How to Master Tablescaping with Top Tips from Serena Fresson

By HOPP Team

Serena Fresson is a 'mother, grandmother & table laying enthusiast'. Her inspriational account @tabledressup is delightful, and abundant with styling ideas and stunning combinations of linen, crockery, glassware, floral decor and accesorise. Serena's passion lies in decorating & projects have included a Sloane Square hotel, houses in the English Countryside, and St. Tropez villas. We are thrilled to have her giving some insider tips on dressing up a tablescape!

Where are you writing this from?

I am lucky enough to be writing this from my home in Hampshire profiting from some wonderful weather and surroundings.

What or who inspires you at the moment? 

I have always been a huge fan of Martha Stewart and Carolyne Rhoem and I don think that has really changed over the last 35 years. Being Australian I am drawn to their fresh bright colour palette (although I rarely use more than one or two colours including green) and love of outdoor dining. Finally I am obsessed with Paolo Moschino and always think - now clearly this is not his style - perhaps I should remove something or tone it down, rather like with jewellery or/ makeup!

How do you start your day?

My day begins rather early (6am) due to panic purchasing a puppy just pre lockdown when I should have been stocking up on loo paper and real essentials. Post feeding Iris (Beaglier puppy) and her sisters (Puggles called Daphne and Tiger) I take the them out for an early stroll around the garden in my dressing gown and wellies (flip flops when it was hot) with a cup of very strong PG tips (milk and sugar) and a pair of secateurs in case someone has bloomed overnight and is ready to be put in a vase. It’s then back up to bed for some morning news and of course a little social media scrolling until about 7.30am. Lockdown has altered my routine hugely - I haven’t been to a supermarket since late February - rarely left the gates to be honest! I try to take it slowly otherwise by 11am I am ready for dinner and a glass of wine!

What are your favourite accessories to use when laying a table?

I have so many favourite accessories that come out all the time but when I look back at my photos there are a few that stand out. 

  • My white rimmed wine glasses and white Campagna footed bowl from Daylesford seem to work on almost every table whatever the season. I fill the bowl with lemons, faux artichokes, decorative balls, and have used it to plant various Spring bulbs. 
  • Tortoishell Cap Deco Cutlery which I was lucky enough to have been gifted by Bonadea Official. 
  • Ester & Erik Candles - dreamy and extensive selection of colours to choose from. 
  • My great friend Fiona Dreesmann and fellow table laying enthusiast (founder of Fiona Finds) introduced me to Italian waxed placemats - I use them on nearly every table. They are not only beautiful and available in around 50 colourways but they are also wipeable. 
  • My collection of tablecloths from D’Ascoli, Rebecca Udall and Thyme of England
  • Finally anything from my collaboration with my daughter Alice Naylor-Leyland - I especially love the rattan water glasses 

Who would you use for a dream party?

I love throwing parties and I have used these companies countless times.

  1. Definitely invitations from Henrietta at Grosvenor Stationery. I don’t like anything too mad, a twist on traditional and the card stock should be almost thick enough to walk on - I think it sets the tone for your party.
  2. Lavender Green Flowers - I love their approach, style and flexibility to cater to a variety of personalities and tastes.
  3. Jenks & Co. Now I am not sure that I would enjoy this process but I would love the final result which you could treasure and enjoy for years - well my children could!

What are your top tips for styling a tablescape?

  1. Don’t feel that you have to spend a fortune on fresh flowers. I use a combination of fresh potted herbs, cut rosemary, green apples, lemons, limes, foliage from the garden and decorative ornaments.

  2. Layer, layer and layer is probably my biggest tip. I like to use a tablecloth followed by a placemat and finally one of my rattan chargers. I am guilty of over layering when it comes to plates - my children/guests complain constantly!!

  3. Tea lights are a great source of gentle candlelight. I have a huge collection and scatter them around the table - long life burning tea light candles well worth investing in.

  4. Keep a beady eye on on Ebay for original plates/china/ornaments and even fabric remnants for making up tablecloths as these pieces can turn you table into something a little more original and authentic. 

  5. Never scare your guests with an overdone table or they will never invite you back.

  6. If you want to go to a little more effort you can tie a ribbon around your napkin (The Ribbon Room) and place a rosemary stem, feather or fresh flower.

    A note from HOPP: To view & shop the beutiful collection from Serena's collaboration with her daughter Alice Naylor-Leyland please click HERE.

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    HOPP Team
    Written by our Team of HOPP Experts.