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Mr. Kate Sets a Dwell Table

For this week's installment of entertaining tips, Dwell invited Los Angeles–based blogger, jewelry designer, and hostess extraordinaire, Kate Albrecht of mrkate.com over to set a table or two.

I wanted to share with you some quick ideas for on-the-fly table-tops for those unexpected entertaining moments when you have guests (or maybe a date) coming over with little notice and you don't have time to shop for a formal tablescape. I tasked myself to look around my rental apartment and create two, on-the-fly, modern-vintage themed tabletops that would suit my entertaining needs, without even getting as much as a bouquet of flowers from the store! 

Tablescape by Mr. Kate
Scarves instead of tablecloths can be an easy and colorful alternative.

For the first tabletop, I started with my round, white-on-white table and chairs set. I used a vintage beaded Indian sari as the tablecloth to set the tone for a whimsical, world-traveler table-top. I think this would be perfect for a casual dinner party where guests will be delighted by the humor in the details. Elements of this table-top could also be interpreted for a wedding or a festive winter occasion.

Tabletop by Mr. Kate
Unexpected items, like this globe, can come from different parts of the home to liven up a table setting.
I added height to the table by bringing in a vintage globe, a houseplant. For some more funk and personality, I added accessories like a wooden elephant and empty bottles with candlesticks.

Napkins with bright napkin rings.
Napkin rings (or bracelets) can add a pop of color.
For place settings, I used round silver trays (originally from the Goodwill) as chargers and mis-matched vintage lace pieces as the napkins. To complete the whimsical vibe, I used spiked bracelets (from Forever 21) as the napkin rings.

Flatware in a mason jar.
Flatware can also be tied together with a ribbon, or tucked inside a small bag.
Instead of placing the silverware on the table, I stuck the forks, knives, and spoons in a glass jar filled with dried beans. Fun!

Another table set by Mr. Kate.
A simple table can still look interesting with unexpected elements.
I went for a slightly more modern and clean look with this second tabletop. I think this would be perfect for a romantic dinner date and the colors would work year round. Again, I started with my white table and chairs set and added two white cotton scarves in a cross-shape as the tablecloth. The candelabra was an old lamp that I bought at a garage sale and dismantled to use as a tealight holder. This brings height and elegance to the tablescape.

Close up of Kate's second tabletop.
Flowers aren't necessary with this vegetable arrangement.
In lieu of flowers, I cut a large leaf off a plant outside and put it in a simple bottle. In a vintage silver pitcher, I used a leek, a carrot, and a ginger root for some more color and whimsy...there are other options besides flowers! The wine glass and decanter are Goodwill finds that normally accent my home bar area.

Bright napkins on the second tabletop.
Mixing neutrals with brights is fresh and modern.
I used bamboo placemats and simple white dish ware at the place settings. To add a touch of color, I used mismatched vintage silk scarves as decorative napkins. You won't want your guests using these as actual napkins so fold some other ones underneath for use while eating. I hope you found these table-top decorating and entertaining tips helpful and please visit my blog mrkate.com for many more fun and simple ideas! 

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