October 21st, 2019 Life In Your Home

How to Create a Beautiful Tablescape for Your Dinner Parties

By Camryn Rabideau 3 minute read

Last updated on November 25th, 2019

Whether you’re a seasoned host or planning your first dinner party, it’s important to understand how to put together a cohesive tablescape. After all, a beautifully set table will be the backdrop for your gathering, setting the scene for all of the delicious food and memory-making to come.


What Is a Tablescape?

When you hear the term tablescape, you might think of a centerpiece for a wedding or other event; however, the term is a bit more all-encompassing. It refers to all of the elements of a table setting, from the plates, glasses, and utensils to the centerpieces and other decorations, which are usually arranged in an artistic manner.

Tablescapes can be simple and straightforward with just a few basic elements, or they can be incredibly complex and ornate.

Dining space with tablescape highlighted by focal plant and foliage
Whitewing at Whisper Ranch, Weston model in Queen Creek, AZ


Key Elements of Tablescapes

If you’re planning a dinner party, you’ll want to include the following key tablescaping elements in your setup:

  • A tablecloth, runner, or place mats
  • Plates, bowls, and other necessary dinnerware
  • Stemware
  • Utensils
  • Napkins
  • A centerpiece

To take your tablescape to the next level and make it more sophisticated, include a few additional pieces, such as:

  • Charger plates, which are large, non-functional plates that go underneath dinnerware as a decorative accent
  • Place cards for your guests
  • Napkin rings
  • Candles and other decorative accents
  • Chair decorations
Elegant dining space with dual chandeliers and tablescape that utilizes three identical plants and pots
Toll Brothers at Rolling Hills Country Club, Oligata model in Rolling Hill Estates, CA


How to Create a Professional-Grade Tablescape

There are certain design elements you need to take into account when designing a tablescape—otherwise, your spread may end up looking disjointed or unpolished.

Choose a Color Scheme

It’s important to have a color scheme for your tablescape. While you’ll want the pieces to complement each other, you don’t want them to match too perfectly. One easy option is to use different shades of a color, such as dark blue and light blue, on top of a neutral base color like white.

A more advanced option is to use an analogous color scheme, which includes three adjacent hues on a color wheel, like blue, blue-green, and green. You can also play around with online color-scheme generators to find interesting complementary color combinations.

When choosing a color scheme, make sure to take into account the color of the room, as well. If your room is yellow and you choose a red tablescape, for example, the walls may clash with the table setting.

Pay Attention to Scale

Your tablescape should be proportionate to the size of your table. Pay attention to centerpieces and other decorations, which can easily feel too big or too small.

If your display is too large, it can impede functionality, preventing people from being able to talk to each other, and if it’s too small, it may not feel substantial enough for the table, taking away from the overall aesthetic.

Contemporary dining room with sleek tablescape design
Toll Brothers at Verde River, Rio Verde model in Rio Verde, AZ


Include Interesting Textures

Texture is an important design element that brings added complexity and interest to a tablescape. If your materials are all similar, the display can often feel one-dimensional.

Look for wooden charger plates or a linen table runner, which will provide contrast from smooth plates and stemware. Alternatively, include branches or foliage as part of your centerpiece, which bring a natural element to the design.

If you need inspiration on how to incorporate texture into your tablescape, Pinterest has many beautiful examples of both simple and complex arrangements that you can recreate at home.

Modern dining space with rustic ambiance and charming tablescape
Regency at Glen Ellen – The Villa Collection, Farmington model in Millis, MA


Tablescape Ideas for Seasonal Parties

Many people opt to base their table designs around the current season. If you’re looking for seasonal tablescape ideas, here are some elements you may want to include: Spring: flowers like daffodils and tulips; pastel colors; gardening themes


Gingham fabrics; bright, saturated colors; fresh fruits; Mason jars


umpkins, apples, and gourds; warm, muted colors; colored foliage; harvest themes


White, silver, and gold color schemes; candles and holiday lights; pine tree foliage and pine cones

Luxe dining room featuring formal setting
Terracina at Flower Mound, Vinton model in Flower Mound, TX


With these guidelines, you’ll be able to create well-planned tablescapes that will set the stage for your upcoming dinner parties. Highlight the beauty of your home and give guests an aesthetically pleasing space to spend time as they socialize and eat.

Camryn Rabideau

written by

Camryn Rabideau is freelance writer specializing in fashion, beauty, home, smart technology and general lifestyle content. She holds a degree in fashion merchandising from the University of Rhode Island and jumps at any opportunity to combine her love for fashion and writing. Camryn is a regular contributor to popular media sites such as Martha Stewart, Food52, InStyle, Taste of Home, USA Today, Reviewed.com, The Spruce, Elite Daily and The Everygirl. She has also worked with several Fortune 500 companies to create engaging articles for their content marketing initiatives.

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