We love entertaining this time of year: By the time the November chill sets in, sharing a home-cooked meal with friends is way better than anything that might be going on outside our front door. And if you set a beautiful table, you really, ahem, set the tone for a delicious evening. Want to make your table even more fetching?
Build a bold base. Like winter cooking, winter tables have heft: Don't be scared to break out the dramatic dinnerware — like these tri-band plates — or mix and match colors. Add depth with a complementary runner or placemats: We love the look of a short runner at the middle two seats and placemats at the other four, as in the photo at the top of the post.
Finish with flair. Add subtle height with a small floral arrangement — so people can still chat across the table — and light a couple candles to make your silver sparkle. Top things off with seasonal touches that nod to the dinner ahead: Top each plate with a sprig of rosemary or scatter a handful of chestnuts down the center of the table.
Play seat matchmaker. Separate couples. Seat guests who haven't met near each other — ditto folks who you think might have a lot to talk about, like your gallery-owner friend and photographer cousin. When you've got a plan, lead the way with playful place-card holders. Metallics, like these fierce little lions, add subtle luxe and seasonal shine.