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Elevate Every Dining Occasion

Pure linen table linen has been a household staple for centuries thanks to its durability, absorbency, and striking good looks. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or want elegant table linen for everyday use, three experts share their tips on crafting the perfect dining experience.


Why choose linen?


“The mistake many people make when setting a table is to focus on the dining set, the lighting, and maybe a floral arrangement, but a great table always starts with a beautiful tablecloth. It’s the canvas that brings all your other dining elements to life.

Tablecloths come in many materials, but pure linen never fails to impress. Remarkably durable and long-lasting, linen is naturally anti-bacterial, helping tableware stay fresh for longer. It also scores highly for sustainability. The flax plant from which linen stems thrives in poor quality soil without the need for pesticides. Since most flax is grown in Western Europe, transporting linen also means fewer CO2 emissions.

Beyond the practical benefits, the timeless elegance of pure linen makes it a top choice for our 5-star hotel clients and restaurants who strive to create the perfect dining experience for their guests. A crisp white linen table runner or tablecloth looks great teamed with matching linen place mats and linen napkins, creating a versatile backdrop for any type of event.”

Robert Lancaster-Gaye is the founder of luxury linen company Tradelinens (Tielle’s parent company), and a leading expert in luxury hotel linen, supplying 5-star hotels including The Dorchester, Rosewood and Brown’s.


How to lay a table


"Setting a table involves a lot of precise and meticulous work”, says Abigail Clark, winner of the Institute of Hospitality UK Restaurant Manager of the Year 2022 award. From the feel of the fabric to the table’s overall aesthetic, a beautiful dining table elevates the guest experience. Abigail shares her golden steps to impressing others with your dinner table etiquette.

1 Cover the table with a fine crisp linen tablecloth or timeless classic runner and position the placemats. If you want regal perfection, get out the ruler!  The official space between each place setting at Windsor Castle is 30cm, with chairs placed 27 inches from the table.

2 Dinner plates should sit in the centre of the place setting, with side plates to the left and the butter spreader laid on the side, blades facing in. Fine bone china is delicate but durable making it the perfect tableware for a special occasion.

3 Cutlery must be polished and arranged from the outside working inwards with each course. Set forks to the left and knives (blades facing inwards) to the right, and soup spoons to the knives right. Dessert forks and spoons should be laid above the plate with the fork prongs facing right. The spoon should be placed above the fork.

4 Glasses should be set above and to the right of the dinner plate with white wine, red wine and water glasses. A Champagne flute goes behind the wine glasses for toasting.

5 Crisp white 100% linen napkins are an elegant addition to a beautiful table and loved by 5-star hotels. The napkin should be folded and placed to the left of the setting or in the middle of the dinner plate.

Award-winning Abigail Clark shared her tips while restaurant manager of Charlie’s at Brown’s Hotel. London’s very first hotel situated in the heart of Mayfair.


How to style a table


There are lots of ways you can elevate even the simplest of meals into an occasion, according to Lucy Whiddett, founder of The Table Stylist.

“I start by picking a theme and colour for an event - consider your personality and style, the season and the event itself. I often build a theme around a specific item, for example our Christmas table is based around a beautiful hand painted Candyland nutcracker. I then pick three colours that fall into primary, secondary or accent.

Flowers and foliage are an easy way to add drama to a tablescape, here ‘more is more’. Bud vases create a stunning meadow effect when dotted along the table centre, and most flowers work in a bud vase. Some of my favourites are tulips, roses, snap dragons and anemones. I often add mint to arrangements in summer for a beautiful scent.

Height is another great way to add interest to the table. An easy way to achieve this is to use taper candles and candlesticks. I often vary the heights of the candles along the centre of the table, interspersing them with string lights and tealights for a romantic glow.

Consider a few small additions that make the table feel extra personal, such as
handwritten menu cards or place name cards – you can get creative here, with shells to embroidered napkins and bows. It’s a fun way to give your tablescape more personality and a lovely memento of the evening for your guests.

Lucy Whiddett is the founder of The Table Stylist which provides tablescaping services and decorations to help you create magical moments for any occasion.