Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Once you’re done tidying up your space, spend some time to set the dining table — it’s where your guests will be spending most of their time after all! We’ve got the lowdown on what you need, thanks to interior stylist Hong Henwood.

The founder of Affordable Style Files is no stranger to decorating her home and guests, and regularly hosts friends and family at home. The table decor pieces she cannot live without are nice table linen, a large centerpiece with beautiful blooms and gorgeous plates. “It’s all about presentation, so having a few of these pieces will always help!” 

Here are Hong’s top six tips to setting the table:

1. Table linen and napkins are a must as they instantly elevate the entire look. For that rustic, on-trend look, use natural linen and cloth napkins.
2. Anchor each guest’s space with a pretty placemat that complements the colour theme.
3. Bring your setting to life with different-coloured plates instead of just plain white ones.
4. Place cards add a personal touch, and they don’t have to be elaborate – simply get some fancy paper  and write or print your guests’ names.
5. Use an accent piece that helps bring out the theme – in this case, the large leaf below each plate.
6. Ground the look with a decorative centerpiece, like a vase or candles. 

We’ve got a video to help you out:

This article was first published on Singapore Women’s Weekly.

Prefer a more polished look?  Caroline Chin Geyler from furniture brand Arete Culture tells us how to create an elegant beach-inspired setting. Watch the 1-min video below or read the tutorial here.