A Rustic Table Setting for Autumnal Gatherings

Basic b**** alert, but I love autumn. It’s the New Englander in me that just goes gaga over every fallen crunchy leaf, cozy fireplace and crisp breeze of air. No pumpkin spice lattes for me, but I truly love the euphoric feeling about the season and the comforting hearty cooking that comes along with it. I’m already dreaming of warm moorish stews and apple everything (we are just going to ignore the fact that it’s 93 degrees right now in Dubai).

Along with the changes in the weather I like my tabletop to reflect the mood of the new season whether it be bright and colorful in the summer months or rich and moody in the winter. Autumn is all about the harvest and one of the easiest way to reflect that on your table is through a farm inspired tables setting. It’s all about going back to nature with rustic elements that channel a cozy farmhouse feel. The farm table setting allows you to get creative with everyday pantry items including fruits and vegetables that you usually have on-hand anyway. The table should be effortless, so don’t worry about having everything perfectly arranged. This abundant setting is perfect for an early evening dinner with dim lighting and plenty of candlelight to set the ambiance.

I’ve put together some tips to creating a rustic farm table setting that I hope will transport your guests to the countryside:

  • The table: It’s ideal if you already own a rustic wood long farm table to begin with; it’s the best surface that mimics the look and feel of a farmhouse. Of course that doesn’t mean you should go out and buy a whole new table, work with what you have. If your table is modern and doesn’t have an aged surface, a linen tablecloth will be your savior. Choose a muted beige or off-white raw linen tablecloth and cover the entire surface of the table, and voila your table is transformed. If you do have a rustic surface you can choose to keep it bare or place a raw linen runner across the table.


  • The produce: Dig around your pantry and fridge and pull out produce that you already have on hand. Keep it earthy, so tropical fruits are not ideal. Winter vegetables such as beets and carrots work great. Other produce that work well are: cabbage, beets, butternut squash, acorn squash, bundles of herbs, kale, pomegranate, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, artichoke, grapes, plums, apples, clementine, and pears. Grab whatever might be hiding way in the back of the fridge.


  • The greens: You will be using greens as a base for the setting. Dig around for any leaves and branches you can get your hands on, different types of sturdy lettuce leaves (chard, cabbage, kale) also work wonderfully. If you’re lucky enough to live around trees get your pruners out and get to clipping.

  • The method: To create the fruit & vegetable runner across your table, start with laying your greens and leaves down as the base across the table in two lines with at least a 25 centimeters gap between. Next begin building your fruits and vegetables on top of the greens in an effortless manner, avoid straight lines and let the pieces lean on each other in all different directions. Cutting the pomegranates and figs in half to expose the interiors is a nice touch. Let the herbs intertwine between the fruits and the grapes clumsily add volume. Nestle the apples, pears and plums in between the gaps. It should look like an abundant harvest of freshly picked fruits and vegetables across the table.

  • The place setting: Since the runner is dramatic enough, keep the place setting simple and minimal. Use plain ceramic, enamel or wooden plates and a rolled up linen napkin tied up with twine. You can use a piece of fruit or greens on top of each plate to bring the design full circle. Keep the cutlery basic with muted tones.




Styling by me.

Photography by: Tala Soubra. View her website here to see more beautiful work.


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