The center space is your canvas, and the ends stay clear so there’s room to eat without moving everything.
Imperfect symmetry makes for a dramatic but not-too-formal view. Use a stately serving piece as a focal point and flank it with casually positioned candlesticks.
Matching pieces (like the tureen and the candlesticks here) can be cool rather than stuffy if you throw in something subtly off: The glass vases and spiky flowers honor the pale palette but say, “That’s right—I’m eclectic.”
A splash of pattern and texture (nubby or embroidered) gives solids a point of view. Cover just part of the table; exposing some wood adds richness to the scene.
To buy: Astier de Villate candlesticks, $197 each, and tureen, $306: johnderian.com for stores. Small Facet vase by Roost, $40; and large Facet vase by Roost, $73: velocityartanddesign.com.