Look how effortless hosting can be. This relaxed table setting and menu make it easy to have everyone over — no airs and graces necessary.
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SET & MATCH
Game of tones Interiors are having a tonal moment, which is a look that’s perfectly suited to a laid-back table setting — and couldn’t be easier to achieve. First, get the bones right. Timber bench seats bolstered with cushions are ideal for accommodating a crowd, and look great teamed with oak and leather dining chairs. A low shelving unit works well as a servery and drinks station; fill it with spare cutlery, napkins and coasters so they’re close at hand.
Wrinkle, wrinkle Embrace effortlessness by leaving your table linen unironed. The trick to mastering this undone effect is washing and air-drying your tablecloth and napkins the afternoon before your get-together, then placing them straight on the table, rather than folding them away. If the result is a little too wrinkled for your liking, spritz the fabric with water and smooth it with your hand. Use tonal napkins to tie a white tablecloth into the rest of the setting. We went for Città’s Citron and Olive hues, which riff off our summer-meadow-style floral arrangements made using locally grown anemones, Queen Anne’s lace, spray chrysanthemums
BACKDROP (throughout) Walls in Dulux Urewera Half,
TOP, FROM LEFT Dine linen tablecloth, $159; Dine linen coasters, $14.90/ set of four; Sorsi Longdrink glasses, $22.90/set of four; Ora Round marble dish, $119; Penguin High jug, $35.90; Penguin Low jug, $39.90, all
Foolproof feasting A simple yet delicious way to feed a crowd, platters are the time-poor entertainer’s best friend. Simply stock up on cheese, pickles, cured meats, nuts, olives and whatnot to serve with fresh crudites and loaves of bread.
Global goodness Be inspired by European breakfast and lunch traditions and theme your next gathering around the open sandwich. For Danish-style smørrebrød, finely slice radishes, cucumber, beetroot and fennel with a mandoline, then combine with hard cheeses, smoked salmon, boiled eggs, caperberries and fresh dill. Or take things in a Mediterranean direction with tomatoes, ribbons of courgette, grilled aubergine and capsicum, basil, olives, cured meats and chunks of torn buffalo mozzarella.
Bowl them over More is more when creating a visual feast. A combination of boards, plates and bowls in different shapes, sizes and materials results in a look that’s much more ‘now’ than ‘old-school buffet’. Consider stacking larger and smaller receptacles to create a layered look, and dot small ramekins and spoons around the table for condiments and seasonings.
Sip tip Water infused with fruit and herbs is such a refreshing summer beverage. Some of our favourite combinations include nectarine and rosemary, lemon and thyme, watermelon and basil, and blackberry and mint. Fill jugs with oversized ice cubes, add long herb sprigs alternated with sliced fruit, then top with sparkling or still water.
Idle wild A scattering of smaller floral arrangements provides an on-theme styling solution. Using one type of vessel keeps the look modern — we chose marble canisters. Pop metal flower frogs (sourced from florists, Asian supermarkets and vintage stores) inside, then add flowers and grasses of different heights for a wildflower effect.
TOP, BOTTOM SHELF, FROM LEFT Radial Low Small shelving, $990; Oku office lid/trays, from $24.90 each; Dine linen napkin, $12.90; Asili x Città salad servers, $79.90; Finch lunch plates, $24.90/set of six; Finch cereal bowls, $24.90/stet of six; Finch dinner plates, $32.90/set of four, all