The Art of Entertaining
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Set To Perfection1 of 15
By Amy Elisa Keith
Last week, Orange County shopping haven South Coast Plaza hosted retailers and press for a dinner to highlight summer entertaining collections. While we drooled over the splurge-worthy Versace china and adored the PB Kids outdoor set, we were also inspired to create similar arrangements for our next party. Check out how the pros created impeccable tables, and get the look for yourself.
Pull Up A Couch2 of 15
As the centerpiece of the affair, the 30-person dinner table blended modern design and elegant touches seamlessly to provide a plethora of eye-catching moments. While some guests sat on surprisingly stylish blue couches, others sat interspersed throughout on traditional dining chairs surrounding a burlap-wrapped table. In each seat were the party favors for the evening: Henri Bendel blankets, which came in handy as the sun set.
SHOP NOW: Henri Bendel Disturbed Stripe Beach Towel, $78
By the Book3 of 15
Teaming with delicate arches of clustered calla lilies and candle-filled lanterns, the table, designed by Sunny Ravanbach, owner of White Lilac, Inc., also made use of another party favor as a design element. In groups of three, Ravanbach arranged the new tome The Comfortable Home: How to Invest in Your Nest and Live Well for Less by Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams, weaving it around the florals and candles. This is an idea worth stealing for a book party or a baby shower.
SHOP NOW: The Comfortable Home, $23
Mood Lighting4 of 15
As guests dined on sea bass and burrata late into the evening courtesy of Antonello Ristorante, Moroccan-style hurricanes provided ambient lighting for the table in small clusters. The on-trend North African handcrafted trays and votives added an ethnic touch that, in theory, would seem to clash. However, in small doses, the infusion of a new design style works well with the natural tablescape and pop-colored furnishings.
SHOP NOW: Calypso St. Barth for Target Candleholder, from $20
Starry Night5 of 15
Adding boundaries to the al fresco dining area, Ravanbach hung translucent drapes and strung round glass lights above the table for a twinkling star effect. Alongside each gathering of drapes stood elegant pyramid heaters that surely did not sacrifice style for function. Remember to consider weather and the comfort of your guests in every outdoor occasion. The blankets and heaters were not only chic design elements, but they were also essential to enjoying the evening.
Touch Of Amber6 of 15
For the June fete, Hermès embraced the florals of the season, but in a unique color palette. Instead of the traditional pinks or yellows, Hermès set a table ripe with orange- and amber-colored glassware and dinnerware, accented with white orchids and burnt orange roses. This table setting could easily be repeated for an autumn event, and the small orchids on each salad plate are the perfect finishing touch.
SHOP NOW: Hermès Jardin des Orchidées Dinnerware, prices vary
Center Of Attention7 of 15
Clean and simple, Versace's dinnerware and flatware speak for themselves. The iconic Italian-design house regularly features its mermaid emblem on the serverware, but the lilac color is an unexpected surprise. Take a cue from this arrangement, and don't shy away from mixing gold and silver flatware. Also if you really want to highlight your high-end china, then opt for an understated floral centerpiece like this cluster of peonies.
SHOP NOW: Versace Le Grand Divertissement Dinnerware, prices vary
Go Green8 of 15
Perfect for a garden party, classic Villeroy & Bosh place settings add an earthy touch, infusing green accent colors and potted succulents. This setting is the ideal when it comes to casual chic dining, blending ornate stemmed glassware with down-home cotton linens. Add a touch of romance to the table with large blossoms in each soup bowl, and treat guests to teacups of fresh thyme as parting gifts.
Gather Around9 of 15
Aim for farm-style fabulousness with a picnic table setup. If you're throwing a lobster bake for the Fourth of July, then this is a seating style to consider. Don't be afraid of being too matchy-matchy, because in this case, the turquoise and orange color combination works well and isn't too thematic for a holiday party. Each setting is anchored by a wooden bowl and is equipped with napkins, shell crackers, spices and everything you might need for an afternoon of seafood.
Red, White And Blue10 of 15
Lounge in style to watch the fireworks. Pottery Barn's vignette at the event included classic Adirondack chairs accessorized with plush, patriotic pillows and an adjustable umbrella adorned with glass lanterns. The take-away from this vignette is that accessories are key. From the baskets of towels to the striped indoor/outdoor rug and the candle lanterns, each element plays off the other to create an inviting seating area that would work on even a small patio.
Adult Free Zone11 of 15
Whether you have a beach house or are simply setting up a playful "day at the beach" in the backyard, furnish with the little guys in mind. Keep them sun-protected with mini umbrellas that match their lounge chairs and sandcastle tools. And don't think that this is one-time use furniture. The pails and beach balls can be used throughout the summer, and the chairs will come in handy for fall-time campfires.
Parisian Escape12 of 15
Treat your guests to an intimate meal under a shaded pavilion that is lit by an elegant chandelier. One of the year's biggest trends is creating outdoor spaces that are reminiscent of indoor rooms. This entertaining area has many of the facets of a traditional dining room, which should be your focus when trying to re-create the look. Outside entertaining should be just as glamorous and well thought-out as an evening spent indoors.
Play Time13 of 15
Instead of a table display, modern retailer Emmo Home tapped its stock of unique, whimsical home furnishings to display a playful outdoor experience featuring a mod tree swing and animal statues. This vignette made us consider all the corners and nooks of our outdoor space and how they can be used for entertaining. Think about adding a swing or hammock to your space to create a mini retreat for the child within you.
Layer Up14 of 15
Bedding and bath mecca Frette showed how having a beautiful selection of beach towels and blankets can truly transform a space. If you splurged on graphic printed towels and blankets, then use those as your decor or to cover not-so-chic outdoor furniture. If you're hosting a pool party, lay out plenty of towels and blankets for guests, using the colors of your linens as the color palette for the affair.
Dream Big15 of 15
With inspirations from the 19th century and from vintage French train stations, Restoration Hardware displayed its brand of elevated design and antique styling to influence homes. For a more permanent and refined entertaining space, consider infusing stone and distressed wood furnishings accented with manicured topiaries.