Asian-influenced tabletops can have a variety of looks, from calm and serene to vibrant and exciting. The key to all of them is composition. Asian tabletops are all about balance, color, placement and the simplicity of the objects. Here are some ideas for setting various moods with Asian elements. Home and Garden Television
• Use deep reds and golden highlights to set an opulent Chinese-inspired tabletop. A gold platter with Chinese inscriptions adds drama when used as a charger under red lacquer plates, with the golden hues repeated in amber stemware. The centerpiece could be a small group of stone figures flanked by small bunches of red roses.
• For a serene mood, try a soothing muted green and move the party into the living room. Incorporate a coffee table for serving, and sit on pillows.
• Look for geometric shapes, unusual colors (from bright to muted), bamboo linens and place mats, and natural textures such as reed and silk that blend into a balanced presentation. Few elements are needed to get an Asian feel: Put glazed ceramic plates over bamboo place mats and use black iron lanterns for festive but simple centerpieces.
• A reproduction Chinese cabinet is a wonderful backdrop for a buffet table decorated with vegetation. Cabbage can overflow from a wrought-iron vase while miniature pineapples stand at attention underneath.
• Use plain rice in a tray with the plates set on top or in a vase with flowers or fresh vegetables. Or line an oblong wooden bowl with rice and place votive candles on top to use as the centerpiece.
• Wrap the outside of cylindrical glasses in plastic for protection, moisten spring roll wraps and drape them around the outside of each glass. Once dry, remove the wraps and place a votive holder inside.
• Place a seaweed wrap between each plate and charger for decoration. Moisten udon noodles and wrap them in a circle, to use as napkin rings once dry, and tie individual name cards to pears with raffia. Rest a pair of chopsticks on a tiny pepper next to each plate.