Devika Narain draws from her expertise in designing dream weddings to show us how to prep our homes for Diwali. In the second part of our series on styling for Diwali gatherings, she creates a bright and cheery table setting
“I absolutely love bougainvillea,” says Devika Narain, who used this flower as an inspiration and focal point for this Diwali table setting. This hardy shrub, that infuses any space with colour and cheer, is also perfect for the Indian climate and is relatively inexpensive as well.
Having designed this look for a breezy Diwali brunch or lunch, she explains, “I have found that the minute you add fresh clusters of these vibrant flowers to a table, it becomes festive. It doesn’t matter what dinnerware you use, if you add this element to your home, you’ve won half the battle.” Devika complemented the bougainvillea arrangements with bunches of Sweet William and Orchids with just a whisper of Hibiscus, all of which bring in a natural colour gradient to the look.
Read on for her styling guidelines for a casual table setting that is easy to recreate:
One bold colour works wonders
I drew inspiration for the colour palette from the bougainvillea. Most of us don’t have the time to plan out and execute elaborate tablescapes so I always like to add one focal element to make the setting unique. By adding one strong vein of colour, you can drastically transform the look. To complement the shades, I worked in natural materials, dark wood furniture and a distressed finish mirror.
Mix and match in that central patch
Most of us have round tables and I have found that people find it fairly difficult to style them. What I like to do is have a central focal point. It doesn’t have to be just one ornate item; I personally love the idea of clustering beautiful objects, mixing small curios and candles with interesting artefacts from around the house. I’ve added big bunches of flowers in simple vases with a smattering of candles and a metal horse figurine. The idea is to mix it up.
Take it up a notch with layered individual settings
I like giving each person an interesting visual which is best achieved by layering tableware. Pick out a pretty table mat, add a dinner plate topped by the quarter plate. Complete the look with a napkin with a pretty fold – I’ve gone for a simple knot – and add a small detail like a personal menu or thank you note. I chose to place the cutlery to the side, tied with a simple satin ribbon in bold pink and finished the look with a single Hibiscus flower.
Create a festive ambiance that is also functional on a small table
On a smaller table if you just don’t have the space, you can forgo the central focal point for surface area to add dishes. You can create so much visual appeal with each plate setting that even if the rest of your table is sparse on decoration, you still have a beautiful table. In this case, elevate the look with potted Bougainvillea plants placed in pretty baskets on the floor or on an interesting piece like the vintage metal trunk I used. If, however, there is enough space in the room, I like to add a trolley to the side to park dishes and bottles, keeping the centre free to be a canvas for your creative floral styling.
Scroll through the products below to buy and recreate this look for your own Diwali lunch: