Event designers mix up design elements to create the best tables for special events
Lampshades add drama and depth to a table design from Mosaic.
THE BIG MIX-UP Mixing and matching tables and chairs, though not a new trend, is definitely a tried-and-true one. “It’s still very common to see wooden farm tables mixed with rounds and squares,” says Susie Perelman, owner of Pittsburgh-based Mosaic Inc. Chairs, she asserts, almost demand a lack of uniformity. “General rule of thumb: Mix, mix—and then mix some more!”
Perelman likes to start with chiavaris, add some farm chairs and, finally, if it’s a wedding, some Chameleons for the head table. “You name it, we use them all, and now more than ever, we are mixing chairs in one space,” Perelman says. “It’s not uncommon to see glitzy chiavaris at farm tables, and rustic farm chairs at rounds outfitted with sequined linens and opulent, traditional arrangements.”
Maxine Mecca, creative director of Atlanta-based Edge Design Group, agrees, adding the dramatic, family-style double estate table into the mix, as well as laser-cut tabletops that can be customized to suit a client’s desired look or theme. “The laser-cut trend is everywhere right now,” Mecca says. “The options with a laser cut tabletop are endless, and the result is always a layered, polished look.” Mecca pairs these tables with a mix of residential chairs and soft seating, such as banquettes and curved sofas which make for a comfortable yet upscale look.
“Seating definitely does not have to be a fixed pattern, it can be abstract, which can totally transform the dynamic of the space,” adds Analee Cole, owner of Amenia, N.Y.-based Architectural Holidays, who prefers long rectangular tables for their versatility. “When using rectangular tables, we sometimes make the centerpiece run the entire length of the table, so everyone gets equal visual access,” she says. “On the other hand, when using rectangular tables end to end, you can somewhat cheat the budget by using a single centerpiece to serve two tables. Long tables are powerful.”
LOVELY LAYERS “The main trend we’re seeing is an eclectic, intricate, layered tabletop,” says Mecca, who continues the layered look beyond linens and throughout the tabletop decor. “For example, instead of using just one vessel for the centerpiece, we often use collections of different sizes and shapes, sometimes in a mix of colors.” Additionally, the company’s signature "well-dressed vase" drives the layered look home with specialty paper and fabrics covering the vase to complement the theme or look of the event. “Incorporating floral into shadowboxes also makes for a stunning, multi-textured look,” she says. Lampshades in all shapes, colors and sizes, Pereleman notes, are another centerpiece element that add dimension to the tabletop decor.
Using nontraditional materials as tableware adds even more depth—and can be an eco-friendly option. “For chargers, we often use nontraditional materials such as glass tiles, wood planks or other items that won’t require lots of water for cleaning,” Cole says.
Joanne Hulme, special projects and business development manager at South Jersey Party Rentals in Pennsauken, N.J., suggests deconstructing an event’s theme to create a multi-textural look on the tabletop. “Always try to twist it up and reassemble it back in a different way,” she advises. Hulme predicts the ever popular, multi-layered vintage look will become less rustic and more refined as decor budgets increase. “All the personal touches that this trend has brought will stay but the design will become more elegant—less back woods and more white-glove,” she says.
A THING FOR BLING As for the most oft requested look of the moment: “All-over sequins, without a doubt,” Perelman says. “Whether in to-the-floor taffeta or as a sequin-on-mesh overlay, we cannot keep this fabric on the shelves.” Preferred colors range from romantic neutrals and flashy metallics to bold colors such as turquoise, purple, red and mint.
LaBrisha Scott, event designer at Buford, Ga.-based Your Event Solution, agrees. “Most of our requests are for a clean, modern look with touches of glitz and glam,” she says. “Textured and patterned linens, especially sequins, are very big, as are long formal dinner tables, which play into this modern feel.”
HEAVY METAL If shinier is better, it’s no surprise that shimmering metallics—on linens, chairs and tableware—are still trending on tables.
“Mixing metals in a single space or on a table is very chic,” Perelman says. “And adding a pop of color—whether soft or saturated—to a metallic color palette creates interest and drama.” According to Perelman, one saturated color that’s getting a lot of play, especially against metallic accents, is the Pantone Color of the Year 2014—Radiant Orchid. “It has brought requests for all shades of purple, from eggplant to lilac to claret,” she says. At Edge Design, Mecca tones it down by pairing gold with mint and champagne with blush as metallic musts.
EDGE DESIGN GROUP
SOUTH JERSEY PARTY RENTALS
YOUR EVENT SOLUTION