I was recently contacted by Furniture Choice to contribute to their Valentines project which is celebrating the month of love. They were looking for people to create their perfect table setting for a romantic meal and they’re going to compile a Romantic Dining Guide featuring interiors tips and whatnot from those who have taken part.
It sounded like a lovely challenge and a great excuse to have a Valentines meal at home once we returned from the Lakes. I was provided with a voucher for notonthehighstreet.com to help with decoration and promptly began my search so everything would arrive on time.
I knew right away that I wanted linen napkins and placemats that were different to the slate ones we use on a day-to-day basis so I searched for items that I felt were in-keeping with our style and at the right price.
I found 2 French stripe linen napkins on notonthehighstreet.com but struggled to find placemats or a table runner that I liked so I turned my attentions elsewhere. As you might have guessed by the name of Cheery, I quite like the little touches that make all of the difference and sought out some cutlery that would create a little recognition of difference/thought.
I found this cute little pewter engraved heart spoon and immediately put it into my basket. For another touch I wanted to find a way of representing Paris (we had a lovely meal in a restaurant by the Eiffel Tower that I was hoping to recreate). I was unable to find a cute little model of the Eiffel Tower so I chose a Paris skyline tea towel to drape across one of our chairs.
Our dining table is in our living room and is only big enough for two so it doesn’t have a huge amount of surface area. I considered different ways of utilising the wider surroundings to make the meal feel more like an occassion and decided on getting a balloon to add an extra decoration without taking up valuable dining space.
I had bought a giant confetti balloon from notonthehighstreet.com but it wasn’t playing ball so Chris ended up receiving an SOS to pick me up some balloons from our local party shop, The Pink Banana on the way home. Chris came home with silver, white, red and green balloons at 80p each. We quickly decided that the green balloons wouldn’t quite fit in with the theme and Chris passed them onto a couple of children on the street who loved that they’d randomly got a balloon.
I continued my search for placemats in person and came across a pack of French themed placemats and coasters in BHS for £14 (unfortunately they don’t appear to be available online). The design at the top of the pack was of a Boulangerie store front and it immediately reminded me of the Boulangerie that was a few doors down from our hotel in Paris – in short, it would be perfect for triggering memories of our trip.
Whilst I was out shopping I also popped into Le Creuset with the intention of picking up a vase/oil jug in almond to match our stoneware plates. Unfortunately the oil jugs don’t come in almond but after chatting away and explaining the vibe I was going for, I was asked if a milk jug might be the answer. It was small enough to not take up too much room but could also have a dual purpose later on making it more of an investment, perfect.
On my way home I picked up a little bouquet of flowers for the jug from the flower shop which is just around the corner from our house, The Perfumed Garden.
As well as the new items, I also used a number of products that we already own such as The White Company tealight holder, cutlery, Le Creuset cool tools (the silicone mats you pop hot pans on – I wasn’t sure if it would be safe to put hot baking trays straight onto the placemats so thought it better to be safe than sorry!) and Le Creuset salt and pepper pots (these have been discontinued but you can pick them up at sale prices from Le Creuset in the Victoria Quarter and York Designer Outlet).
I also created a little menu for our meal, using the correct French phrase for our starter that we’d only previously had (or seen) during our stay in Paris. I created the menu in Word, printed it at home and placed it on the table for when Chris got back.
The table setting I went for was obviously quite personal and was intended to trigger memories of a lovely meal we had in Paris on my birthday a couple of years ago. Sometimes I can be so lost in the present/trying to create memories that I felt it would be much more romantic and personal to recreate a meal that Chris had tried really hard to get right (he planned where we would be eating and paid for the bill – I didn’t have a clue about restaurant beforehand and to this day I still don’t know what our final bill came to).
If you’re looking to create a romantic table setting here are my tips:
- Don’t be afraid to make it personal
- Use what you have and if you are buying new items, buy things that you can use again on other occasions
- Timeless doesn’t have to mean boring – I made our napkins look like they had a little more effort put into them by tying some butchers twine around them and the cutlery
- If you don’t have much surface space, consider the area around you – will balloons work? Or could you put a low-cost vinyl sticker on the wall by your table to create a new environment?
- Create a theme/vibe that you’ll enjoy putting together, if you feel like it’s too much hassle it won’t have the same effect
- Remember the little touches, they’re the ones that you’ll be saying ‘do you remember when…’
Thank you to Furniture Choice for asking me to be involved and encouraging me to be creative with our table settings. If you’re looking for further dining room inspiration, Furniture Choice have a handy guide of the ultimate dining tables here.
Check back later this week to see what I cooked and how you can recreate the food at home too.
Disclaimer: I received £75 voucher for notonthehighstreet.com from Furniture Choice to spend as I wished and I have used my own words/phrasing throughout. I have mentioned everything I bought with the voucher (even the disastrous balloon) other than a heart-shaped cake tin which I used to create a profiterole heart. I was unable to take a picture of the profiterole as Chris scoffed it from a stack in the fridge before I had chance (and a grey cake tin isn’t quite as exciting).