Whether you’re a seasoned host or planning your first dinner party, it’s helpful to know how to put together a cohesive tablescape. A beautifully set table will provide the perfect backdrop for your gathering, and set the scene for all 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 – all arranged in an artistic, visually-appealing manner.
Tablescapes can be simple and straightforward with just a few basic elements, or they can be incredibly complex and ornate.
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
- 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
- Menus at each place setting highlighting the evening’s fare
- Napkin rings
- Candles and other decorative accents
- Elegant party favors
- Chair decorations
How to Create a Professional-Looking Tablescape
There are certain essential design elements to take into account when creating an Instagram-worthy tablescape.
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. You don’t want the walls to 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.
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.
Tablescape Ideas for Seasonal Parties
Many people choose to base their tablescape designs around the current season. If you’re looking for seasonal tablescape ideas, here are some elements you may want to include:
Pumpkins, 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
Fresh flowers such as daffodils and tulips; pastel colors; gardening themes
Gingham fabrics; bright, saturated colors; fresh fruits; mason jars
Carry Your Tablescape Décor Throughout Your Home
When planning your tablescape, don’t forget to envision the rest of the spaces in your home. Carry elements of your table setting onto the kitchen island or other serving and staging spaces. Or plan post-dinner drinks and desserts by firelight in your outdoor living area, incorporating your tablescape aesthetic into that space as well for a cohesive indoor-outdoor experience.
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 provide guests with an aesthetically pleasing space to spend time as they socialize and enjoy.