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How to dress up your dining table

Leading Australian stylist Emma Knowles shares tips on how to create a warm, inviting dining table with earthy tones, foliage and coloured glassware. Wow your guests with these 5 clever ideas using Coles homewares. 

1. Set the scene with colour and texture

Whether a casual lunch or special dinner, entertaining post-lockdown has gained a newfound sense of occasion, so why not lay a beautiful table? Choose your colour palette – our favourite is dusky pink, burgundy, terracotta and burnt orange layered with neutrals and warm timbers. Go all out! If you love your dining table, let it shine with a simple table runner down the centre, or opt for a neutral-toned tablecloth layered with a contrasting table runner over the top. For winter, choose relaxed fabrics with texture. There are many fabric options; buy a length of inexpensive linen or hessian, or even put a favourite throw on the table to use as a runner. Add clusters of dried or preserved foliage and seasonal fruits for an eye-catching centrepiece, while candlesticks, tealight candles and sparkling light strands all make for a dreamy table guests will want to linger around.


2. Mix and match your crockery

Create a relaxed vibe by mixing and matching your tableware. An eclectic, mismatched approach means you can easily and inexpensively update your existing crockery with a few well-chosen new pieces in the colours of the season. This approach extends to napery, cutlery and glassware, too - it’s a great way to refresh your tabletop look without breaking the bank. Just remember to keep it all within your chosen colour palette.

3. Bundle up the cutlery

Rather than a more traditionally set table, a cutlery bundle placed off to one side is a nice, relaxed touch. Simply place a knife, fork and spoon on top of a folded napkin (opt for a mix-and-match approach with a range of different-coloured napery) and secure it with a loop of cord, twine or ribbon. Tuck in a sprig of dried leaves or foliage.

4. Know your place settings

Personalised place settings create a sense of occasion. Simply layer up your plates and bowls for each place setting, ensuring there’s a mix of colours and place a sprig of foliage or piece of fruit on each one, along with a cutlery bundle. You could add a simple luggage tag or gift tag to each cutlery bundle and write a guest’s name on each one, or even transform paint samples (in keeping with your colour palette, of course!) into name cards – either fold them in half, as we’ve done here, or use a hole punch to create a hole in one corner and tie onto each cutlery bundle.

5. Add colour to your glassware

One of winter’s biggest tabletop trends is coloured glassware - think water glasses, wine glasses and jugs, carafes or candle-holders in different tones. Head to Coles for the Cook & Dine range of smoky stemless wine glasses. Vintage stores and charity shops are also a great source of tinted glass (it was popular in the 1950s and ’60s). The glasses can also double as holders for tealight candles to add a glimmer to your table, day or night.