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Trip to Kitchener Sept 09 008

Autumn is a great time to rethink not just our menu, but how we present it. With Thanksgiving around the corner, most of us tend to be captivated by the rural country. Even if your tastes don’t run along the rustic country lines, your dinner table might be the one place you rethink that. Bringing a little of the rural countryside to our dining table decor is akin to eating comfort food. It’s good for the soul.

Here are a couple of ways to add some country warmth to your dinner table this fall…

1. Dress for the weather.  With cooler temps, we tend to pile on heavier textures and warmer fabrics… so adding extra clothing to our tables isn’t so far fetched?!

* use heavier textures such as jacquard weaves, wool and heavier brushed cottons for table linens
* layer it on… now’s the time to use it all –  the tablecloth, placemats,  runners and napkins. A rich layering of coordinating fabrics feels warm and cozy. 

1. Mix and match your table linens. Autumn is all about abundance and dinner tables look more abundant when we layer on a variety of patterns in a variety of  colors.

* layer checkered cloth napkins with a plaid tablecloth or vice versa. If that sounds too country for your tastes,  invest in a set of checkered napkins (they’ll work in the summer too) and mix them with solid colored placemats.
* instead of mixing patterns, mix a variety of solid colors in rich, autumn shades. Try a pumpkin-colored table cloth with mustard-colored placemats, rich tomato napkins and moss-colored plates… or something along those lines.

 3. Opt for country colors. Take a look outside your window, then bring those earthy, autumn colors inside. Choose a color palette around any earthy vegetable color… tomatos, squash, peas, corn, etc.. These earthy, autumn colors feel warm and woodsy.  If you stay within this garden palette, you can mix any variety of colors.

* put a handful of dry, colorful leaves in a simple glass bowl in the center of the table.
* place a simple fall wreath in the middle of the table and place a wide round candle in the center in a complementary color.
* bring in some yellow – turns out we all feel instantly warmer and more content around a harvest gold-colored pitcher, napkins or placemats.

4. Add rustic textures. Replicate some of the dry, rugged textures of autumn on your table. Not sure what it is about those rough hay bail-type textures, but we all seem drawn to touch them. 

* place pine cones in a glass bowl as a centerpiece, or place a few of them on each dining plate prior to serving dinner.
* spread a few dry branches in the center of the table and place votive candles among them 
* put a few serving dishes inside rustic baskets; it’s a whole different experience to pass aroun a straw or woven textured dish than one made of ceramic or glass.

Fall clothing can be a great inspiration for dinner table schemes. Observe the way textures, patterns, fabrics and colors of popular autumn wardrobes are mixed for inspiration!