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Set a pretty table to make any meal special

Monica Barker of Tiger Lily Table (Facebook)
Mix and match the old with the new for a chic look. (Tiger Lily Table)

While sheltering in place due to the coronavirus, we may not be able to dine at our favorite restaurants, but we can still make our meals, whether they are home-cooked or takeout, look special, says Monica Barker of Tiger Lily Table Rentals in Tucson.

“Don’t save Granny’s china for special occasions,” Barker, a former private chef and caterer, advises. “Spoil yourself in as many ways as you can right now.”

Barker is a fan of the mix-and-match bohemian look for table settings, which is totally on trend. In fact, she started Tiger Lily Table Rentals after collecting vintage champagne glasses and plates for her 2018 wedding.

She also loves layered tablescapes. Think tablecloths, placemats, chargers. “It just brings a wow factor when you bring your plate to the table and you place it on a charger,” she says. “It feels like it’s a really fancy dinner, no matter what you make.”

Barker and her husband, Scott, have been enjoying takeout from local restaurants. “Take the time to plate it artfully,” she suggests. “We’ve all been out to restaurants; we know what it looks like to have a nice plate in front of us.”

“Fresh flowers are essential,” she adds. ‘It doesn’t have to be a big, expensive bouquet, but just something simple, in a pretty vase.”

And don’t forget candlelight for dinners, whether you use votives or candlesticks.

Since the pandemic, Barker says, many of her friends and family have been sending her photos of what they are cooking. “These are friends that I’ve never seen set a table once,” she says, mentioning a friend who recently showed her a beautiful place setting for one, with a little bouquet of flowers, and nice glass of wine. “I feel a little responsible, like I’m rubbing off on my friends and family. And it makes me feel really good.”

For more information and photos, visit Tiger Lily Table’s Facebook page.