Chargers are to your place settings what a frame is to art. They enhance your tablescape and make even the simplest meal special. Chargers, also known as service plates, add interest to any table.
For those who consider cooking and feeding people a labor of love, the presentation, including the table, is part of that. Aren't chargers are for special occasions. They are, but they are also for everyday meals. If you are setting the table for a meal you invested your time and effort in, it deserves the honor of a charger to complete the experience, (even if it is just a weekday dinner for family).
What is the proper way to use a charger? Some say that only pre-entrée dishes... appetizers, soup, salad with bread, etc., are served on top of the charger, and the charger is removed when the entrée is served. Others keep the charger until the entrée is finished, then remove it before serving dessert. I say do whatever makes you happy.
Here are two non-negotiables to keep in mind when using chargers on your table. First, food is never placed on the charger itself. It is always on a plate or in a bowl that is then set on top of the charger. Second, your dessert plate or bowl is not served on top of a charger. Remove your charger before serving your dessert.
Chargers can be as casual or elegant as you like. They can be set on a bare table or on a tableecloth. If you want a multi-layered effect, use a placemat as well. There are innumerable choices for sale in every price range. Whether Walmart or Perigold, there's a charger for you.
Gold or silver adds a luxe feel to your table, as does a ruffled or ornately styled charger. Choose a beautiful shade of color if you really want to elevate the impact factor.
To keep it everyday casual or rustic, use pewter or wood chargers, or unconventional items like metal, woven or slate trays.
If you like a DIY, make a charming "charger" with greenery, twigs, or florals. A great idea for the Easter or the winter holidays!