Monthly Archives: July 2010

Ask IT: What’s the Best Way to Decorate a Dinner Table?

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I finally moved into my first “grown-up” apartment a few months ago and finally have it decorated and ready to present to my friends (thanks in part to several of the tips I found on your blog). I am planning a dinner party in a few weeks time (my first) and wanted to know if you had any advice for setting the table properly so I can impress my friends with my hostess ability, without having it look to stuffy. I already have the essentials (stoneware, flatware, glasses, etc) but just want to make sure I’m displaying them correctly.

Kyra

Toronto, ON

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Hi Kyra,

Thanks for the question. Though there are dozens of variations on what is truly “proper” for table settings, the following is a general guideline to use for casual or semi-formal dining:

Start by placing  the dinner plates one inch from the edge of the table. If there is a pattern in the middle of the plate, make sure that it is facing the right way. Next, place the knife on the right side of the plate, blade inward, one inch from the edge of the table, handle end of knife at the bottom. Make sure the knife is next to the plate, not underneath the plate. The tablespoon is then placed next to the knife, also one inch from the bottom of the table. Next, the fork is place on the left side of the dinner plate one inch from the edge of the table, making sure it is also next to the plate verses underneath the plate. The napkin is folded in half and placed next to the fork with the crease farthest away from the fork. The glass is placed directly above the knife approximately one inch.

If other silverware is required for other courses, like salad, soup, or dessert, place the spoons next to the spoons and forks next to the forks. Silverware is placed in order of what is to be eaten, beginning furthest away from the dinner plate and working your way towards the dinner plate. A salad fork would be placed next to the dinner fork, one inch from the edge of the table, and would be furthest from the dinner plate. A soup spoon would be placed next to the tablespoon, one inch from the edge of the table, and would be furthest from the dinner plate. A dessert fork would be placed next to the dinner plate before the dinner fork because you would use the dessert fork last.

Finally the centerpiece. Centerpieces are what really puts the finishing touch on your table setting. Create a theme and color scheme for your table setting that reflects the season, event, or common thread of the guests. A bouquet of flowers, a sculpture, or an ornate candelabra make great decorative centerpieces, but make sure the object you choose isn’t so large that it prevents people from seeing one another across the table.

We hope that gives you a good base to go on. Good luck with your party!

If you have a question about anything related to decorating send it to: AskIT@decorateitonline.com. If we feature it on our Blog we’ll send you a gift certificate for $25 for the DIO STORE!

Interior Design Trend Alert: Working The Natural Look Into Your Room Decor

For the past few seasons the big trend in interior decorating has been high glamor. Expertly coiffed and primped spaces filled with pattern and contrast have been filling the pages of design magazines and websites the world over. And while the “decorated” look is still very much in vogue, many top decorators and designers are now starting to add a few strikingly natural organic elements to the mix to add texture and visual tension to their rooms. Rough-hewn woods, unpolished stone, and distressed metal are popping up in the most unexpected of places and adding a rustic edge to even the most urbane interiors.

The secret to incorporating this new trend into your home is to choose just a few key elements that will serve as dramatic focal points in the room without overpowering it. Here are a few of our favorite nature-inspired items from the DIO STORE to add a bit of earthiness to your space:

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Banyan Table Lamp: Constructed of genuine banyan leaves, the cylinder shade casts a warm amber glow. Also available in green. $136

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Reeds Cocoa Area Rug: Natural woven seagrass creates a durable and comfortable texture, and the neutral color coordinates with almost any decor. Available in 5' x 8' or 8' x 11'. $180-$403

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Lincoln Cowhide Bench: Nature and glamor come together in this stunning occasional bench. Natural cowhide is complimented by silver nailhead trim and a glossy black base. $639

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Santa Fe Dining Table: Solid pine in a natural finish gives this simple farmers table a cool organic elegance. $1150

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Jakarta Queen Platform Bed: Sleek lines and a natural bamboo finish make this contemporary platform bed one of the most unique bedroom pieces we've seen. Also available in espresso. $1910

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Root Decorative Balls: Tiny pieces of real tree roots have been woven together to create these gorgeous decorative balls. Available in 3 sizes. $78-$161

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Large Yucca Pole: These genuine yucca-tree poles create a fab rustic focal point in an entryway or corner. $144 for a set of 3

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And for professional advice on incorporating all the latest trends into your space, our $199 styleIT interior decorating portfolio gives you all the answers in one quick, easy, and affordable package!

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5 Feng Shui Decorating Tips For The Kitchen


The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home, and given its multifaceted nature as a place of gathering, storage, food preparation, serving, work, and entertaining, it is one of the most important areas in which to employ the principles of feng shui.

Here are a few of our favorite decorating tips to bring a sense of harmony to your kitchen:

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If your kitchen is oriented so that your back is toward the door while standing at the range or cooktop place several shiny chrome objects all around to reflect people entering the room.

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If the entrance door to the kitchen is in a direct line with an outside door or window positive energy will rush out of the room too quickly. Counter this by placing a large plant near a doorway, or placing a small plant or object made of red glass in a windowsill to encourage the chi to linger.

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Keep knives and other pointed kitchen implements tucked away in drawers and cupboards out of plain sight. Sharp edges can create “poison arrows” in a space and encourage negative energy.

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Natural wood, metal, and stone provide a healthier environment and more beneficial energy than plastic and composite materials. If your kitchen features laminate countertops and cabinets, try adding a wood or stone cutting board, bamboo utensils, and cast iron cookware to add a more natural element.

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Upper cabinets with doors also create “poison arrows” and they encourage the accumulation of needless clutter. Open upper shelves that display stoneware or crockery are preferable.

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For more great tips on encouraging the flow of positive energy throughout your home check out our TOOLS section. And for professional advice customized just for you our $199 styleIT decorating portfolio gives you all the answers in one affordable package!

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The IT List: 5 Fabulous Home Decor Finds under $500!

When it comes to budget decorating solutions, big-impact pieces are where it’s at. Getting the most bang for your buck is imperative if you want to create a dramatic change.

These fabulous pieces from the DIO STORE will add a major visual impact to your space, and they’re each under $500:

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Impressions Wall Panel: Create an instant focal point with this striking bronze and wood wall sculpture. $243

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Tuxedo Hall Table: The epitome of Hollywood Regency glamor, this gorgeous hall table adds a hit of bling to any space, large or small. $366

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Pagoda Bench: Add an exotic Oriental flair to a foyer, bedroom, or great room with this lovely accent bench. $476

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Labyrinth Wall Shelf: Practical and stylish, this unique wall shelf features 9 slots for display so you can constantly create new vignettes. $404

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Revenant Armchair: Cool and modern, yet vaguely traditional, this clear acrylic armchair is incredibly sturdy and durable, despite its delicate appearance. $265

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And for professional help creating a spectacular new room on any budget, check out our fabulous $199 styleIT decorating portfolio!

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