Wine and Dine in Style: 10 Table Decorating Tips


Ram Bucoy offers you to design your table according to your personality

STYLING PRO Ram Bucoy offers you to design your table according to your personality. —Kitty Bunag, Ram Bucoy.

I love the table decorations.

Table decorations are to food what shoes are to fashion. They set you apart.

In recent years, and especially during quarantine at the height of the pandemic, table decorating – an activity of artfully and decoratively setting themed tables for social events – has become very fashionable. In this new world where Instagram has infiltrated our lives and everything has to be IG-worthy, tablecaping has become so important.

So, let’s get some tips on how to make your table look sleek and close-up ready from interior stylist Ram Bucoy, who curated and executed the interior styling for 8 Rooms Creative Space and Shop/1335 at Karrivin Plaza, as well as for various shines in the subway. Here are his top 10 tips:

1. Don’t make your space look contrived or predictable

Ram is an advocate for following your heart. He does not like to be dictated by people or by concepts. Instead, he looks at a space, sees its potential, and moves on.

For his first piece of advice, he says don’t be afraid to have fun. “I do my best to avoid using white as a base color,” shares Ram. “Instead, I use pink and patterns, Kelly green or eggplant. It makes me happy and I make sure customers love it too.

2. Make your space, including your table decor, match your personality

As you strive to transform your dining room setting into your personal expression of taste, make sure it still feels like you. “My laid-back vibe and personal style on the clothes I wear matches the elegant yet accessible table settings I create and curate,” shares Ram.

It will also guide you in choosing pieces and expand your dinnerware collection. “When building your collection, don’t be afraid to explore different looks,” advises Ram.

3. You don’t need a formal design process

Ram itself has no “design process”. He simply selects based on “what feels and looks good”. So anything that feels good should be good. It’s your table, after all. Trust and love it.

4. Have a theme

A theme always helps to harmonize the whole look. “My whole gaze turns towards inhabited and collected,” Ram recalls. “I like things a little worn and rough, mixed in with something new to take it down a notch and make it more livable.”

You can also create your own theme. The hostess with the most Bella Yuchengco is the master at this and has a Japanese-themed setting when cooking Japanese, Italian for Italian food, and more. Ernie and Lourdes Fajardo of Maya Kitchen, who organize the best themed dinners, have a welcome cheese and appetizer table whose design changes with each season: from Chinese New Year to Christmas. But there is no need to change with the seasons if it seems too tedious to you. You can still keep it shabby chic all year round!

5. Incorporate a personal touch

Whether it’s your handwriting or the use of heirloom pieces, a personal touch adds poignancy and texture to your tabletop decor. “I love handwritten notes and fun place cards to personalize each seat for my guests. It makes everything look and feel more special,” observes Ram.

He adds that even the menus, which he calls “a good meal overview,” need to be personalized to create a more intimate setting.

6. Don’t be stiff

No matter how many Vs there are before your IP (very, very, very, very, very important person), that’s no reason to be boring. “I don’t like to do things that are too formal even if it’s a framework intended for a diplomat and a VIP,” admits Ram. You can be stylish without being stiff!

7. Be proper

However, not being stiff doesn’t mean being sloppy either. You should always follow basic protocol such as the types of glasses to use.

“For glasses, it doesn’t have to be matching,” Ram advises. “But they should be the right glasses for every drink, whether it’s wine, bubbly or a fun cocktail.”

8. When purchasing your tablescape, get a set of 12

Personally, I would start with a modest set of six, but Ram recommends going big or going home. He says, “For the playoffs, I make sure to get anything no lower than 12. You just have to be prepared. Twenty-four is a good number, especially when entertainment is part of your DNA. He’s right, though, because it would be so boring to have to smile awkwardly at that seventh guest and explain why his plate is white and not pottery like the others. He also suggests always having a charger, a main plate, a salad bowl and a soup bowl and a dessert bowl on hand. Ram adds, “They don’t have to match, but the colors should at least be consistent.”

9. Accessorize

Ram also stresses the importance of accessorizing your table. “Towels are also great accessories, especially when made with love like the sheets by Nicole Menchaca of @MaynilaStyle,” he shares. Other cute “accessories” would include a character salt and pepper shaker, napkin ring holders and flowers.

10. Build your collection

Making your table look pretty doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Ram is an expert when it comes to sourcing and offers this insider tip: “A great place to pick up high-quality plates if you’re on a budget is Japan Surplus on the subway. You will be surprised they are cheaper than most department stores!”

If you’re ready to start investing, we also have plenty of great potters whose works you can start collecting: Jon and Tessy Pettyjohn; Pablo Capati III or @paburopots on IG; and Aleth Ocampo or @alethocampo on IG.

Hope this inspires you to make your table pretty and IG ready. But remember that in the end, if your food is bland, your beautiful table decor won’t save your party. Remember where taste matters most. What’s on the plate is more important than the plate!

Good table decoration!

You can find interior stylist Ram Bucoy on IG at @casa_buddha.

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