Nate Berkus’ 4 Tips for Setting the Perfect Table

published Sep 4, 2023
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headshot of Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent
Credit: Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images; Design: Apartment Therapy

As you begin to move dinner parties back inside for fall and winter, it’s time to start thinking about dinner tables again. If you’re looking to elevate your place settings this season, then follow Nate Berkus’s words of wisdom. Berkus shared his go-to tips for setting the table and with his advice in your back pocket, you’ll be able to create a warm and inviting spread that will definitely leave a lasting impression on your dinner guests.

“A little 101 on setting a dinner table,” Berkus said in a recent Instagram video. “This is one of my all-time favorite things to do because I cannot make a grilled cheese, so that is Jeremiah’s job.” Berkus said that his job is to “make sure the table looks pretty,” and he does a very good job at that. 

Start with a handwoven base.

His first tip is to look for handwoven items to act as a base for your setting.

“I always use something handwoven and I will look for handwoven placemats in Thailand, in Mexico, on Etsy, online, anywhere because I really like the idea of the warmth and the texture they bring to the table,” he said. “I usually don’t use a tablecloth and prefer a placemat.”

Cloth napkins are a must.

Always go for cloth napkins over disposable paper ones. “Cloth napkins always,” Berkus said.

Mix and match.

Getting creative with your plates is a fun way to show your style. Berkus is using dinner plates from Jeremiah Brent’s brand Atrio, and the bread plate at the top of the setting is a $5 find from an online shop.

“Glassware does not have to match,” Brent adds. 

Use the good stuff.

“And my final, final thing is [to] use your good stuff. Even if you’re bringing in takeout, even if you’re having a really casual dinner party, I always use our best silver. I just think it elevates every experience.”

The entire spread looks so classy and cohesive, but the parts of the whole are casual pieces (save for the silver) that have been collected over time. Keep an eye out for fun pieces at antique and thrift stores, and use Berkus’s tips to coordinate an unforgettable table setting for your next fall dinner gathering.