Table talk…

Tablescaping is a huge trend right now and more people than ever will be looking for ideas on how to ensure their festive one looks picture perfect for Christmas. Luckily help is at hand courtesy of local tablescaping duo Sarah and Alex from SET HOSTING. Here they share their top tips…


Why and when did you launch your business?

We launched SET HOSTING just over two years ago. Having left the financial and legal worlds behind us in London and bonded over a shared passion for design and interiors, we were both keen to start our own creative venture.


Was this a tricky time given we were in and out of lockdowns?

This was when we noticed a wider interest in table dressing – perhaps as a result of people appreciating moments around a table with family. We both love to set the scene for a party by laying a beautiful table but know that not everyone has the time to dedicate to the table. It can be both costly and time consuming so renting ‘tablescapes’ gives people the opportunity to experiment with different styles, therefore creating a memorable backdrop to a party.


Can you briefly explain the offering from SET HOSTING?

We are not your traditional white hire company. We have curated complete tablesettings, sourcing items that you wouldn’t ordinarily find on the high street. We love to work with artisans who are passionate about their products and designers who inspire and bring joy to everyday items. Our suppliers include the Italian ceramic company, Bitossi, whose family have manufactured ceramics for over a hundred years in Tuscany but now collaborate with exciting young designers to produce unique ceramics.


Do you deliver the complete tablescape set to clients?

Yes we take our luxury settings to your home and can either transform your table for you or leave you with instructions on how to re-create the look.  With SET you have the option to rent the complete tabletop which obviously includes beautiful crockery, glassware, linens, candles, flowers and more, or you can select individual pieces. One of our favourite aspects of our work is creating bespoke designs for events, whether it’s an intimate dinner party or a larger celebration. And once the party is over you simply rinse, repack and we collect – typically 24 hours later. That’s the key to our offering: making hosting as easy and fun as possible which includes outsourcing the washing up to us!


We both share a passion for design and interiors, so were keen to start our own creative venture”


Do you sell as well as rent tablescaping themes?

Renting is the core of our business but having discovered some fabulous suppliers whilst curating our rental collections we now offer Christmas tablescapes to buy. We also source tableware for clients who would like something a little bit different to the offerings on the high street. Whether you are looking for a new set of plates or an alternative to the traditional wedding list, we can help. For bespoke events, we can be as little or as much involved as the client wishes. We have built up an extensive network of contacts in the events and entertaining sector across the South East and can help with everything from sourcing a marquee to choosing the colour of your glassware.


What types of festive themes are you offering for Christmas 2022?

We have two festive tablescapes to buy this Christmas (which include a tablecloth, napkins, candleholders and candles, decorative trees and place cards). Our ‘Ruby’ box is a classic festive and warm style with an incredible hand block printed tablecloth as its foundation. ‘Emerald’ is a more playful twist on the Christmas table with a pop of pink and a handsome Nutcracker candle as its centrepiece. Both styles feature gorgeous paper trees from the super fun brand &klevering and gold wooden candlesticks from UK company British Colour Standard. They are a wonderful way to take the hassle out of setting your Christmas table and make a fabulous gift for someone who loves to host. For the complete look and a totally hassle-free Christmas, (no one likes the washing up after all) our tablewares are available to hire at a 20% discount for the Christmas period when you buy a tablescape. For Christmas we have our At Home Cracker and Wreaths kits available to buy from £40 for 6, full details on our website.



We think setting a showstopper table should be an enjoyable part of the warm up to the big day. Here are our top tips for how you can achieve that:



We always use either a tablecloth or runner – they’re super practical and set the tone for your design. We love pattern, whether it be bold or subtle, as it adds interest and disguises the inevitable spills! Napkins are also key – linen ones are a favourite. Whether you just fold them as a base for your cutlery, tie them in a knot for immediate impact or make a Christmas tree (yes this is a thing, check out our Instagram for details on how to) they add a touch of luxury to the table.


We have curated complete tablesettings, sourcing items you wouldnt ordinarily find on the high street and we love to work with artisans”



The wrong lighting can ruin a table setting. When it’s dark in the winter candlelight really is your friend for giving instant atmosphere and flattering lighting. We also love freestanding table lamps for the soft downlight they create (we use these on many of our designs) but for Christmas we use tall candlesticks and votives to make the light more interesting as well as adding to the all-important layering.



Creating a wow table is all about interest for the eye and layers do this wonderfully. We build height and interest using a placemat or charger and setting the table with the main and dessert plate (you can just whip them away before you serve). Having greenery running down the middle of the table adds interest without interrupting views across the table. You could source from the garden or offcuts from your Christmas tree work really well. Height can come from your glassware and tall candlesticks stand out fabulously. Low votives finish off the look. Don’t get too fixated on making everything match. Different tones of a colour work really well with a couple of pieces in a contrasting stand out colour.

The ultimate table topping for Christmas is, of course, a cracker! Go as bold and beautiful as you dare. We are selling Make At Home Cracker Kits this year after the success of our workshops where clients made beautiful recyclable crackers topped with mini dried floral wreaths.


Finish Your Table with Love

Menus and name places are the little extras that really show you care! It doesn’t matter if you haven’t yet had time to learn the art of calligraphy, handwriting always looks lovely or could just print onto beautiful paper.


And what about key looks for a New Years Eve dinner party?

We usually view this as a more grown up affair – more classy and glassy! Think beautiful tableware and lots of gorgeous glassware (there are lots of drinks to be drunk after all).

Start the evening with a well laid drinks trolley. It’s the ultimate welcome gift! A small side table does the job just as well or even a large tray in your kitchen. We use coupe glasses for champagne (just for the Hollywood glam element) and something cut glass for a G&T. Line up the ingredients for your favourite cocktail and an ice bucket.




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