Nothing says autumn like rich, warm colors, and interior designer Betsy Speert’s approach to decorating makes the most of the seasonal palette. In this dining room, Betsy extracts deep jewel tones from the sumptuous paisley velvet that covers the walls, and she uses those colors as the driving force for a table that is luxurious but not overblown. Intense emerald, ruby, and amber hues leave no question that this intimate dinner party will glisten.
Betsy believes that visual harmony is the key to elegance. "There is a movement to mix things up and do something that is eclectic," she explains. "But eclectic doesn’t mean that just anything can go together. Here, the jewel tones work perfectly with the paisley."
A red-and-black china pattern with gold ornamentation also complements the colored stem-ware. The wood of the table is too beautiful to cover, so Betsy chooses simple linen placemats in soft gold rather than the standard tablecloth.
A sparkling crystal chandelier and formal tableware are usually accompanied by traditional floral arrangements. Instead, the designer flanks a boxwood-filled antique cachepot with large pieces of coral . The result: a statement that is striking in its simplicity.
Rich colors can get too dark if you don’t throw in some light and sparkle. Use brilliant, jewel-toned glassware that will add depth and reflect light. The layering of patterns on a table also adds interest.
I love finding beautiful jewelry at junk and antiques stores, but I don’t love to wear it," says Betsy Speert. "Incorporating collections into table schemes is a great way to display those finds that you wouldn’t use otherwise."
For this table, Betsy customized each setting by wrapping a beaded necklace around a cocktail napkin layered over a dinner napkin. The same could be done with jeweled vintage brooches or the elastic bracelets set with semiprecious stones that are now the rage.
Photography: Keller + Keller