Gretchen Hansen, Decorist CEO, loves more than great design. The powerhouse also loves to cook and entertain! Gretchen recently put together a beautiful (and Valentines Day appropriate) tablescape. Using Bed Bath & Beyond fine china alongside vintage pieces and family heirlooms, the look is interesting yet accessible. The structured florals are gorgeous and dramatic, while the personal touches are charming. There are hand written place cards on marble coasters, which double as party favors. Gretchen offers tips to achieve this look at home:

We love this look, Gretchen! How did you selected the palette?
Jewel tones are very popular right now so I wanted to play off this trend to create something romantic and a bit moody for Valentine’s Day. The base of the table was a crisp white tablecloth with soft blush placemats and rich mauve napkins. Then I layered pops of purple, orange, and natural colors using both fruits and florals. The final touch was the shinny metallics found in the hammered brass utensils, napkin rings and vintage candlesticks. 
 
Tell us about the centerpieces, from the books + persimmons to the floral arrangements. What inspired the look?
I was inspired by structured florals and the Victorian era to create something truly romantic. By having a mixture of overflowing florals and fruit, the table had lots of color and interest. I used glass cake plates from Bed Bath & Beyond and added in my vintage pieces to display all the decadent desserts while mixing lush textures like velvets and metals. To create height and dimension, I layered vintage books, candlesticks, family heirlooms to create something truly personal and unique.
 
The name cards are unique! Was that a DIY?
Yes! I found this idea on Pinterest. We used marble coasters from World Market and had them tailor made for each guest. And not to mention, they made a great party favors as well!
 
Finally, what are your top tips for flawless entertaining?
I love to throw a good party with delicious food, great music, and dear friends and family.  I will not lie, planning a party—no matter how big or small—can certainly be stressful.  So to help make sure it goes off without a hitch, here’s some tips to keep in mind:  
 
  • Start with a theme – In order to avoid a haphazard look it helps to have a theme and color scheme in mind from the onset. I like to start a pinterest board with ideas to help keep the overall look on track.
  • Signature cocktail or your favorite wine — to avoid having a shaker in my hand all night, I have a signature cocktail pre-made or some of our favorite wine open and ready to go.
  • Break out the china — Any sit-down dinner with friends and family is worthy of your fine china. New or vintage dinnerware will bring a special polish to your table setting that feels celebratory and festive.
  • Gorgeous centerpiece—Florals can make or break a tablescape. Gather inspiration and show your florist or go wild at the farmer’s market for an opulent, overflowing look.
  • Creative place settings – We always love including a personal element in a tablescape, and placecards are such a fun way to make people feel special.  I think the more unique, the better!
  • Yummy food and desserts — Go fresh and seasonal with your menu and be sure to top it off a smattering of decadent desserts.