clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A Stylish Dinner Party Pro Shares Her Last-Minute Table Setting Tips

LA designer Heather Taylor at an outdoor table setting Photo: Amanda Marsalis

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Given that LA linens designer Heather Taylor's speed-dial list includes some of LA's coolest creatives (Clare Vivier, EPCF founders Beatrice Valenzuela and Rachel Craven, for starters), we'd drop everything to score a seat at one of her al fresco dinner parties. The former art gallery owner and lifestyle blogger behind LA in Bloom clearly has that rare rustic domestic touch, which she's now lending to fashionable hosts with the launch of her event rentals.

Priced from $4 to $5 per napkin, $24 per runner, and $50 to $55 per tablecloth, there's a pattern and hue for every gathering style (calling all bohemian brides), from charming stripes to bold gingham. If you're looking to get personal, the handmade linens are also available with monograms ($75 with a keepsake box).

Although a carefully curated soirée is ideal, sometimes the best kind of gatherings are the spontaneous ones — so we asked Taylor (who leads quite the technicolor life) to share her best tips for those impromptu backyard summer bashes.

"My favorite tables to set are actually the ones for a last minute dinner party on a weeknight when I haven't had any time to plan it out," Taylor tells us. "The result is always the most natural!" (We knew we had the right woman.)

See all of her tips below and see her full collection of rental linens here.

Set a Focal Point

heather taylor home table setting

"I always have a focal point in the center of my table. If I can pull together some gorgeous flowers in a some neat, ceramic vessel, that will always be my first choice.

But for last minute dinner parties, when flowers aren't available, I'll look around for the prettiest thing in my kitchen and place it in the middle of the table. Maybe it's a bowl filled with lemons or peaches or fresh herbs from my fridge. Think beyond flowers!"

Think Small

Heather Taylor Home outdoor table setting

"Less is definitely more. I like to scale down the size of my glasses (sometimes I use small water glasses for wine) and the amount of flatware on the table for a look that feels much more laid-back (not to mention easy to clean-up)."

Combine the Unlikely

heather taylor home table setting

"Don't be afraid of whimsy. Mix and match colors and patterns. The best example is pairing our Hearth Napkins and Soho Tablecloth. Unlikely combinations create depth and texture — a fresh and modern take on traditional tabletop! Your guests will think you planned for weeks!"