x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Set a striking table for your next dinner party

With a little imagination, you can make a big impression on guests.

An imaginatively set table is an easy way to make a big impression. Start with the plates. Space them out evenly and leave plenty of elbow room in between. Experts recommend a distance of two feet between the centre of each plate, but let your space be your guide. Cups and glasses go to the right of the plate; butter and salad plates to the left. Silverware should be placed in order of use from the outside in. Forks go to the left of the plate, and knives and spoons to the right.

Once the essential elements are in place, spruce up the table. Bold, block-coloured or patterned napkins look great against simple white plates. Tie coloured ribbons around your napkins or around the base of your stemmed glasses. Don't be afraid to mix patterns and textures; the livelier the better.

Natural elements are another inexpensive way to add colour. Tuck sprigs of greenery into your napkins, or place a glass fruit bowl in the centre of the table.

Finally, why not buy some chalkboard paper from www.amazon.com and cut it into placemat-sized pieces? Write the names of your guests in chalk for personalised place settings, then encourage your guests to scribble away as they dine.