Marlo Thomas knows how to set a beautiful table. The award-winning actress and activist is a consummate hostess who welcomes friends to her home with music, candlelight and unparalleled style. We have loved bringing her entertaining collection to our table and learning from her style and originality. Here’s a bit more about the inspiration behind her collection, plus Marlo’s tips on how to make “entertaining at your home a place that you will enjoy sharing with your friends as much as I do with mine.”
1. Add Some Whimsy
Why not fill a wine cooler with peonies or other beautiful blooms when you’re not using it for wine? “When you have gorgeous pieces, don’t stash them in a closet,” says Marlo. “Keep them handy for more than one use.” Marlo credits her mother for developing her eye for creating a beautiful table. When she has friends over for dinner, Marlo “adds a bit of whimsy to make my home feel welcoming with a sense of fun.”
2. Make Your Home Inviting
Marlo loves this tray, reminiscent of those one spies at the most charming Parisian bistros and cafes. This beautiful round tray, with the wooden center surrounded by silver plate over brass, never needs polishing to keep its shiny luster. Simply keep this on your bar and cluster spirits that go together (for a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned cocktail, for example) and folks can serve themselves. Set out brandies and cognacs with the prettiest glassware you can find, and they’ll add to the warm, classic effect. Or, do as Marlo does and fill it with colorful fruit and place on the table as a centerpiece.
3. Embrace Beauty and Spontaneity
The French have a saying, “the eyes eat before the stomach.” Who could resist the colorful crudité in Marlo’s gorgeous bowl? When it comes to her pieces, Marlo like to improvise – and that means using her serving pieces in unexpected ways. Fill this lovely bowl, with a porcelain inset, with salad, or assorted breads and crackers; or fill it with chopped ice and delicious jumbo shrimp with toothpicks for serve-yourself hors d’oeuvres.
4. Go For a Colorful Mix
Whether you’re using the bowl above with chips or crudité, you’ll love Marlo’s triple dip condiment dish. “When I use the triple dip condiment dish,” Marlo notes “I like to fill it with three colors: hummus, salsa and guacamole—it makes it so inviting.” Marlo is a “terrific Italian cook,” so if one of her go-tos—veal marsala, pasta, or chicken cacciatore—is on the menu, consider olives, thin-sliced salami, and pickled red peppers. “I have found so many uses for this special piece, and the wood/silver and porcelain makes it a beautiful addition to any table I put it on.”
5. Craft a Cheese Board
“This is the cheese board of my dreams. I’ve never been able to find it, so I designed it and the wizards at Williams Sonoma made it!” Marlo beamed. The gorgeous wooden board is divided into sections: the main tray is for cheese that you can cut right on the board with space for grapes; there are two terrific porcelain removable sectionals for crackers, bread, olives, etc. “This is my all-time favorite,” said Marlo. “What I also love is that with the silver handles and silver base, you can also use it as a beautiful charcuterie board.”
6. Give Each Dish Unique Appeal
Fill this striking wood, silver and glass dome with anything you like: croissants and breakfast pastries, cupcakes, your favorite desserts, cakes and pies or cheeses. It looks great on a buffet or anywhere in your kitchen, as it keeps things pretty and fresh.
7. Everything Doesn’t Have to Match
These gorgeous blue and white plates were inspired by the hidden local shops and high-end flea markets Marlo would seek out on her travels, whether it was for business or vacation. “What I learned is that not everything has to match,” Marlo said. “Mix this set with what you already have in any color or design to make a table that is wonderfully, uniquely you.”