"I want to show you there is great heart in setting the table." Whoopi Goldberg, actress and author of The Unqualified Hostess
Cloth placemats can be an elegant detail. You can use matching or coordinating cloth napkins. Or you can keep things more casual by using paper napkins, whatever makes things interesting. Aside from where to put the silverware, there are no rules when it comes to table decorations. As Whoopi says, "It's about fun, not perfection!"
Whoopi Goldberg's book The Unqualified Hostess was published in September 2019 but she sounds like she has been preparing to write it her whole life. Whoopi says she never knew what a knife rest was until recently but her mother insisted that she and her brother set the table for dinner every night. Her brother laid out a tablecloth. Whoopi put out cloth napkins and her Mom served the food.
Whoopi says that for years she didn't have time for entertaining, but now she does, and she loves it and really enjoys making nice table settings. Recently she discovered knife rests in a table decor store. Now, she is particularly proud of her collection of knife rests! She has at least ten sets, mostly vintage or antique. Whoopi has lost of fun table decor ideas and we are sure you do too!
Whoopi's book is filled with great ideas for table decor. She has chapters on Christmas table decorations, Thanksgiving table decor and table settings in general. Whoopi's thesis is that you can entertain with what you have on hand. She says it's ok to buy flowers at the corner bodega, or use kids toys as table decorations. Whoopi says: "Who is going to tell you it's wrong? Not me!