Setting the Table with

 Mieke ten Have

Magazine Editor turned Super Stylist Mieke ten Have welcomes Cabana to her home in Upstate New York, setting the table for an elegant summer luncheon. Mieke shares the tricks of her trade, from how to create atmosphere to her secrets for stand-out tables.



Stylist Mieke ten Have at home in New York, photographed by Brett Wood


Mieke ten Have is a prominent New York based decorator, interior stylist and creative consultant to an impressive, international clientele. As a former Home Editor of Vogue and Design Editor-at-Large of Elle Decor, she has contributed to numerous interior design magazines and authored books, including her highly anticipated upcoming release, Interiors Styled by Mieke ten Have.

Renowned for her in-demand eye and stylistic voice, informed by her editorial experience, she is a multi-hyphenate tastemaker. We are delighted to benefit from Mieke's expertise as she generously shares her tips and tricks for elegant, seasonal entertaining, and answers our most pressing questions, enabling even the most nervous or reluctant host to plan and entertain with panache this summer.


All Images © Brett Wood

Your go-to recipe when hosting at home?

Anything fresh and seasonal. For winter, I love the heavy stuff - a classic old school fondue or coq au vin. All kinds of salads and vegetable dishes in the warmer months - and lots of gazpacho!

Your go-to dessert when hosting at home?

Peaches grilled in butter with homemade whipped cream.  

Seated dinner or pre-dinner drinks party, what's your preference?

I love them both, but a seated dinner is much more fun simply for the sole purpose of setting a table. It’s the best part of collecting the decorative arts and objects – you get to actually use them instead of just looking at them. 



How do you make your tables stand out?

It is all about the mix of materials and colors you put on the table. A table is similar to a room – all of the same elements are at play to make something beautiful and compelling. I don’t think there is a shortcut to creating an interesting table – what makes something stand out, I think, is mixing collections of plates and glassware, and mixing the right patterns and colors together.

I rely on a large plate collection, which I have amassed (and hoarded) over the past 20 years, and I love to mix them together, as opposed to using only one service of china. I also often like having an element on the table that clashes a bit– nothing too perfect or pretty for me (also how I like my rooms).

Do you have any favorite color and pattern combinations?

I am a big fan of using contrasting and complementary color combinations and pattern scale to summon visual interest; this applies to not just table setting, but decorating as a whole. There has to be tension and conversation between elements otherwise it’s boring – and there’s nothing worse than boring!



How do you create atmosphere and mood when hosting at home?

Oversize floral or branch arrangements that play with scale and lots of lit candles can have a dramatic effect on any entertaining setting. 

Your favorite seasonal flowers to style your table with?

In spring through fall, there is nothing better than pulling some wild looking weeds from the earth and putting them on a formal table. The juxtaposition is always beautiful. Any version of Queen Anne’s Lace is my favorite. I like to “decapitate” a full faced flower, like a dahlia or peony, and lay it directly on the table in a low dish. I also like turning unexpected things into little vessels, like this set of demitasse cups I fitted with chicken wire to hold these leggy poppies. 

Any failsafe tips for the nervous or reluctant host?

Candlelight and a good, stocked bar go a long way! 

Three words you would use to describe your style?

Dynamic, colorful, collected.

Where do you source your inspiration from?

I find inspiration in everything and everywhere, from the mundane to the fantastic – the trick is to always have your eyes open. Architecture, nature, museums, books & magazines, flea markets, antique stores, traveling somewhere new – it all provides fodder for the eyes. It is everywhere and all around us constantly, one need only pay attention!  


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