Easter is one of those times of the year when you want your table to look a little special.

It's easy to give it that extra touch.

Start by giving some thought to the color or colors that you want to use.

Perhaps because this long winter finally seems to be ending, and feeling the need for something soft, gentle and soothing, I had in my mind a very soft pale pink. Try to limit yourself to using only two or three colors throughout the tablescape to keep the table from becoming too busy.

The very intricate details of the Venetian tablecloth (inherited from my Mother-in-law) grounds the table with the softness that I was seeking, and also allows little specs of pink to peek out.

I used a pink tablecloth underneath, but if you don't own a tablecloth in the color you are working with, don't despair. Be a little unconventional. Maybe you have a bed sheet in the right color or purchase a vinyl or paper table cloth instead of a fabric tablecloth.

Because you are covering the underlying tablecloth with lace or a tablecloth with cut work, you won't really notice the detail (or lack of it) of the underlying cloth all that will be seen are peeps of color. And don't be afraid to tape the sides of the underlying cloth under the table. Yes, tape as in scotch tape. My Venetian tablecloth has seen many years of love and doesn't square off anymore, so I tape up the sides of the pink base cloth up so they don't show on the sides.

I love layering and the effect it creates. Here, I was able to add an extra layer with placemats. The tablecloth and placemats are very different textures lace versus embroidered, but that lends interest.

Although the plates are white, and many shades of white at that, and don't scream Easter by themselves, when added to everything else, they fit into the Easter theme perfectly. Once again, I'm layering. Even if you're not having that many courses, it's OK to have an unused layer.

In my tablescape, the bottom and largest plate is a "charger." Although this charger is ceramic and can be used for food, chargers are more typically made of plastic, and are not designed to be used for food service, but rather to act as a background.

The pink footed plates are a new acquisition that I wanted to use in this scape. I love the height they give to each place setting. In order to give them an Easter flavor, I used them for the salad course, making the salad on each plate into a bird's nest and adding hard boiled eggs. You'll notice the shades of the hard boiled eggs are muted, like the rest of the shades of the tablescape.

I toyed with using either pink or clear glasses. I chose the clear glasses because their more elaborate finishes were more in keeping with the intricate details of the tablescape. Open up your cabinets. Are your great aunt's sherry glasses in the way back of your cabinet? Pull them out and dust them off. You probably forgot you even had them.

Your centerpiece needn't be a formal expensive floral piece created by a professional florist. I went to the grocery store with no particular flower in mind. I chose the roses because they were the same shade of soft pink that I was working with. The crystal basket, which I pulled from my china cabinet, continues the Easter theme.

If you look closely at the silverware you'll see that I've used two sets one set of sterling, complemented by my grandmother's pearl-handled knives. The white of the pearl handles adds to the sea of white. While I've used Grandmom Lillian's knives on many occasions before, this is the first time I realized that this "set" of pearl handled knives is really three sets.

Each set has a slightly different pattern on the band between the handle and blade. Even 80 years ago, they were mixing and matching.

I added an Easter element with a few touches. While none of the dishes in this tablescape are "Easter dishes." By adding the bunny napkin rings (purchased at Hobby Lobby) and some inexpensive small wreaths (purchased at The Christmas Tree Shop) around the glass candle "hurricanes," I give the table that little touch that pulls the Easter theme together.

I also love layering napkins. You may get a sideways glance from a family member as he or she pulls the napkins apart and wonder why there are two napkins (tell them the second is for dessert), but the layering really makes things more interesting. Once again the pink of the "inside" napkin is peeking through the crochet work of the "outside" napkin. And it's OK to mix and match tablecloths and napkins. The top tablecloth on this table doesn't have matching napkins.

Eyes will not focus on the differences in the textures of the tablecloth and the napkins the tablecloth is a very intricate lace. What the eyes will focus on instead is that the napkins, like the tablecloth, allow the pink to pop through. And you can't see it, but the napkins underneath are not solid pink, but actually a pink and white pattern they just show through pink. Things don't need to match perfectly to work.

Whether you're hosting a big Easter dinner or a small intimate brunch, the important thing is to enjoy yourself. And your company will enjoy themselves more if they see you're relaxed. When all is said and done, sit back and relax.

To see more of Alma's beautiful table settings, go to www.thetablescaper.com [2].