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There’s two things getting me through lockdown at the moment: the daily growing rate of vaccinations, and equally as frequent fantasies of holding a dinner party once all this is over. Squashing as many people as possible (both in terms of legality and floor space) into my apartment is all I want.

Luckily, this is looking closer and closer: once NSW’s fully vaccinated population hits 70%, then we’ll be allowed to have five (!!!!) fully vaxxed people in our homes. Victoria, your lockdown is earmarked to end at the same vaccination rate. It’s happening people, we’re this close to opening back up! Which means: dinner parties, backyard BBQs, and most importantly, catching up with friends for something other than a picnic are close to being back on the cards.

So with that in mind, I spoke to Bed Threads’ founder Genevieve Rosen-Biller on how to create the kind of chic tablescape you keep seeing all over Instagram. Luckily, it doesn’t involve spending one million dollars, but rather making a few clever choices and getting the vibe right.

You probably know Bed Threads for their lush linen bedding, but the Sydney-based brand moved into tableware last year once they realised people were using their bed sheets as tablecloths. Since then, they’ve added place mats, napkins, glassware, plates, and everything you need to make a lush-worthy setting.

“What happened in lockdown was that people really finessed their home cooking,” Genevieve told PEDESTRIAN.TV. “It gave people opportunities to be more confident in cooking. Plus, there was some hesitancy to go to restaurants – before it wasn’t really a question, you’d always book a restaurant to go out with friends. Now we’re seeing a revival of the dinner party, furthering the popularity of tablescaping. People want to make your guests feel special when they come into your home.”

So how do you do that without breaking the bank because you spent your last $1400 on a set of crystal tumblers? The trick, Genevieve says, is to pick a colour palette and roll with it.

“My big trick to making it look really beautiful and cohesive and whimsical is to start with a colour palette and go with either cool or warm tones,” she said.

If you’re looking at the Bed Threads website, cool tones might be mixing a sage tablecloth with lavender napkins and some mauve glassware, or if it’s a warm colour palette, that might be pairing a rust or turmeric tablecloth with pink clay or terracotta napkins.

So what’s next?

Glassware

Mismatched, coloured glassware is where it’s at right now. (In fact, Gen tells me that the hand-blown Italian glassware they stock on Bed Threads sells out as soon as they get more in.) It’s like the pandemic pulled the pin in minimalism for good, and injected a little bit of playfulness back into our lives – or maybe the bold aesthetic favoured by people like Gustaf Westman and Flex Mami is just seeping out to the rest of us, and glassware is an easy way to dip your toe in the water. Either way, I’m into it. Gimme some 70s style orange vases and blue stemless wine glasses any day of the week.

A cheap and v. unique option is to hunt for a few pieces at your local Vinnies, but if that’s not available to you right now, then West Elm has these very cute tumblers for $8 each.

Plates

Personally, I’m obsessed with these colourful plates from In The Round, because who can be mad that I didn’t quite al dente the pasta when you’re serving it on something this cute, right? They retail for around $29 each, which means it’s a bit of a splurge to get enough for a dinner party, but hey – at least we’re not living in the “saving the good china for when the queen comes round” era anymore, right?

If you want to save, then I’m once again begging you to head to your local charity shop when lockdown is over and pick up someone’s grandmother’s old set, because they’ll probably be super cute and cheap as chips. (Plus: it’s sustainable!) If you need a cheap option and there’s nothing available second-hand, then good old trusty Kmart has you covered.

(And look, if you want to splurge – then Bed Threads has some stunning options, like this white porcelain one with a cute lil tomato pattern. I die.)

Flowers

You don’t have to drop $100 at your local florist. Personally I’m a huge fan of supermarket tulips – they’re usually around $15 or $20, give you around eight stems, and look just as stunning split between a few different vases. The trick here is to not ruin everyone’s view. You don’t want to have to be giving yourself a neck crick just to have a chat with your friend’s boyfriend about Bitcoin (ugh). Either keep your flowers below eye level or take them off the table once everyone’s sat down (and you have your Insta-worthy shot, obvs).

Literally cannot recommend supermarket tulips enough.

If you want to step it up a notch, colour-wise, Genevieve recommends going for a contrasting colour tone with the flowers (orange tulips with a sage tablecloth, for example). But if you want to really make a splash? Go purple.

“When we shoot purple florals, they stand out and make everything pop,” she said. You heard the expert.

Food

I cannot stress this enough: go simple. You know what’s actually stressful, besides trying to figure out how to ride your last remaining will to live through the rest of lockdown? Cooking a 14-step paella and greeting your guests with smelly prawn hands because you spent all afternoon wrangling with stubborn poo chutes. Just go for something simple – pasta, salads, and the holy combination: pasta salads. (My fave meal to cook for groups stress-free is this vodka pasta recipe. It’s so easy I once made it for a 10-person holiday dinner and didn’t cry once.) Also, get some fancy bread. And the nice olive oil. There, you’re done!