Celebrated interior designer Bunny Williams is returning for the second time to grace The League Club’s annual Naples Tables fundraising luncheon. Williams will offer insights from her 56-year career and everyday experiences on both design and entertaining at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples on March 2 after the in-person event was dashed by the pandemic in 2021 and it was held virtually. This year’s theme is “The Goodness of Gathering.” Some 60 designers will create luscious tablescapes for the event that supports The League Club’s Community Trust Fund, which provides grants to local nonprofits. Williams also is a gardener, philanthropist, and the author of seven books, including her most recent, Love Affairs with Houses (2019), which goes behind the scenes of 15 houses she has decorated. “I speak at a lot of places, and I’m overwhelmed with the effort people make and their creativity. But Naples outdoes themselves,” she says. “I’m thrilled to be part of it again.”
NI: What makes decorating the table particularly important?
Williams: It shows you’ve made an effort. If someone comes to your house for dinner, if you put effort into the table, it makes your guest feel like they are being treated to something out of the ordinary. I often say the table is almost more important than the food; you can give them Chinese food from takeout. Some people will spend all their time in the kitchen. I spend my time on the table. It’s a gift to the guest. It makes them feel special.
What are a few small touches that go a long way?
This doesn’t have to be complicated. The Naples tables are stellar, but the average person probably isn’t going to do that. There are a lot of little touches. Lighting is certainly one. I love to add candlelight. Today there are wonderful, battery-operated LED lamps with little shades that last for 12 hours, as well as battery-operated votives. Candles are wonderful but they’re messy, and you have to clean them out. These make entertaining easier.
One of my favorite tips: It’s often what you put in the middle of the table. Look around your house for a collection of objects or fun things if you don’t have time to do a flower arrangement. I just did this a few weeks ago. I got my centerpiece from the grocery store: pomegranates, artichokes, and grapes. While I’m buying ingredients for dinner, I’m buying the centerpiece.
What will you impart at Naples Tables?
I will talk about interior design and give some of my tips for entertaining in your house—like eating in different spaces and using things you have around the house to make tablescapes. It’s a comprehensive talk on interior design and entertaining—how to make them beautiful but accessible and not daunting.