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Let your holiday table sparkle

This week I take a practical approach to decorating with cleanliness andshine; making sure that all your treasured tabletop and bar items looktheir very best after a long year of storage in the china cabinet.

This week I take a practical approach to decorating with cleanliness and shine; making sure that all your treasured tabletop and bar items look their very best after a long year of storage in the china cabinet.

With a bit of technology and a few old-fashioned tips, you can release your inner butler and create tabletops that sparkle, shine and gleam!

Cleaning:

For the little time that it takes to polish up your glass and metals, you’ll sit at the table with pride as your guests compliment how great everything looks.

I like to set the table completely, then go around and polish everything one final time. I suggest sitting in each guest’s chair to do the polishing at each setting — you’ll be surprised at what you see from each guest’s perspective.

Here’s an old-time method to remove timeworn tarnish from your silver treasures: Line a plastic basin with aluminum foil, shiny side up.

Place the tarnished flatware inside. Make sure all pieces are contacting the foil. Sprinkle in a 1/4 cup of baking soda and pour in 16 cups of boiling water.

Stir and let the silver soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the silver. Rinse, and buff with a clean, soft cloth.

Wear cotton gloves when setting the table; it’s the simplest way to guarantee no fingerprints are left on dishes, cutlery and crystal.

Silver items that are stored out of sight can also be kept in Ziploc bags to stop tarnishing.

Wrapping silverware in dark blue tissue paper will also keep it from tarnishing (so says my grandmother).

Protecting:

There is nothing worse than going to set a table and discovering that one of the stacked dinner plates is cracked.

You no longer have a full set to use and you are without the proper amount of required table settings.

The best way to keep your dishes, silver, crystal and flatware protected is to care for them properly.

Do not stack more than eight china plates or bowls on top of another to avoid too much pressure on bottom plates.

Some home goods stores sell storage bags specifically designed to store china.

These are typically cloth or plastic bags, felt-lined and closed with zippers.

Sheets of felt can be purchased at fabric and craft stores, and placed between fine dishes to keep them protected.