Dip Into Color with a Late
In the hands of designer, author, and entertaining expert Nathan Turner, a can of paint isn’t just for walls. Here, it’s the starting point for an exuberant centerpiece and a more-is-more tablescape.
Nathan Turner is a seasoned maximalist. His ability to mix adventurous combinations of color, pattern, and texture is showcased in his joyful table settings, layered interiors, and punchy wallpaper and textile collection at Wallshoppe. So what’s his secret for getting it all right? For this table, the answer is repetition.
“If you look at the table without the flowers, it’s almost all the same color scheme: green, blue, white,” he says. Even though it’s colorful, the consistency sets a quiet base on which the bright vases and flowers stand out. Each vase contains one type of flower in a single color. “Mixed bouquets would have gone too nuts,” Nathan says. “This color-blocking story is bold but fundamentally simple.”
The idea for this lush table setting started with what Nathan describes as an easy DIY project. “I saw these plain bisque vases, and I immediately wanted to dip them in paint,” he says. “Once I started, I couldn’t stop; it was so satisfying.” He knew he wanted to use them as a centerpiece, so he picked their colors to pair with his own collection of blue floral linens (available at wallshoppe.com).
Nathan approached the tablescape in stages. First, he did the setting (linens, plates, flatware, glassware), then he focused on the centerpiece of dipped vases and candleholders and flowers. To tie them together, he repeated shades of green and blue throughout, with splashes of hot pink for energy. A large fig leaf breaks up the white-on-white napkin and plate.
I'm definitely a maximalist—more is more. This table could make the same impact with half the stuff, but I love the drama of 'just keep going.'
To determine the palette for the vases and candleholders, Nathan says: “I took a paint deck and laid it on top of the tablecloth and picked colors I thought popped but didn’t compete.” Using each color on at least two vases or holders helps the mix feel coordinated and intentional. Varying the heights and shapes creates visual movement. “The mix of scale is really what makes the centerpiece so interesting,” he says. Vintage-inspired etched green glassware echoes the table's floral theme.
Look for unglazed pieces, often called “bisque” or “biscuit”; anything with a glaze or shine won’t hold the paint. Nathan found his on Etsy. Note: Bisque pieces are not watertight and might leak if left full of water for long periods. Especially for larger bouquets, place a glass inside the vase to hod the water.
Nathan used Farrow & Ball Dead Flat wall paint (in Emerald Green, Verdigris Green, Ultra Marine Blue, Dutch Orange, Lake Red, and Imperial Purple), but any flat-finish paint will work.
Dip pieces into the paint at varied angles and depths. For a scalloped line, dip at an angle multiple times, turning slightly for each dip.