The Art of Entertaining Like a Pro
Creating Gorgeous Tablescapes with Kim Seybert.
Kim Seybert’s collection of beautiful lifestyle accessories for the home elevates prettiness and freshness to the next level.
As springtime blooms and the warmer months are finally upon us, we asked Kim to share some of her favorite ways to entertain, and fun ideas for how to set an elegantly modern table.
Your collection leaves us almost breathless. It’s so pretty and elegant and special – and best of all, it’s meant to be used and enjoyed. You blend the traditional with a very fresh aesthetic. Tell us, how have you noticed etiquette and table-setting rules shifting from our parents’ time to now?
The biggest shift I have seen is in the creativity and incorporating fashion into tablescapes. In our parents’ time, and even when I first started in this business, setting the table was much more classic. You didn’t have as many choices in china, glassware, flatware, accessories and color. Now you are only limited by your imagination. I see people designing the table just as creatively as they dress themselves. People are experimenting with color and mixing and matching patterns. They are also adding layers and incorporating narratives. They aren’t afraid to take risks. But a truly successful table setting should reflect the personality of the person setting the table.
When you are setting a table, where do you start? Do you base it on the theme of your dinner, what it’s going to be like outside, what you are serving, or something else altogether?
Yes, I will base it on a theme if I am having an Easter brunch, bridesmaids’ luncheon or a St. Patrick’s Day soiree. Then I think it is fun to stay with a theme. We did a St. Patrick’s Day luncheon, and we served Vino Verde wine and green cake to stay on trend with the table. It also had individual potted clovers at each place setting as place card holders. The centerpiece and flowers were a base of moss with white flowers like astilbe and freesias.
How do you best set a springtime table?
Spring/Summer is my favorite time to entertain, so I love to set a colorful table. I usually start with a color in mind or a fabulous printed tablecloth and go from there. There are also so many beautiful flowers to choose from that bring a certain joie de vivre to the table.
Besides the basics, like table cloths, placemats, napkin rings...what is something fun that can add pizazz to a table?
Over the years, I have tried so many different elements to design an exciting table.
I love to use things from my travels all over the world.
I love using fabulous saris that I got in India and turning them into tablecloths. I have used meditation bowls from Chennai as centerpieces down the center of the table. Filling the bowls with water and floating flowers in them creates a zen table.
What is the most creative centerpiece you’ve ever used?
We hosted magazine editors for lunch at our office showroom a few months ago. And with a group of such creative individuals who have seen it all, we wanted to create a spectacular and wow moment. Instead of using standard bouquets or vase arrangements, we had wild flowers spilling out of a triptych of birdcages. It was breathtaking to see, and it also echoed the table setting which featured our Indochine charger.
What are some key elements that you think that make a great table?
Two things that I always love on a table are beautiful flowers and candle light. They both enhance any table and make the perfect finishing touch. They become the perfect backdrop for what will be a memorable event.
As a hostess, what do you feel is the appropriate way to deal with a napkin ring? Do you leave them on the table, or do you put them away?
If I am hosting a dinner party and I have someone serving, then I will have them collect the napkin rings from the table. Otherwise I just let the guests leave them on the table and they add a little more sparkle to the setting.
What are your favorite napkin folds?
I have done so many different folds over the years and love to experiment, but lately I like this soft, natural twist since it shows off our ombre napkins that I love to use.
If you have only 12 place settings, but are hosting sixteen, what do you recommend? Should you mix and match?
I love to mix and match. I really started doing it with glasses initially just because I loved the way it looked to use 2 different glasses on the table. I think you can make it work out of necessity as well when you don’t have enough place settings. In a situation like this, I usually set up my table in advance so I know how to lay it out so it looks good.
What are your thoughts on assigned seating?
If I have a small group of people over who all know each other then I don’t use place cards. But if you have guests who don’t know one another, I think using place cards works to introduce your guests and to help them to remember their seatmate’s name.
We are so glad that you did, but tell us, what was the spark that inspired you to start your own business?
There were two things that happened simultaneously that helped me to start this business. The first one was I designed some beaded coasters as Christmas gifts one year. My friends loved them and asked if they could buy them to give as gifts. The next one was that I redecorated my apartment and felt my creative juices flowing when I designed some accessories for my home. Coming from fashion, it just felt good to try something new and the home was a perfect transition. I took some of my samples that I had made for my home to Henri Bendel and to Neiman Marcus and I got an order! The rest is history.
You have been known to say, “We are dressing the table for every occasion, and you’re invited!” There’s so much fun in this notion and that sense of warmth and hospitality carries forth into your amazing collections and the tablescapes. We thank you so much for sharing these wonderful – and useful – ideas with us!