3 Clever Table-Setting Ideas to Steal From the DIFFA Dining by Design Event

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Joanna Bober is InStyle's lifestyle director. Get more peeks behind-the-scenes by following her on Instagram (@jbober).

Imagine a truly over-the-top, floral laden, lavishly propped out dinner table. Then multiply that by 50. That’s precisely what was on display at last week’s N.Y.C. Dining By Design fundraiser, benefitting DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS). And the creative firepower was fierce, with some of the country’s top interior designers and fashion types funneling their over-the-top styling ideas into every single table installation.

As you might expect, there were more than a few ideas to archive away and use at home someday.

Take, for example, the opulent florals at the table sponsored by fave fashion and home brand Anthropologie (pictured above, and details below). Low bowls, tall vases, and tiered serving pieces were bursting with pink blooms of every shade. The upshot? Your eye moved across the table, with the varying heights of the arrangements creating visual excitement and a sense of profusion. The array of dishes and vessels on the table appears in the newest spring catalog, including this porcelain crane (bottom right), a piece that looks like something you’d find at the Palm Beach estate sale of your dreams. The flowers perched on the charming tower of plates are held together simply and effectively by cubes of floral oasis.


In another corner of the vast exhibition and dining space, interior design and home furnishing geniuses Dransfield and Ross scattered loads of mismatched, colorful wine goblets in a range of deep jewel tones down the center of a table (below). The effect was eclectic and super festive—and without a flower in sight. Little votive candles nestled in between the glassware created the perfect glow. The idea is a welcome project for flea market fiends who can now continue to buy gorgeous single goblets with renewed vigor and genuine purpose.


Interior designers Marks and Frantz used the golden age of Hollywood as inspiration for their table (below). Bottle green and gold were the dominant tones at play, with hits of black and white geometrics on a cloth runner. The cheekiest touch, however, was the nonchalant placement of derby hats and sparkly princess-worthy tiaras on the backs of each chair for guests to don (below, right). Mix in just the right amount of bubbly, and you've got the makings of a party to remember.


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