tableware
Photo Courtesy: Mi Casa Collective
By Schenelle Dsouza  
Tableware and dinnerware settings are as important as accessorizing your home. It may not be necessary, but it sets the tone for the space you live in. Laying out the table is far more than just table etiquette and good manners; it helps create an ambience that allows you and your guests to enjoy a meal. A well-set table makes a meal memorable and enhances the experience of eating a well-cooked meal.   
So how do you set the table? And what are the design cues to follow? Our design experts at Mi Casa Collective and The House of Things share their thoughts on tableware trends, and the importance of table settings, not just for occasions, but for everyday meals as well.  
tableware
Astha Khetan Founder & Director, The House of Things
Sonali Btra, Akshita Co-Founder Mi Casa Collective
tableware
Akshita Sekhri, Co-Founder Mi Casa Collective
The art of a well-laid-out table  
The general purpose and need of table settings can be attributed to celebrating every meal you eat, whether it is with your family, friends or formal guests, believe the experts. Sonali Batra of Mi Casa Collective believes that eating together, traditionally signifies family, celebration and togetherhood, and that the right table setting only enhances that thought beautifully. For her, laying a table is about creating a space that is warm and inviting. “Setting the table gives your family and friends something to look forward to when joining you for a meal. It is significant in the way of celebration, whether it is an occasion or a personal victory; the space becomes warm and inviting which adds to the atmosphere and camaraderie,” says Batra. 
tableware
Photo Courtesy: The House of Things
tableware
Photo Courtesy: Mi Casa Collective
Agreeably, Astha Khetan of The House of Things presses on the importance of creating a space that is every bit as inviting as it is comfortable, for both, the host and their guests. “A thoughtful table setting crafts an experience for your guests. It sets the mood for the meal and makes your guests feel more connected and comfortable.” With comfort and style on top priority, Khetan adds that one’s style of decorating the table can be simple, “…crisp white dishware, modern glassware, and classic cutlery is always a safe and workable option. But occasionally adding unique statement pieces can help amp up your table-style quotient. These small additions, make for great conversation starters, preserving the memories of your occasional gatherings as timeless stories.”  
Choosing tableware 
How you lay out a table is an expression of one’s personal style, hence, scouting for the tableware can be a different process for different people. However, picking a theme works as a great starting point when you’re planning your tablescape.  
Akshita Sekhri of Mi Casa Collective is of the opinion that the first and most important step when investing in tableware is to keep practicality in mind. “Practicality should come first. It is important to incorporate some practical pieces in your everyday sets — multi-use pieces like pasta bowls, tureens and oval platters are some examples. It is also important to invest in styles that are classic, match with each other and are easy to replace.”  
tableware
Photo Courtesy: Unsplash
Khetan on the other hand believes that “the devil is in the details”. And while there is no fixed pattern when it comes to setting the table, experimenting with pieces is a fun way to go — that includes mixing and matching which Khetan feels is often not given its due. “The most common table setting misconception is that layering and mixing and matching is a mistake. I feel like blending different patterns together sets a wonderful tone and creates a fun, maximalist setting that is one of the biggest trends seen in tableware settings today.” However, a general rule to follow when playing with the mix-and-match trends is to not combine too many prints and patterns together. Sekhri suggests sticking to a similar theme and avoiding clashing prints like paisley and florals. Employing contrasting colours, she believes, is another fun way to help enhance the setting.  
Aside from patterns and colours, choosing the right materials also plays an important role. While most people opt for China pieces, our experts believe that going for something durable is always a better choice — and these need not be bland and boring. Materials like earthenware, terracotta, and clayware add an earthy, organic allure which is ideal for an intimate table setting. Aside from these, Batra says that stoneware is a new material being experimented with for dinnerware, owing to its durable nature as compared to Chinaware. “Stoneware is less prone to wear and tear. And even if these get damaged somehow, they are much easier to replace since most of them are also sold individually.” 
Some of the quintessential pieces to lay out a table, regardless of the occasion include a classic tray, soup bowl, plates of varied sizes for each course, a set of well-polished, shiny cutlery, classic glassware and napkins. For a more formal setting, additional pieces like napkin holders, charger plates, salt and pepper shakers, and place cards are some of the essential tableware selections.  
Aside from tableware, our experts suggest adding decorative pieces to the table which set the mood, hence the term ‘mood setting’. “I think mood setting most definitely applies to tableware,” adds Batra. Adding decorative pieces like lit candles, or a candelabra centrepiece, delicate lace tableware, and fresh flowers all contribute to a perfect ‘mood setting’. These create an atmosphere of intimacy and can keep the night warm and mellow.” 
Mood table must-haves  
Fruit and florals  
One of the biggest trends is bringing the outdoors to the indoors, like fresh flowers and fruit. Floral vases and fruit bowls are one of the most popular centrepieces for tableware settings. “Using elements from the outdoors can help add a certain freshness to the table. Fresh leaves and ripe fruit placed in shallow marble bowls can add a simple yet outstanding look,” says Sekhri.  
tableware
Photo Courtesy: Unsplash
Khetan on the other hand, suggests floral arrangements for the table, these include both fresh and artificial arrangements. “I usually prefer local florists. However, due to a lack of access to varieties of fresh flowers, I prefer woody architectural bouquets which make for fantastic decor that lasts.”  
Candle ware 
Candles are another popular element that adds style and elegance to the table. Candle stands, candelabra, and votives seamlessly integrate into most table settings and lift up the tableware. Additionally, tiered stands are a great way to incorporate decor into your food setting as well. Whether they are metallic or made of China, they are multipurpose and can really be useful in decorating. And finally, vases, which are pretty much an absolute must-have. Glassware is great as it is easy to incorporate no matter what set-up you have. It blends well with both an Indian and a western set-up.  
tableware
Photo Courtesy: Mi Casa Collective
Cushions  
Comfort and style go hand-in-hand, and cushions are the ultimate interior accessory. Not only do they look fabulous wherever placed, but they are also the perfect finishing touch but also infuse warmth and colour into any space. Calming shades, subtle patterns and light fabrics are your ticket to effortlessly chic sofa styling this season. A fully coordinated cushion display plumped up designs by forming a V-shape at the top and sides, creating an enchanting designer-approved look.  
A hint of green 
Continuing the trend of bringing the outdoors in, Khetan suggests adding a touch of greenery to the space. “You’ve got Mother Nature to add most of the colour to your tablescapes. A few fresh spring blooms placed in rustic accents sprinkled down the table eliminates the need for fancy floral arrangements. To elevate the look, leave a printed menu and a touch of greenery to mark each place setting.” 
tableware
Photo Courtesy: The House of Things
Fragrance  
Adding to the list of must-haves, Khetan focuses on fragrance as a luxury. “Before an event, try choosing a single scent to place about in entryways, powder rooms, and lounge areas. I personally love the traditional Bakhoor. A few fresh blooms placed in rustic accents sprinkled down the table eliminates the need for fancy floral arrangements.” 
A personal touch  
Go the extra mile to make your guests feel special. Yes, personalisation is the ultimate form of luxury table setting moods. Personalized gifts for guests, curating dishes that keep their taste preference in mind or maybe a thank you note for having them join you, are some things that can spruce up the mood. One can employ gift trays that double as place cards and party favours. Personalized place cards illustrate your zeal into thinking about a seating arrangement for your guests. 
tableware
Photo Courtesy: The House of Things
Because ultimately, dining is a holistic experience, and it’s the smaller details that truly make you savour your meal!  
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