Go dark and moody, with an undone autumnal centerpiece and a liberal dose of gold. Almost everything on this table begs to be touched, down to the rich cotton-velvet tablecloth. Velvet may seem impractical as a dining surface, but cotton velvet is quite resilient—you can throw it in the washer and dryer. At the fabric store, ask for a piece 20 inches longer and 20 inches wider than your table; leave the edges raw or have them finished. To create the “spilled-out” (harmless) cornucopia here, cluster like vegetables in threes and fours and place a small pillar candle, safely behind glass, at either end of the display. Any fork looks dramatic against a black napkin, but brushed-gold flatware has an undeniable shock-and-awe effect. Gold-trimmed water glasses are a subtle touch by day, but once the candles are lit, they add significant sparkle. You can use white gilded china for this setting, too; the result will be brighter but still luxe.
To buy: Kin Zakura by Kenzo Takada Royal Limoges dinner plates, $185 each; and dessert plates, $165 each: michaelcfina.com. Festival dinner napkins (similar to those shown), $55 for four, sferra.com. Due Ice Oro flatware by Merpa, $148 for a five-piece place setting, lekkerhome.com. Southern Hemisphere Florentine Gold stemmed glasses by Marc Blackwell: Unfortunately this item is no longer available. For similar products, go to michaelcfina.com.