Inspirations of Simplicity

I am so excited to introduce myself to you. I am a foodie at heart and an interior designer by profession.  Design & Dine is a column where I share my love of food and how design inspires me to create dining experiences. I will share inspiration and tips from my over 20 years of design experience that you can easily do yourself. 

I am sure we can all agree that whether you are at home, your favorite local spot or in theambiance of gourmet dining, the way things look affects our overall experience.  This is where I believe design is essential to how we enjoy our dining experiences. When selecting home furnishings and accessories for my clients, I begin by seeking inspiration. The same is true when I am planning a special dinner party. I start by window shopping at my favorite design accessories showroom or museum exhibits.

D&D TIP: Seek Inspiration…Anywhere – Inspiration can be found anywhere and at anytime. Keep it simple – look for colors, shapes, and textures, even sounds and tastes in your everyday life for inspiration. The bright yellow of your child’s favorite toy, the shape of that beautiful automobile or the feel of your special silk tie – all can be the inspiration for your dining event.

I find the shape and color of wingback chairs inspiring. I got lucky this time. I found my theme colors from purple wingback chairs while shopping for my client. From these custom chairs I created my color scheme – purples, lilacs, periwinkle and lavender.

D&D TIP: Select What’s in Season – Get menu inspirations from your local farmer’s market.  The local farmers really like building relationships with their regulars. Think like a chef. Chefs let the market dictate their menu. Most local farmers will take advance orders and they usually throw in some extra goodies.

The whole farm-to-table consciousness can easily be adapted in your dining planning. Use your local farmer’s market to your advantage. When you pick up your orders, also pickup cherry blossom branches or large bunches of herbs that can used as tabletop scapes and decorations – one stop shopping. If you are like me, most of the time I am running behind schedule. So it’s important to keep it easy and simple.

D&D TIP: Table Top Scapes – If you still have not found inspiration and you are in a pinch, get food and decorations from the market. I go straight to produce and look for colors and texture.  Eggplant, orange peppers, big heads of lettuce, herbs, grapes, anything that you have a visceral reaction to. Put items in vases, jars or simply arrange in the center of the table. Voila.

I can’t say it enough, remember keep it easy and simple.  Incorporate your planning into your day-to-day lifestyle.  As long as you have fresh food, plenty of fine wine, even with butcher paper as a tablecloth and paper napkins, your guests will take care of the rest.  Simplicity at its best.

Learn more about me and my style by visiting my website

Have a design question? Feel free to ask me below as well as leave your comments.


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Phyllis has a unique combination of varied experience for over 20 years as an interior designer, a decade in the television and film industry, a writer, speaker, corporate IT professional and a former officer in the U.S. Air Force. She loves to share all her experiences from around the world and proven tools on living a balanced lifestyle independent of the economy.