Six Ways to Lay A Table: Playing & Styling with Paper.


This week we raided the Roger la Borde gift wrap shelf to make some beautiful DIY tablescapes, showing that you don’t need fancy linens to make a statement!

In every shot we used the same basic crockery and glassware, and used a rustic wooden table as a backdrop – no tablecloths or runners. Instead, we used plenty of paper to create cut-out placemats, napkin rings, origami flowers and collage birds. Together with some fresh flowers and foliage (snipped from our back garden) we created six looks: Fresh Foliage, Romantic Roses, Moody Stripes, Dramatic Nature, playful geometrics, and Spring Pastels. Read on for lots of pictures and tips.


Fresh Foliage: For this look, I was inspired by Roger la Borde’s new Sanderson reversible gift wrap, featuring lush citrusy greens and white blooms. A sheet of wrap was cut into a leaf shape, which I placed at a jaunty angle under the plate as a placemat. I had a matching pink and green napkin which made for a playful addition, but a plain pink or green one would do nicely.

I ventured into the garden and came back with a fistful of matching flowers and foliage. The lemon placeholder was a happy accident: The white flowers reminded us of lemon tree blossoms, so we plucked a lemon from the kitchen and turned it into the perfect finishing touch! Unexpected and fresh, and you can slice it up to season your own food!


Romantic Roses: This look was inpired by the woodsy, whimsical designs of Rebecca Rebouche for Roger la Borde, but any pretty floral paper would work. I cut out a large oval and lined the top half with small pink roses from our garden. To make the look even more dramatic, I scattered small bunches of dark foliage. You can substitute the roses and foliage with other plants of your choice. For example, this tablescape is dramatic and would be well-suited to a special occasion dinner, but you could easily tone down the drama by swapping the roses for daisies.


Moody Stripes: A stark, dark and simple tablescape. I opted for a paper with heavy, wide stripes which I cut into a classic rectangle. At one corner, I piled up all sorts of earth-toned bits and pieces: Red onions, garlic, an avocado, almonds. The addition of a matching napkin (cloth or paper) helps to pull this look together by giving it a focal point. The double plates also give it some weight, so it doesn’t veer into being too plain. Overall, this is a super-cosy look that would make for a lovely tablescape on a cooler summer night.


Dramatic Nature: This look is undoubtedly striking but is a little more difficult to achieve. We used reversible gift wrap from Roger la Borde’s Abundance Collection which we turned into leaves, flowers and birds. Using reversible wrap is fantastic because you are given two contrasting yet complimentary patterns to work with.

The fanned leaf placemat is the easiest to make: simply cut six leaf shapes (about the length of your dinner plate) out of a sheet of wrap, fan them out and staple them t ogether at the bottom. Use the f irst leaf as the template for cutting out the others. To make more complex shapes such as the flower and bird, there are lots of DIYs – with instructions! – over here.


Playful Geometrics: This is the simplest look of them all but I think you’ll agree that it’s sufficiently striking! Taking a cue from a sheet of geometric gift wrap, I looked for more geometric patterns elsewhere. I had a set of gingham napkins in a similar colour palette, and I used a strip of origami paper in a contrasting colour as a napkin-ring-slash-placeholder. The key to this look is to vary the colour and scale of your prints so that it doesn’t look one-dimensional.


Spring Pastels: For this look I used a sheet of gift wrap as well as a chopped up greeting card, both illustrated by Helen Dardik for Roger la Borde. Helen Dardik’s colourful floral patterns are perfect for a summer dinner party. Again, a sheet of gift wrap was cut into an oval and used as a placemat. Both the napkin ring and place holder were cut from strips of the same greeting card. It’s amazing what you can do with a few bits of stationery! Simply add a few sprigs of f lowers and foliage and you’re done!

I often style my dinner parties with paper accessories because the options are endless, and at the end of the night it all goes into the recycling bin instead of the laundry basket! It’s a perfect opportunity to play with patterns, mix and match.

If you give it a go, please give us a shout-out on Instagram – we’d love to see your creations!



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