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table style by liz belton

by Grace Bonney

if i’m being totally honest about my reading habits, i have to admit that i’m not much of a book reader. even though our home is filled to the brim with books, they’re mostly ac‘s. i have a small shelf of art and design books that i love, but for the most part, i’m a magazine girl. so lately i’ve been trying to expand my horizons a bit and i’ve been spending more time in my local book store checking out design books in hopes of triggering some ideas or thoughts i wouldn’t have found elsewhere.

one of my new favorites is called table style: 101 creative ideas for elegant and affordable entertaining (ryland peters & small, march 2010). as i’ve gotten older i’ve become more and more interested in entertaining (even though i don’t really have space in which to entertain anyone) and learning about the different traditions associated with it. so i was immediately drawn to table style for its sheer number of tabletop decoration ideas. rather than stuffy, fancy entertaining, this book focuses more on real-life events like weekend brunch, a picnic in the park, casual family lunches, and summer bbq. before jumping into events, the book teaches you about the basic elements of table style, focusing on using what you have in your own kitchen cabinet to create something beautiful.

in addition to fun decorating ideas (ranging from floral centerpieces to using vintage details on the table), the book also covers some basic info that i really enjoyed learning, like how to set tables according to cultural traditions. so whether you’re looking to set a table for traditional english afternoon tea, or a formal japanese meal, you can see a simple diagram of how everything is arranged. it’s a fun and quick read, and will definitely come in handy if you’re looking to learn more about tabletop decoration. click here to pick up table style on amazon ($16.47) or here to read more about it from the ryland peters & small site.

[photography by debi treloar]

CLICK HERE for 5 more images from table style after the jump!

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