It matters not if you're hosting a party for twenty, or dinner for two...setting a pretty table (or counter, or coffee table, or tailgate...) makes the difference between ordinary and forgetable to sharing a moment in time.
Okay, that may be a tad bit dramatic, even for me.
But you know what I mean.
A pretty table setting can be as simple as using color coordinated plates and napkins, with a mason jar and a tea light candle. A theme makes it easy.
The most basic theme, to me at least, is to go with certain colors. Patriotic red, white and blue, harvest browns and rusts, summer-time pastels...I think that's why I adore white dishes do much. They work with anything.
Beyond colors, of course you can go with seasons or holidays, but I am a huge fan of thinking outside the typical placemat and napkin scenario.
Some ideas for you...
How's about a sofa picnic (or tailgate if you prefer to call it) with a blanket throw tossed on the coffee table, and a picnic basket propped open with all of the dinner goodies (fried chicken, coleslaw, strawberry shortcakes done in mason jars, a bottle of lemonade...)
A little romance never hurt anybody either....candles, in votive holders, and silver or crystal (or glass that looks like crystal!) in a sweet cluster on a vintage silver tray for a centerpiece, with glittered "You" and "Me" place cards tied with shimmery ribbon to your forks (or names of guests for larger parties)
Flowers in terracotta pots and garden tools from the dollar store make a fabulous summer look.
A pretty (and super cheap) winter felt scarf from a big box store makes a fabulous table runner....mittens from the dollar store make sweet utensil or napkin holders...
I have lots of place cards, some in frames, and many as tags. Most of them simply red, "You" and "Me"...which works great for any two of us anytime. It makes the table that much more charming and I think people feel a little more special.