Dial your dinner party up a notch with a table setting that's made for Instagram
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The table is the centre of our social lives. We gather around it with friends and family, celebrating our highs and lows. It's around the dinner table that business deals are made, and heartfelt conversations are held. While the rest of the world heads out to eat, renting out a chamber separé for their celebrations, in the Nordics, we invite people into our homes. However, this crucial difference leads to the much-anticipated concern about decorating for our dinners.
There are so many ways to go about building the perfect tablescape. You can start with your preferred colour scheme and go from there; allow these colours to inform your flowers, candles, tablecloth and more. Or there's the option of a theme – for example, a particular holiday or season – to build your colour palette around.
Feeling stagnant because you only have one set of plates or glasses? Don’t worry. Most people don’t have multiple sets of kitchenware. Instead of immediately reaching for something new, rethink how a new pattern or colour combination on a table cloth or napkin could change how what you already own looks on the table.
And don’t forget the flowers; flowers are an essential when elevating your table scape. An expert tip: never have your floral arrangements so high that people can’t see or talk across the table, we're all there to socialise.
Here are all the elements of a perfect tablescape we’re currently craving and the Scandinavian brands that do them best...
Related: How to host the perfect dinner party
Danish brand Tekla Fabrics has recently released its first table textiles collection, and it's as earthy and luxe as you’d expect from the brand that collaborates with the likes of designer John Pawson. The 'Kitchen' collection is made from 100 per cent woven linen in a range of colours; from minimalist and subdued hues to bright and deep jewel tones.
Photo: Tekla Kitchen/ Ed Gumuchian
Juna, a Danish brand owned by lifestyle group Rosendahl Design Group, makes a range of textiles from kitchen fabrics to towels and more. They have a hint of nostalgia to them, with prints like ditsy florals and gingham, as well as solid colours. All items are made from organic cotton and wash beautifully. If you’re looking to have a more relaxed dining table, Juna textiles are a great option.
If you want colour, pattern and old-school glamour, look no further than the selection of table textiles from Swedish design company Svenskt Tenn. With designs by Josef Frank, Estrid Ericson and GP & Baker, it doesn’t get more artistic than this on a tabletop. Want to delve deeper into their universe? Pair a tablecloth with the matching placemats and napkins for a look that’s part camouflage, part artist’s canvas, and totally joyful.
Photo: Svenskt Tenn
It doesn’t get more classic than this. Royal Copenhagen has been making top-quality porcelain since 1775 and the brand's pieces grace most homes throughout Denmark, if not the rest of Scandinavia.
The traditional blue and white-painted tableware, from the classic Musselmalet Riflet (launched in 1885) to the more contemporary update of Blå Mega Riflet (launched in 2000), are a gorgeous foundation for any table setting, with just enough artistry to be interesting, while allowing for other beautiful elements to take centre-stage.
Photo: Royal Copenhagen
Founded in 1873 in Finland by Swedish porcelain-makers Rörstrand as a way to enter the Russian market, Arabia quickly became a powerhouse unto itself with its original designs and bright colours. While they’re often cited for their extremely adorable Moomin mugs, Arabia’s range of tableware is worth a second look. The bold tones and graphic shapes make them easy to mix and match, or simply find the pattern that speaks to you.
Wik & Walsøe
Norwegian porcelain brand Wik & Walsøe has the look of a heritage company, but was actually only founded in 2006. That doesn’t stop its tableware from possessing a charming, slightly old-fashioned vibe. The Rustikk collection is casual enough to use every day, but can easily be dressed up for a fancy dinner party.
Photo: Wik & Walsøe/Instagram
Silversmith brand Georg Jensen creates everything you need for a timeless tablescape. They have both classic and contemporary flatware. Their most iconic set is the Arne Jacobsen set – cutlery so highly-designed you can barely tell a fork from a knife! They have straightforward designs as well, including the glamorous Bernadotte set and the minimalist Copenhagen set.
Photo: Georg Jensen
Looking for something a bit more glam? Broste Copenhagen’s flatware always has a luxe look to it, is surprisingly affordable, and comes in a range of finishes that suit any style.
Photo: Broste Copenhagen
We could have slotted Finnish design brand Marimekko into any of these categories, but we wanted to surprise you, so we went with glassware. You probably already love their clothes, their fabrics, and their tableware; now it’s time to complete your collection. The Sukat makkaralla glassware is sculptural, unexpected and will definitely bring a spark of joy to your table setting.
Normal Object Factory
Swedish-Taiwanese glassmakers Normal Object Factory create mouth-blown glass pieces in their studio in Gustavsberg that are artistic and playful at once. Their signature piece, the DOT glass, comes in a range of colours. It somehow feels both luxurious and fun.
Photo: Normal Object Family
Since 1839, Kähler has been making high-quality and affordable ceramics in Denmark. Kähler’s bit of fairy dust is that they always collaborate with artists, and somehow always know the right artists to choose. Their selection of ceramics is wide – from plates to mugs to candleholders – but their vases are always on-point. Their Hammershøi vases are a textural, elegant addition to any table; larger ones make a great centrepiece, while the bud vases are great for placing throughout the table.
Heritage Finnish glassmakers Iittala produce some of the most beautiful glass accessories around, with their vases being the crown jewel. They have a lovely selection, but the wavy, charming range of Alvar Aalto vases are iconic.
Known for their quirky and colorful designs that run from furniture to small accessories, HAY is a brand that does many things well. Its candleholders (as well as their colorful candles) are great for dotting around the table to create a cosy environment. We recommend the Flare, which reflects light beautifully thanks to its thin borosilicate glass body.
Candleholders may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you consider Finnish furniture powerhouse Artek, but they have some fantastic options. The Lucia and Lucius Candleholders by Company are so charming, they’ll add a unique touch to any table. Add in the Midsummer Dream Vase for a playful tablescape.