A Casual yet Chic Dinner on the Coffee Table


My design inspiration for this “chic” dinner on the coffee table came from a coffee table book! I loved the cover shot of Carolyne Roehm’s newest book, Design & Style, A Constant Thread, a recent birthday gift. I was struck by the exquisite raspberry/cranberry color, which works so beautifully in the fall, and immediately thought to incorporate shades of it into my tablescape. I can’t wait to tell you why……

In 1986, I was already a fan of Carolyne Roehm’s. I saw a photo of her NYC living room that sent me over the edge! We had just renovated a French Country home from top to bottom and had secured the services of a wonderful interior designer, James Christopher. I handed him the photo of Carolyne’s living room and asked if he could duplicate her luscious sofas and club chairs. He did. Right down to the braided trim, over-sized tassels and ornate frog appliqués. They were gorgeous. And I was a very happy girl! This year, 32 years later, I had the opportunity to share this story with Carolyne and we both had a chuckle.

I’ve always been a fan of dining in different places in our homes. I’ve moved a table for 4 into the living room for a fireside dinner in front of the fireplace, a dinner for 8 into the sun-room on warm night with the windows thrown open to hear the crickets and water fountain. I’ve had a large dinner party spread out on three patios around our house and then rotate guests before dessert! Today, we often plop our dinner onto cool grey lacquered trays from West Elm and happily dine on the sofa in our den. I also like to have dinner on our over-sized coffee table in our living room. It changes things up, especially for friends who are frequent visitors. 

Instead of cocktails in the living room pre-dinner, why not have cocktails around the center island in your kitchen, dinner in the living room and then retire to the dining room for a romantic dessert by candlelight? Whatever you do and wherever you do it, people are just happy to be in your home!

The raspberry/cranberry color inspired me to select these exquisite damask napkins. From there I chose to use our everyday Pacifica dishware in grey to coordinate.  Silver was the natural progression for my next element, so out came our silver barware with grey monogrammed cocktail napkins, keeping it handsomely chic. 

An inexpensively effective centerpiece is easy to create. I began with a large silver tray with wooden handles on which I piled miniature white pumpkins ($1.99 from the supermarket), branches of faux heather (Michael’s craft store $4.99/stem), and a real pumpkin I painted in a similar raspberry/cranberry tone (very hard to match!). One thing that’s easy to do with the thousands of wine labels available is to coordinate the label with your design. My family loves Josh Cabernet, so I incorporated a bottle into the centerpiece. Think outside of the box. And the best part is… it lasted for weeks

~ Keeping it Casually Chic ~