RL Entertaining: Four Simple and Easy Table Settings

Planning a casual get-together for family and friends? Spruce up your table with these interesting decorating ideas

Photography: At Maculangan Pictorial Direction: Joanne Enriquez-Bohol

Read the original article ("Setting Pretty") in the April 2011 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details. 

Geometry Lesson

There’s no rule that says you need to use round dinner plate with a round side plate all the time. This setting lets you play with shapes. If you have two or more sets of dinnerware, all you need to do is mix and match. For the accent colors, try two contrasting shades such as violet and yellow.


Consider pairing a square plate (we chose one with scalloped edges) with a triangular soup plate. Underneath, slip a round placemat in a punchy color.

QUICK CRAFT: More than words

Spell out your guests’ names with these cutesy play mats. For a more grown-up polish, form a name using mats of similar color. 


Shopping for a table napkin? You might want to check out men’s or ladies’ wear for printed hankies or bandannas for more interesting pattern options.  


The best things in life are free—and can be readily plucked from the backyard. Make use of exquisitely simple leaves and rocks. To complement the all-natural theme, go for beautifully textured plates made with sustainable materials and cutlery with an organic quality. 


Spread out a sheet of Kraft paper, a renewable material made from wood pulp, for a chic and dirt-cheap makeshift placemat. You need not spend the night eyeing spills and stains with contempt!

QUICK CRAFT: Dear Nature

Pluck some leaves from the backyard; choose ones that are unblemished and have the ideal form. Carefully and legibly write your guest’s name, preferably in cursive, across the leaf with a fine-point black pen. 


Neatly tie the table napkin with a sash of paper twine to secure it in place. 

Summer Lovin'

Sun, sand, waves, and coconut trees of a cool beach getaway are represented on the table by this foliage-inspired plate, a funky coaster that resembles a spatter, a plastic tumbler that’s perfect for nursing a refreshing drink, a shell napkin ring. Ditch your everyday flatware for fun yet sturdy plastic cutlery for a more laidback vibe. 


Turn a pretty rug into a nifty tablecloth? There’s nothing iffy about it if you use a new one! This striped piece brings in color and texture.

QUICK CRAFT:  “Polaroidize” Me

Scatter about your favorite summer photos as accents. Make it interesting; make a fake Polaroid shot! Adhere your chosen picture on a slightly bigger white cardboard. Leave ample room at the bottom for a short note.


In lieu of a shell napkin ring, use that straight-from-Palawan shell of yours to keep a napkin in place. That starfish-shaped pasalubong magnet is another option—just hot-glue it onto a black elastic band.  

Colorful Pinoy

Preparing a feast of Filipino dishes? Give guests a generous serving of probinsya charm with pieces made of familiar local materials, but in surprisingly fresh colors such as light pink and pistachio green. To avoid looking too themed, limit Pinoy items to just three or four.


Here’s a pretty place card holder and token for your guests. Neatly scribble your guest’s name on a piece of paper, punch a hole for the ribbon, and tie it to the fan’s handle.


Raid your closet for some ethnic-inspired bead bracelets you can repurpose as napkin rings similar to this store-bought one.


Add a touch of hue and whimsy to the setting with a bunch of blooms in a capiz vase. If you want to stay true to the running theme, opt for gumamela or santan in a bao used as a vase.  


Latest Stories

17 Important Loan Terms That You Should Know

Buying a house? Here’s an A-to-T glossary of financial terms that won’t leave you in the dark.

A Loft-Type Bachelor Pad Found Inside a Family Home

The owner worked with interior designer Erika Uichanco to transform an ordinary bedroom into a remarkable, condo-like personal space

This Hostel in Makati Has Calming Bedrooms Perfect for Staycations

The bonus? You get design ideas for the different rooms in your house, too!

Lazada Plans to Launch an Online Grocery This Year

Shopping for the home will be easier as the e-commerce startup aims to build cold storage hubs in Metro Manila and nearby provinces

What Kind of Furniture Do Millennials Look For?

Are they all about aesthetics or do they care about functionality, too?

14 Baguio And Ilocos Destinations To Visit On a Summer Weekend

The beginning of summer vacation is the perfect time to head up north! Here are fun and easy places to visit and shop at.

Beautiful And Functional Ways To Decorate A Bi-Level Home

Maximize every nook and cranny of your humble abode with these ideas

These Captivating Facades Will Make You Stop and Stare

Modern, charming, and minimalist—these homes sure know how to catch your attention

These Millennials Restore Heritage Sites In Intramuros And Bohol

This amazing foundation teaches construction and restoration skills to the youth, who in turn help protect Philippine heritage sites

A Young Artist And Architect Create This Cool Paint Booth

Artist Kris Abrigo teams up with architect Lando Cusi to create a Worldbex paint booth that breaks from the usual exhibit mold

Here's How You Can Use Mirrors To Make Your Space Look Bigger

Practice this tried-and-tested tip with these reminders

These Houseplants Can Help Clean Indoor Air

Keep your home safe while relishing the feeling of being outdoors
Load More Stories

Get inspiring design ideas and handy hints.
Subscribe to our newsletter now!