Lopell, president of Los Angeles-based CL22 Productions. “Where once rounds or rectangles draped with linens were the norm, new shapes have emerged with isometric [3D] designs as pieces of art.”
Lopell favors the clean, “minimal opulence” of etched, lit-from-within acrylic tabletops in unconventional sizes and shapes, such as ovals, octagonals and oversized circles. “Part of the appeal with the acrylic table is that the tabletop design feels as if it is floating on top,” she says. “While this may feel contemporary, it can change depending on what it is paired with. Adding metallic, smoked glass and mirrors will give it a glam chic appeal, whimsical flowers and taper candles can give it a hauntingly romantic appeal, while woods and neutral palettes can bring in a midcentury vibe.”
Cheryl Fish, vice president event design services of Reseda, Calif.-based Someone’s in the Kitchen, points to tabletops finished in slate, copper, stone, marble, cork and even chalkboard as viable options. “It’s all about variety and personal taste—the sky’s the limit,” Fish says.
Rectangular and square tables, often combining a mix of materials such as rustic wooden tops and sleek chrome legs, are on trend as well. “Higher end, residential-looking tables are favorites and, depending on their finish, can be used without the need for a linen to cover them,” says event designer Ramsey Prince of Chicago-based Kehoe Designs. Colleague Joey Berman, an event producer, agrees, noting however that the addition of a well-designed table runner, such as Kehoe’s signature bronze laser-cut “Molina” from BBJ Linen, is the ideal enhancement to a rustic wood top.
LUXE LINENS Regardless of style, quality is No. 1 when it comes to linens. Elegant, couture-level textiles and rustic natural materials, such as linen, cotton, mohair and wool, are dominating the market, often meshed for a unique feel. “These seemingly opposite trends can be successfully combined,” says Prince, who pairs opulent beaded linens with soft, handwashed linen or weathered velvets for a chic boho vibe.
And the fabric making the biggest statement today? It’s velvet—particularly French velvet, according to Lopell. “French velvet is off the charts, as it is luxurious in its feel, plush in a textural way, and adds a level of regality, especially in a natural garden setting,” she says. “There may be no greater way to elevate a scene than by adding this fabric to your table design—and it now comes in every color under the sun.”
Fish concurs: “High-end textiles provide the perfect background to every element on the table,” she notes. For a lush, summery, garden look, Fish suggests table linens embroidered with delicate leaves or hand-painted with a floral design and set with vibrant colored table ware and rich floral centerpieces. “It’s all about texture and color,” she says.
ADVANCED PLACEMENT Blending styles, finishes and textures carries through with tableware. “The dinnerware, glassware and flatware designs are just as important as the floral arrangements, complementing the design, theme and story of the event,” says Will Holditch, vice president of sales for Ashburn, Va.-based Rental Resource Tableware. “Making an impact through these utilitarian pieces benefits the price-conscious customer, who may not have the …
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