Autumn can mean a lot of things. To us, at its best, those warm, golden colors signify “calm” and “comfort.” The fall table can be the aesthetic equivalent of a spiced cider, warm in your hand.
We reached out to our Visual Merchandising Director and entertaining style expert, Tommy Tran. He’s responsible for the look and feel of our stores; he’s the reason you’re obsessed those housewares that look so glorious. And Tommy knows a ton about how to set a table for maximum visual impact. Whether you’re daydreaming about an intimate dinner for two, thinking ahead to your Thanksgiving table, or just planning a casual autumn supper with friends, here are some of his wisest tips—plus the stunning tableware, flatware, vases, and more you need to get your Autumn Zen on.
1. Basics First, Then Add Accents
“Isn’t good style all about the accessories?” asks Tommy. “Start with a good classic set of china that you love and already have and then layer in accents—florals, napkins, tinted glassware—that bring in interest.” A plain white porcelain or gold charger can set the stage for a pretty plate or unique flatware choice.
2. Focus on a Statement Piece
“Just one piece of statement tableware can make your setting unforgettable,” says Tommy. “Soup served from a giant pumpkin tureen into small pumpkin bowls will be what your guests remember even if the rest of the table is simple.” Similarly, he notes, you could set a table entirely with French white porcelain, but include the addition of beautiful floral or pumpkin-embellished salad plates with napkins to match for maximum visual impact.
3. Go Organic for Casual Dinners
Weeknight dining? No need to skimp on beauty. “Organic hues and texture bring warmth to a casual table,” says Tommy. Consider our exclusive cyprus or harvest dinnerware and pair them with flax linens, for a Scandinavian vibe with lots of texture. You can also use an olivewood serving board with cheese and charcuterie for sharing at the table.
4. Side Table Vignettes Rule
Remember that every element of the dining area informs its energy, not just the dining table. “An amply stocked bar cart with a nice tray and a few glasses, a sideboard with vessels arranged in varying heights and sizes, a few floral arrangements … all can provide a sense of comfort and home that help make guests feel special and welcome,” says Tommy.
5. Partner Your Menu with the Setting
Not everything has to be pumpkin this and autumn leaves that. “A big trend right now is a monochromatic modern table,” Tommy says. If that’s the case, let the cuisine you serve bring the color to the table. “A salad of crimson-hued radicchio on a matte black plate can be especially beautiful, as can a multi-hued dish on a plain white platter.”