When Northern Virginia based prop stylist and event designer Rebecca Gallop co-hosted our Clarendon FEED supper, she styled a tablescape in a way that made the night all the more magical. We asked Rebecca what goes into her signature touch – and were lucky to have her share her go-to styling tips and sources of inspiration!
You list nature and history as two of your inspirations. How do you incorporate them into your work?
RG: I usually incorporate nature through my centerpieces and small details at each place setting. These add color and texture, and are usually seasonal.
I collect all sorts of vintages pieces for my tabletops. I love imagining how these bottles were used throughout their life, and am in awe of the fact that they’re functioning as beautiful decor for me, 50+ years after they were made! I use vintage linens, candlesticks, vases and interesting vessels for flowers and other little pieces as space allows.
For this LPQxFEED dinner, I was able to incorporate a lovely mix of local blooms including cascading green amaranthus, celosia, dahlias, oat grass and cosmos. The blooms were all displayed in vintage glass bottles from my personal collection.
Where else do you go for inspiration?
RG: I also really enjoy visiting hardware stores. The guys in the plumbing department of my local hardware store know me as the crazy lady who buys plumbing supplies for crafts and table decor! For this dinner, I picked up brass D-rings and used them as napkin rings. And, I used copper tubing and clamps to hang the photo backdrop. I walk through the hardware store aisles and imagine how I can use beautiful tools and supplies in my designs.
How did you find your signature style? How has it evolved over the years?
RG: I describe my style as eclectic minimalism. It’s taken a bit of refining and learning what works and what’s most useful on a tabletop. I like interesting details, but like to keep things as simple and functional as possible. I want my guests to feel like every detail was thought of, but I also want them to be comfortable and at ease at my tables.
What are your styling and entertaining tips?
RG: My number one styling and entertaining tip is use neutral dishes! You can literally take your table in any direction if you have white or neutral plates. And for other elements – like flowers, linens, napkins, paper goods – limit your color palette, which will help to keep everything unified and refined.
What makes a dinner or event successful to you?
I love seeing guests who arrived as strangers engaging in conversation and learning about each other. I love taking a step back and watching their interactions and laughter. A messy table is a beautiful reminder of a successful gathering.
What seasonal items are you loving for fall?
My favorite fall decor items are found right in nature: seed pods (like black eyed susan pods), wheat, grasses and thistles.
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