Restaurants may be about to reopen their doors for socially-distanced dining, but with dining out still likely to be a rare luxury for some time, make an effort to up the style stakes at home instead. Take some table styling tips from your favourite eatery (home or abroad), or from wedding table-settings, and set up your very own restaurant-style experience, so you can enjoy a special meal without having to leave the house.
Choose the location for your meal – remember it doesn’t have to be where you usually sit down to eat – change it up and try somewhere different. Relocate your dining table, or set up a smaller table or surface – hide a makeshift table with a table cloth or length of fabric. If the weather’s playing ball you could even head outside into the garden to dine al fresco.
Nothing says restaurant like a menu, so knock up you very own version. This printable modern menu from Almost Makes Perfect is an easy option (and can be customised with your own menu), or you could design and print your own, or chalk one up on a blackboard or memo board.
Put in some extra effort when laying your table – think ‘special occasion’. To get a restaurant feel, lean to the formal side, with properly laid place settings including cutlery for each course, and side plates and glasses. It’s time to dig out the best china and really go to town. Napkins are another restaurant-dining essential – whether you opt for paper or fabric, make sure to include them on your table.
Create a centrepiece – anything from a simple vase of flowers to some sprigs of green foliage to a hurricane lantern or houseplant. If there’s space, include a wine cooler on the table, too to save constant trips to the fridge for top ups.
Lighting is always a carefully considered element of a restaurant’s interior design scheme. If possible, turn off the main overhead light and create an inviting atmosphere using mood lighting. Candles on the table are great for a romantic glow, and arrange floor or table lamps nearby to add ambient pools of light (and so you can see your food!).
Start or end the evening with a drink at the bar. This Ikea cart drinks station can be set up so it’s ready to go – pop it next to a seating area so you’ve got somewhere to settle down with your aperitif or digestif. A cart is also a great option for a dessert trolley if you’re missing the sweet selection from your favourite restaurant. Save on the prep by filling jars or glass vases with a variety of sweets and chocolate for a pick ‘n’ mix final course.
Lastly, get other people in your household involved! Invite your kids or housemates to act as waiting staff, taking orders, pouring drinks and serving meals. You might just find you never want to leave the house again…