a guide to setting a red & neutral Valentine’s day table

Do you decorate, celebrate or do anything for the Valentine’s day holiday? We like to celebrate it at home, so I always set a pretty table around here. I lean towards neutrals and monochromatic stylings in this stage of my life, and injecting red into my decor and celebrations is always a challenge. Let me show you how I set a red AND neutral Valentine’s day table.

setting a red & neutral Valentine's day table

I will share today how I set this table stage by stage. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments if you need additional details. It’s my pleasure to share, since setting a pretty table is one of my favorite pastimes.

setting a red & neutral Valentine's day table

before setting a special table

Before I even touch a dish or start setting the table I do a few tasks first, which help execute the table design easily.

setting a red & neutral Valentine's day table

pick a theme

Themes range from the type of celebration to the color scheme to the current holiday, etc. And sometimes tables do not necessarily require a “theme”, but it helps when you are setting a table for a special occasion or event, providing direction and inspiration.

red & neutral Valentine's day tablescape

For example, for today’s table I am setting a Valentine’s Day table, which is the main theme. I also have a sub or secondary theme of the color scheme, mixing red and neutral tones. I’m not a red gal. At. all. But I really love this table when mixing the red in with layers of neutrals.

draw up the guest list

By knowing who will be sitting at the table it helps determine many of the other details. For example, will it be all couples or will there be children involved or is all girlfriends, etc.?

setting a red & neutral Valentine's day table

For today’s table, I created it with my immediate family in mind. So it’s a bit casual, but yet I used some fun elements to keep it festive and special.

choose setting

Determining where you will set the table actually goes hand in hand with the theme, since it’s all about the feeling you are trying to create. Today I am setting the table on our kitchen set to remain somewhat relaxed. Although I inject a little bit of fancy to add those magical feelings.

a guide to a red Valentine's day table design

create menu

Knowing what type of food will be served helps determine, what dishware, flatware, etc. will be needed at the table. This can be as elaborate as setting a tall plate stack for a varied coursed meal to a simple dinner plate with pretty chargers for a buffet style meal.

Valentine's tablescape

select table top items

Once you somewhat know what will be served, you can start selecting the dishes, and glassware and linens etc. None of this is set in stone, since part of the fun of styling a table is the editing process.

setting a red & neutral Valentine's day table

What do I mean by editing? It’s the process when you might eliminate something from the table since it’s not marrying well with the other items. Or you might add something because it’s missing a certain piece. I will go into more detail about this below, during the step by step details.

steps to setting a red and neutral Valentine’s Day table

prep table and build from the bottom up

Clear the table to create a blank slate. Once the table is prepped you can start from the bottom up. You can leave your table raw or you can use linens to ground your table design. I use either design depending on the feeling or theme I am going for. Today I am creating a table runner using vintage linens, which I shared yesterday and you can read all about here {thrifted goodies – using vintage linen pieces to create a table runner}.

vintage linen table runner
thrifted goodies – using vintage linen pieces to create a table runner

create your plate stack

The plate stack is the most important aspect of the table, in my opinion, since this is where each guest enjoys the meal. I started with a neutral charger, followed by a white Wonki Ware dinner plate and then an assorted gray Wonki Ware accent plate. This keeps the plate stack in neutral territory.

neutral tablescape

add place setting details

Along with the plate stack, each place setting requires the proper accents, including flatware, glassware, napkins etc. I tucked the flatware in RED plaid pouches, crowning the plate stack. As I mentioned above, I don’t do much red at Christmas time, but these pouches are used very year in everyone’s stockings filled with sweet treats. I decided they can serve double duty on this red and neutral Valentine’s table.

setting a red & neutral Valentine's day table

include special touches at each place setting

I like to add something unexpected or “special” at each place setting for a little bit of fun. I included individual salt & pepper shakers plus silver butter pats at each person’s place setting. This adds bit of fancy and makes each individual feel special. For the glassware, I chose etched high ball glasses from my parents, reproduction white milk glass goblets from Tuesday Morning and my parents’ champagne coupes.

setting a red & neutral Valentine's day table

style centerpiece

Last but not least the centerpiece sets the tone for the table and completes the picture. I chose a RED mercury glass vase full of blooms, balanced with silver plate candlesticks with an assortment of candles, including neutral and RED candles. Tying it all together in the center is a cast iron jardiniere full of botanical goodness, which you can read about here {moss planter}.

Valentines tablescape

balancing the pop of red with the neutral tones

Although I tend to be somewhat monochromatic, or boring as my darling daughter likes to put it, it was super fun to inject red into this table styling. I love how the red bounces off the neutral details, giving it more life.

setting a red & neutral Valentine's day table

I only used three RED elements on the table scape, including the plaid pouches at each place setting, the mercury glass red vase and the red sweetheart taper candles.

setting a red & neutral Valentine's day table

Everything else is pretty neutral in whites, and creams and grays. Having the different tones of neutrals adds depth and interest instead of having one flat hue.

I like to mix vintage pieces with new items in table stylings. On this table I used some vintage milk glass pieces, like my MIL’s cake plate and some compotes, while the goblets and some footed bowls are reproductions. The linens are also vintage and you can read how created this table runner on yesterday’s post {thrifted goodies – using vintage linens to create a table runner}.

thrifted goodies – using vintage linens to create a tab;e runner

All the details in the lace and embroidery of the linens, and the etching on the glassware plus the relief on the milk glass all add texture to the table, which I absolutely love! I hope you enjoyed the journey of this table as much as I did.

If you don’t want to miss out on any of the upcoming projects you can subscribe to receive all my new posts to your in-box.

“Where there is love, there is life.”

Mahatma Gandhi

sharing @ between naps on the porch

I love hearing from you!