Setting a Dining Table to Reflect Your French Country Style
In this post: This simple but elegant table is set to reflect the French Country style of the dining room, working seamlessly with the decor around it. ⇒
Does your room decor influence the way you set your tables?
For the past few years, I had gotten used to styling my table settings in the breakfast room, where the lighting is bright and the room is mostly white. It was easy to set tables with any color feeling or style, from bright and casual to blingy and elegant.
But for many occasions I prefer to serve in the dining room and so I’ve spent the last few months refining the dining room decor to embody my style.
Now that the room is closer to my vision, I decided to set a table that’s a direct reflection of the room design, working seamlessly with the French Country style decor.
French Country Style Table
While most of my tables essentially focus on the tableware itself, this table is more about feeling like a natural extension of the decor in the room.
The linens mirror the white of the chair covers and the wood table is exposed. I opted for white linen placemats instead, leaving the table runner in place, as it is when the table is not set.
I also kept the dough bowl in it’s usual place, filling it with seasonal blooms.
The idea was to have the setting feel like it was exactly what belonged in the room, by virtue of what was styled around it.
This is a big departure for me, as I normally set a table with its own unique concept, often bringing in tones not always seen elsewhere in my home, sometimes brighter and more colorful.
The white embroidered napkins are layered over gold flecked ones, and the crystal bracelet napkin rings echo the crystal in the chandelier.
For stemware I chose two different sets. The glen plaid crystal goblets are kept on a tray on the sideboard, so the ones on the table parallel those pieces. I also used my gold rimmed flutes which play off the gilded French arm chairs.
The flowers in the dough bowl were chosen not just for their beauty and position at the top of my favorites list, but also for the way they bring out the delicate colors in the vintage china plates.
The antique silver candlesticks were also kept in their everyday spot, but they too are replicated in the silver of the flatware and napkin rings.
The plate stack on this table is understated, whereas it’s generally the launching point for my table styling.
Instead I went with gilded chargers and textured white dinner plates, following the neutral colors in the room. Only the floral bread plates bring a hint of color to the table, which as we’ve already seen is reflected in the floral centerpiece.
It will be fun to continue serving in this room and creating new and different tablescapes, but for today I wanted to go seamless in design for a completely cohesive look with the surroundings.
Tips for Bringing Casual French Style to Your Table
- Tablecloth and Napkins: Select a tablecloth or runner with a natural or muted color palette, such as cream, beige, or pale blue. Opt for a fabric with a textured or distressed look, like linen or burlap. Coordinate the tablecloth with napkins in a complementary color.
- Dinnerware: Choose dinnerware that reflects the rustic charm of the French countryside. Look for ceramic or stoneware plates with hand-painted or floral patterns in soft pastel hues or earthy tones. Alternatively, plain white plates can work well as a neutral base.
- Glassware: Select simple yet elegant glassware. Opt for clear or lightly tinted glasses, such as goblets or tumblers, to maintain the relaxed and informal ambiance. For a touch of vintage appeal, consider using mismatched glassware collected from flea markets or thrift stores.
- Flatware: Use vintage-inspired flatware to enhance the French country theme. Look for pieces with ornate handles or an antique finish. A mix of silver and gold tones can add an eclectic touch to the table.
- Centerpiece: Create a charming centerpiece that captures the essence of French country style. You can use a rustic wooden tray or a vintage metal container as the base. Fill it with a loose arrangement of fresh flowers in soft pastels or wildflowers, including lavender, sunflowers, or roses. Incorporate elements like twigs, greenery, or small potted herbs to add a natural and organic feel.
- Table Decor: Enhance the table setting with additional decor elements. Consider using woven placemats or rattan chargers to add texture and warmth to the table. Add small details like antique candlesticks, delicate tea lights, or vintage-inspired salt and pepper shakers. Place a few sprigs of lavender or small bunches of herbs tied with twine as simple and fragrant accents.
- Final Touches: To complete the French country style, consider adding a few personal touches. Place name cards with calligraphy or handwritten names on each plate for a personalized touch. Additionally, you can incorporate small French-themed details, such as mini Eiffel Tower figurines or small trinkets with a vintage flair.
Ideas for More Formal French Chateau Style
- Tablecloth and Napkins: Opt for a luxurious tablecloth made of fine materials like damask or satin in crisp white, or you might even try an underpinning in rich jewel tones. Choose matching napkins with decorative folds or embellishments like monogrammed initials.
- Dinnerware: Select fine china or porcelain dinnerware with intricate patterns, gold accents, or delicate floral motifs. Look for pieces with scalloped edges or decorative rims to add an elegant touch.
- Glassware: Choose crystal or cut glass stemware for a more formal look. Look for pieces with intricate patterns or etchings that catch the light beautifully. Consider using separate glasses for water, wine, and champagne to cater to different courses.
- Flatware: Opt for silver or gold-plated flatware to elevate the formality of the table setting. Select pieces with decorative handles, intricate designs, or ornate patterns. Consider including specialized utensils for different courses, such as fish forks and knives.
- Centerpiece: Create a grand centerpiece that exudes opulence and sophistication. Use a large silver or crystal candelabra with tapered candles as the focal point. Surround it with fresh flowers in lavish arrangements, including roses, lilies, or orchids. Incorporate additional elements like cascading greenery, feathers, or ribbons for an extravagant touch.
- Table Decor: Add luxurious touches to the table decor. Use velvet or silk table runners or placemats in rich hues. Include ornate charger plates in gold or silver to add an extra layer of elegance. Place ornamental porcelain figurines, small sculptures, or antique silverware as decorative accents.
- Final Touches: Pay attention to details to enhance the formal ambiance. Use elegant place cards with printed or calligraphic names on each plate. Add small individual salt and pepper shakers or individual butter dishes to each place setting. Consider incorporating fine linen or lace doilies under serving dishes or glassware for an added touch of refinement.
For my table I pulled elements from both styles, as I love the look of high/low design. I certainly lean more heavily to the casual side, using formal components but mixing and matching vintage pieces to make the look more casual. Most importantly, have fun when styling your tables as your delight in entertaining will be apparent to your guests.
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Pretty color palette.
I love that you kept the dough bowl and the flowers in it are just perfect with those bread plates. Lory, you never fail to inspire me!
Lovely post. I am crazy for your chandelier, your dough bowl and candlesticks.
This is a very beautiful table setting. I love the juxtaposition of the dough bowl with the antique silver candlesticks and gold trimmed crystal.
Thanks so much, Barbara!