Channel wanderlust on your table with these creative settings.
Jet-setting might be out of the question right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your travel fix from the comfort of home—specifically the comfort of your dining table. We’re big advocates for thinking outside the proper place setting when laying out the backdrop for any meal. And what better way to be creative than by channeling destinations around the world?
These five table settings draw inspiration from destinations around the globe. Next time you’re setting the table, whether for a formal dinner or quick brunch, look to these suggestions to satiate your wanderlust. No passport required.
The Mediterranean Coast
If it’s white sand beaches you miss, channel their color palette with pearly white placemats whose fan shape recalls dappled sand. Keep up a nautical theme with navy rope napkin rings—or infuse a pop of color with a beaded variety the color of bright coral.
Scatter seashells (or even sand, if you’re not too much of a neat freak!) to complete the look. Then, serve up a fresh, grilled fish, light some candles, and you’ll be transported seaside in no time.
Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar
Yearning for a day spent wandering stalls of fabrics, ceramics, and more colorful treasures? Invoke the rich colors of the grand bazaar with these ombre placemats. Try a mix of red and blue colorways set over a tablecloth in ikat, or offset placemats in one color with coasters in another (perhaps a deep black with a touch of pearl?). For a lighter take, look to the mosaic tilework of Byzantine architecture with this geometric placemat. Start your meal with a cup of Turkish tea to set the tone.
In modern-day Kenya, the Maasai people have been crafting intricate beadwork for generations. These colorful placemats, napkin rings, and coordinating coasters channel the detailed artwork and create a dazzling tablescape. Layer them over a simple base of brown paper and your table is picture perfect. They’re so colorful you don’t even need a centerpiece (though we’ll never say no to flowers).
The bright, saturated hues of Mexico City make it an aesthete’s dream. Echo this sensibility on your tabletop with fringed placemats in a bold, striped pattern, then accent with rattan coasters in a different hue. A centerpiece of oversized, colorful flowers will set a festive scene. Use an assortment of colorful plates to lay out makings for tacos al pastor. Don’t forget to serve up some fresh-made guacamole. Margaritas optional, but with this festive setup you might have trouble saying no.
Holland’s Tulip Fields
If your kitchen herb garden isn’t quite cutting it, channel the world’s most famous flower fields, beloved for their stripes of rich color. Try floral napkin rings in a sunny shade or set a vase with a tulip or two (whatever the grocery store has!) on a tray in appropriate Dutch blue. Maybe next year you’ll get to see them in person; for now, study up on your Tulip varietals—there are over 3,000 species.