Using restaurant-quality table linen and table settings can make a domestic table setting look professional and stylish. Restaurants use different types of linen and table settings, so choose a style that suites your decor and the occasion to impress your guests and create a memorable event.
To emulate a fine dining restaurant, use the best-quality table linen, cutlery and glassware. Elegance and simplicity are the watchwords here. Napery should be white, with the napkins made from a heavy cotton and folded neatly on the side plate or held in a silver napkin ring. A heavy white tablecloth should cover the table, with edges almost to the floor. Decorate the table with white candles and simple floral arrangements. Glassware should be fine, rather than chunky. Use sparkling wine and water glasses to reflect the candlelight. Set silver cutlery in the traditional pattern.
A more informal approach is to imitate a cheerful cafe style for a lunch or a relaxed dinner. Use a gingham oil cloth to cover the table and colourful, chunky mismatched china. Place bottles of ketchup on the table and serve tea in chunky mugs. Brightly coloured paper napkins and vases made from jam jars filled with posies of garden flowers complete the look.
Many restaurants have an outside seating area for dining al fresco. Pick up tips from the way the tables are set to recreate the look at home. Do away with a table cloth or add a heavy beaded fringe to ensure it doesn't flap in the breeze. Heavy napkin rings will ensure they stay put. Imitate romantic restaurant lighting by running outdoor fairy lights down the length of the table; candles might be blown out.
Restaurants often alter their table settings depending on the time of year, so consider decorating the table with pumpkins at Halloween or lots of church candles of different heights for a wedding celebration. A red theme works for Valentine's Day or an anniversary, so use red napkins, candles and a bowl of red roses to make the table extra special. At Christmas, bring in the outdoors with scented boughs of pine and pine cones spray-painted in gold.