I’m not the best cook in the world. But I do love to entertain, and a big part of that is being able to decorate the table. When guests walk into my house and see the table, I want them to be so wowed that they won’t notice that I’m spooning food from takeout cartons in the kitchen. So here are five ideas for table settings that will set the stage for a memorable evening.

The Framed Masterpiece : This table setting was first seen in the Paris Flea Market party in my book Parties that Wow. I’ve since added the mini easel and photo for place card holders to the setting. I start with an 11 x 17 picture frame, which frames a standard 11 inch dinner plate just perfectly.  Then I fill out the frame with vintage French postcards from eBay. I’ve done this table setting for all kinds of occasions, and it always impresses. If you have a lot of people at dinner, you don’t actually need to give each person a frame. Alternate every other seat, and you still get the same effect.

The Paint Chip Place Setting: You know how much I love to play with paint chips. This place setting uses my paint chip napkin rings from an earlier tutorial. In addition, I created a pocket to place the silverware by sewing together two large paint chips. It was really easy to sew. I also made a paint chip table runner by printing some fabric on spoonflower.com.

Holiday Wrapping Table Setting: I used some wrapping paper as a table runner, and I love using it crosswise on the table, rather than lengthwise, so that people sitting across from each other share the same runner. That way they also work as placemats. Then I wrapped all the dishes in a bow. Simple as that.

Record Album Table Setting: I am addicted to buying old record albums because the card stock of the album covers is so great for papercrafts. And as you can see here, they also make great placemats. For the napkin rings, I looped together a strip of sheet music and held it together with a decorative brad. I was most excited about the 45 RPM adapter in the center of the napkin ring.

Feathers Table Setting: This idea started out as the Pink Party table setting from my book Parties that Wow, to commemorate breast cancer awareness. But now, I use it for all kinds of dinner parties. People love the feathers on the dinner table. I frequently add silk roses petals hanging from the ceiling to complement the feathers, but that’s a whole other story and video.