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The art of table dressing, from Sloane Street’s experts

Learning the art of tablescaping will make for beautiful – and memorable – dinner parties, so we asked Sloane Street’s tableware experts to share their tips on doing it right

22 August 2022

David Mellor's outdoor dining collections

The word “tablescaping” might be relatively new, but the concept of laying out a table beautifully certainly isn’t. A great setting can establish a mood and influence how much you enjoy the food that’s being served. It also has the happy result of giving guests the impression that you’re the most composed host – even if there is a scene of chaos just behind the kitchen door.

To understand the importance of good tableware design, and to find out how best to curate it, we asked Fiona Dreesmann – founder of chinaware shop Fiona Finds on Lowndes Street, and Corin Mellor – son of British product designer David Mellor (whose flagship store sits on the corner of Sloane Square) and creative director of the company, to share their knowledge with Sloane Street.

Embrace being a beginner

‘The most important thing is to have fun! For the first table, it is great to mix and match,’ says Dreesmann, who started out selling items she’d found on her travels to friends and family, before opening Fiona Finds in 2021. 

‘Placing modern glasses with traditional plates or the reverse creates originality. I like to always throw something unexpected onto the table. Be creative. You can find so many beautiful old plates at second-hand shops. Use wicker baskets for bread with silver goblets – there are no rules! And my top tip is to always purchase good linen; it will last for years and looks wonderful when crisply ironed.’

Fiona Finds plates, POA 
Fiona Finds plates, POA 
David Mellor willow bread basket, £14
Emilia Wickstead set of 4 printed napkins £205

Harness the power of design to bring people together

‘Well-designed cutlery makes eating a pleasure and can even make food taste better,’ explains Mellor, whose father, David, was a pioneer in beautiful kitchenware design. 

‘Food is a great leveller and the appeal of a good meal is universal. A coordinated and beautifully laid table can set the mood, provoking intelligent conversation. You can use your choice of tableware to express your personal style or to create a specific theme for an event, be it a celebration or the simplest of meals. The type of food served and the utensils needed are also key considerations for the dynamic – for example, will the dishes be shared or served at the table, and what will you need in that case?’

David Mellor Pride six-piece cutlery set, £125

Think outside the box

Dreesmann says: ‘I am well-known among my guests for having sweets on the table, often hidden in pots. I’ll have turquoise chocolate from Turkey with dark brown linen or liquorice allsorts for a pop of colour. I love having ornaments not usually seen on the table, like porcelain birds or ceramic pumpkins. I am simply mad about pugs and often put my porcelain collection on the table… there are no rules.’

Anna Weatherley at Fiona Finds vase, POA 
Emilia Wickstead set of four scallop-edged placemats, £225 
Dior pitcher with glass fish, £320 

Invest in timeless design

‘We always strive to create a timeless design with beautiful purity of line,’ Mellor explains of the company’s ethos. ‘Often the best designs in the world are subtle and, because of this, they stand the test of time. Some of our designs date back to the 1950s and still look as good today as when they were designed.’

Brunello Cucinelli cups and saucers, POA
David Mellor stainless steel cafetière, £99
Brunello Cucinelli vase, POA 
David Mellor Embassy stainless steel candlestick, £215

Experiment with colour

‘I worked in fashion for a long time and have a classic bold style,’ says Dreesmann. ‘I am not afraid to mix unexpected colours together and I like to push my boundaries. I love the transformative effect that just changing the colour of your place mat can have on the entire table. A floral dinner service that’s perfect for springtime can suddenly become rich and bold for autumn when placed on gorgeous rust or nut colours.’

Hermés selection of ‘Soleil d’Hermès’ plates, from £80
Versace salt shaker, £142V

But the most important element is…

‘Your friends! The table should make people feel relaxed, at ease and excited to be there. Whether it is cottage pie and peas or black tie, find a theme and run with it,’ Dreesmann finishes. 

Fiona Finds is at 28 Lowndes Street, SW1X 9HX; David Mellor is at 4 Sloane Square, SW1W 8EE
Louis Vuitton set of four cups, £700 
Versace set of two Medusa Lumiére glasses, £152

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