Valentine’s Day 2021: creative tablescaping ideas


Whether you’re spending it solo, with a partner or surrounded by family, there’s no denying that Valentine’s Day is going to feel a little different this year. One thing that remains unchanged, however, is an emphasis on elevated dining – be it a romantic supper or meal with flatmates made extra memorable with candles and flowers – and this is thankfully something that can be enjoyed just as much from the comfort of our homes. Lockdown has made us more grateful for the smallest of things in our daily lives and this rekindled appreciation will likely feed into our plans for the 14th – you don’t need a 5-star restaurant to have an amazing time. To give you some ideas on how to decorate your dining table, we challenged Carrie Santana da Silva, Fiona Leahy and Louise Roe to fashion a unique Valentine’s Day-themed tablescape, using only the Adam Lippes X OKA Coquille Collection and their creativity as a starting point. They each have different living circumstances and will be commemorating the event in their own special way, so we knew they could all bring something fresh and inspiring to the table. Here’s what they designed, along with their tips on celebrating at home.

Carrie Santana da Silva

For the founder of the successful blog and Instagram account WishWishWish, it’s all about keeping things simple but putting thought and consideration into the fine details. “Making a dinner at home feel special doesn’t take too much work,” says Carrie, who designed a beautiful table complete with a gingham cloth and bunches of tulips. She lists fancy crockery and placemats as some of her essentials, along with a printed-off menu for “the ultimate eat-at-home experience”. “Throw in a bit of soft music, a blouse with cuffs entirely inappropriate for a giant plate of spaghetti and you’re Valentine’s ready,” she adds.

Fiona Leahy

“Firstly, when I am dining alone, but alongside my loved ones on Zoom, if I can I send them the exact table setting (or parts of it) so that we are together in aesthetics – all the better,” says the event stylist, who is renowned for her enchanting, personalised table settings.

She says the “signature dark red edging and the scalloped borders on the Adam Lippes X OKA Collection china are whimsically romantic and perfect for Valentine’s.” She also singles out the Tarifa Linen Tablecloth amongst her Valentine’s picks: “it’s an instant mood enhancer and it’s the most perfect shade of red. It’s a much more sophisticated option than a brighter red which may be too obvious for an occasion like this.”

“My tip is to customise one thing to make it unique and special. For this look, I customised the linen hemstitched napkins with red sequin hearts and arrows. I love a bespoke moment on a table and embroidering initials or adding a badge or an element you can iron or sew elevates a napkin to a keepsake,” she says, painting a romantic picture of the look she created.

Moving on to the flowers in her tablescape, Fiona states: “when I’m entertaining myself at home, I don’t go crazy on flowers or big floral arrangements. I like a few blousy blooms like the roses here… so, I chose a couple of big roses in romantic soft shades and I opened them out by slowly peeling the outer edges, so they are looser and more open. I am a traditionalist, really, so for Valentine’s, I do like to embrace red and hearts and roses!”

Candles are, of course, synonymous with occasions such as Valentine’s Day. “You have to have candles! Even if dining solo or on Zoom, they create warmth, intimacy and glow. Here I used three candles in different sizes in pink and dark red. The one thing you can’t have too much of is candles. The pop of colour and the variety of height adds visual interest to the table and the very act of lighting candles makes a meal feel celebratory and special. Our lockdown lives are punctuated with these occasions right now so I like to fully embrace the meals and celebrations that I can,” she adds.

Her final piece of advice is to “keep it colourful, keep it light-hearted and have fun with it.” 

Louise Roe

This Valentine’s Day will be a family affair for presenter and journalist Louise – “Mackenzie, Honor and I having a cosy night in. I wanted to make an effort with the table and plan a tablescape that will make a family supper feel more special,” she says.

Candlelight and fresh flowers are some of her must-haves. “For Valentine’s Day, red has to feature somewhere but I didn’t want to overdo it with an entirely red table. I used burgundy candles and slightly paler poppies in old glass jam jars as the decoration.”

She wanted the subtle pink and red tones of the Coquille Plates and Bowls to be continued throughout the table. “Red with the crystal wine glasses from the same Adam Lippes Collection – and blue! I put some stuffed peppers, cornichons and olives into blue Kraak Bowls, and I love how the brown rattan napkin basket and rattan chargers ground everything, matching the dark oak of my dining table,” she says of the tablescape she decorated.

“Lastly, have fun with the napkins! I played around folding mine and perched them under the plates,” she adds.

You’ve got some inspiration on how to make your table look the part, which means it’s time to focus your attention on the menu. Now, we love a takeaway ­– if you can’t indulge in a guilty pleasure or two on Valentine’s Day, when can you? However, if cooking a meal is a big part of the day for you, why not dish up something you wouldn’t normally make? Set yourself a challenge with one of the many fun, inventive recipes available online.