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Setting Pretty: Party Rental Pros Share Top Trends in Tabletop Design

Party rental experts share top trends in tabletop design, which include farm tables, textured linen, gold flatware and vintage china

Farm tables

Farm to Tabletop

Like its culinary counterpart, the rectangular farm table--in all its rustic and sleek variations--remains a top dining table choice at both social and corporate events. “The way guests are seated contributes to the overall event experience, and farm or banquet tables are conducive to more celebratory family-style dining,” says Kayla Loyek, event specialist at Edmonton, Alberta-based Special Event Rentals. Versatile and fashionable, wooden farm tables can be dressed up or down. “Many of my clients will dress them up with formal tabletop accents, glassware and chinaware to achieve a more polished look,” adds Debbie Barnes, business development manager of Tetoboro, N.J.-based Party Rental Ltd.

Delores Crum, president of Austin, Texas-based Premiere Events, likes farm tables for their economic elegance. “Farm tables can easily be used without a traditional table linen,” she says, switching them out for runners in natural fibers, vintage lace, sequins, patterns, faux leather—whatever the client’s taste or design theme dictates. Additionally, farm tables blend well with other table and chair styles. “A mix of table styles, including some traditional clothed rounds, mixed with farm or acrylic tables, have been very popular in Austin,” she says.

Stacey Mehalik, account executive with Los Angeles-based Classic Party Rentals, agrees. “Clients are incorporating specialty tables in wood finishes and lacquer whites, in both rounds and rectangular shapes,” she says. “A clean hemstitch or natural linen runner on our Descanso or wooden farm table is the perfect accent to Southern California’s ever-popular garden, backyard, and vineyard weddings and events.”

Jacob Holland, creative director of Cleveland-based Event Source, puts a modern spin on rustic tables. “I have made a conscious effort to take traditionally natural aesthetics to a more modern place,” he says. To that end, he suggests pairing farm tables with black and white striped runners, black half-plates, and matte black chairs for a modern, Asian-fusion feel. “The rustic element of the table warms the cool, modern lines,” he notes.

Photo at top from Rentals Unlimited/photo by Dana Siles Photography


Textured Tops

elegant table by Apres

Though runners may be a chic choice, linens still have a prominent place at the table, especially those that add tactile and visual texture to the design. “The use of digital printing on fabric to create life-like images is very exciting,” says Robert Hughes, CERP, director of marketing of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Over the Top Rental Linens. “The technology has become more cost-effective for rental linens and the possibilities are endless, allowing for the tabletop to become a custom decor element."

Hughes’ digital printed linen inventory runs the gamut from “contemporary metal sculptures and floral to rattan and river rocks—all appearing very realistic.” The ever-popular sequined linen even gets customization. “The ability to create custom designs in sequins or to print on sequins is much more prevalent now,” he adds. 

Speaking of sequins, Sheree Bochenek, creative director of Minneapolis-based Apres Party and Tent Rental, favors sparkles in neutral shades of gold, silver, blush and white. “Sequins are incredibly hot, whether all over or embroidered into floral designs.” David Price, CEO and creative director of Stoughton, Mass.-based Rentals Unlimited, adds metallic organza, super-saturated velvets and faux leather to the glitz mix, predicting that textured wovens, such as faux burlap, will show up in shades of gray, blue and mocha for 2016. Additionally, vintage-inspired florals and timeless classics such as gingham, checks and plaids will emerge as part of a “modern Bohemian” look, he predicts.

Photo from Apres Party and Tent Rental/photo by Lauren B Photography

The Moody Hues

Rustic table from Apres

As far as color palettes go, neutrals--specifically blush, beige and champagne--reign as go-to base colors, paired with cool-hued accents. “Neutral tones will never leave tabletops, but rather than pops of punchy colors such as fuchsia, teal and orange as accents, we’re seeing more masculine shades of gray, brown and burgundy,” Mehalik says.

Price adds, “Neutrals partnered with darker hues such as peacock, plum and moss, or even lighter dusty shades of amethyst, slate blue and bottle green are replacing the ‘pop of color’ craze with a more subtle, suggestive ‘wash of color,’ which is quieter version of its more colorful counterpart, but just as attention-getting for its refinement and  sophistication.”

Holland agrees. “Dusty hues--such as smoky taupe, airy blue and sea mist green--are the perfect complement to warm ivories and wood tones. They also pair well with black satins and mattes, which lend to a more contemporary take on these traditionally mature colors.” 

Photo from Apres Party and Tent Rental with styling by Belle Noelle Design/photo by Jeannine Marie Photography

The Gold Standard

Elegant table

As far as flatware goes, designers are clearly going for the gold, and rental houses can’t keep it in stock. “Gold flatware will dominate 2016, but in softer, brushed finishes” Price asserts.

Crum and Bochenek add rose gold to the mix, Loyek favors “anything gold, detailed and ornate,” while Holland insists matte is where it’s at. “Matte gold and silver flatware is something we simply cannot keep on the shelves, and matte black is a funky yet elegant option,” he says. “Mixing tableware metals is a trend that is gaining momentum and is great not only from a rental inventory standpoint but allows clients to get more playful with their combinations of textures and styles.”

Vintage-inspired china and glassware are as hot as they’ve ever been, with new styles bridging the gap between social and corporate tabletops. “More and more we see our clients select our vintage-inspired and floral-patterned dinnerware over a basic white set,” Loyek says. “Our gold- and platinum-rimmed glasses rent often, as do our vintage-inspired Vatican glasses.”

Barnes combines sculptural white plates accented with metallic touches with floral-shaped and Victorian-style plates. “The china pieces we are currently adding to our line tend to be a bit more romantic,” she admits. “We are very conscious of adding items that are interchangeable, so the client can use a multitude of different patterns, yet keep some symmetry.” Oversized Baroque glassware and colored milk glass pieces round out the vintage inventory.

Mehalik notes, “Gone are the rules of a matchy-matchy table setting. From eclectic-colored vintage glasses mixed with an industrial ceramic gray plate, to brushed gold flatware paired next to simple china, the possibilities are endless.” 

Photo of vintage china from Special Event Rentals

TAGS: Decor
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