A tablescape is a creative arrangement for a table that goes beyond a centerpiece. It is a sophisticated and fun way to dress up a room and elevate gatherings and occasions. Some tablescapes can be designed so that the dining experience is included, and some tablescapes can be purely decorative in order to make a room more festive. They don’t even have to be on a dining table. You can create one on a coffee table, a kitchen island, a fireplace mantle, or even on a raft floating around a pool. In any case, your guests will appreciate the time and effort you put into creating a special experience.

The Basics of Creating a Tablescape

The first step you want to take in creating a tablescape is to decide on your theme. It can be based on a holiday, a season, a movie, a country, or even a celebrity. The theme of your tablescape should fit with the occasion that you are hosting. If you are not creating it for an occasion but as a design element of a room, the theme should fit appropriately within that room.

One of the great things about tablescapes is that they can be created inexpensively just by using items that you already have around the house or the yard. Once you’ve decided on a theme for your tablescape, are feeling inspired and have cleaned off your table surface, you will want to start gathering your materials. Think about the color palette you plan to use. The basics you’ll want to start with include:

  • A base for your tablescape, such as a tablecloth, table runner, chargers or placemats
  • Dishes, glassware, silverware, napkins, serveware, and coasters
  • Candles, vases, flowers, branches and greenery (natural or artificial)
  • One larger unique item such as a lantern, a teapot, a basket, or a bird cage

You will want to give yourself a little time to go shopping if you do not have all the items you need on hand. If you are using fabric items, you’ll want to make sure they are laundered and free of wrinkles.

Gather Your Materials

When you are gathering your materials, consider the color, texture and other visual qualities of the items to be used. It can be appealing to combine different elements such as glass, metal, fabric and wood. Think about if you should include items such as marbles, rocks, or any kind of object that fits your theme. Also, look around the house for items you can repurpose, such as glass bottles or jars. Or you can just choose to go out and buy whatever you need at a store. You can generate some great ideas by browsing craft stores, dollar stores, and even thrift shops.

Set the Table

Start by placing your base, whether it is a table runner or placemats. This is when you want to think about creating layers. Layers are an essential element for any tablescape. For example, you might use a tablecloth, but you may want to build another layer on top of it with something such as leaves or flower petals. Think about contrasting and complementary colors, textures, shapes, sizes and surfaces.

Next, arrange the place settings (dishes, silverware, glasses, napkins) and keep in mind whatever else may need to fit on the table (serving platters, butter dish, gravy boat, soup bowls, etc.). This way you will know how much room will be left to use for decorating. If you are not including a dining experience for your tablescape, you will not need to set the table. Now is also a good opportunity to create more layers. Stack placemats on the tablecloth, then add a charger on top the placemat, then stack plates of different sizes on top of the charger.

Build a Centerpiece

Your centerpiece is the focal point of your tablescape so you will want it to be fabulous. Once you create your centerpiece, you can then build out from there, keeping in mind that you still want to build layers. Stack dishes, books, or cutting boards if you need help creating some height. There should be one standout object that serves as an anchor for the centerpiece. Then surround it with objects of varying heights so that there is some depth, rather than just a lonely old vase in the middle of the table. Candles are a great way to add depth because they come in so many shapes, colors and sizes. Just remember that your guests will still need to see each other around your centerpiece, so don’t make it too tall. As you continue to add items to your centerpiece, you will be able to determine what you are missing or if you simply have one too many objects in there.

Take Your Tablescape to the Next Level

There are plenty of things you can to do add more flair to your tablescape.

  • Design nametags or place cards for your guests.
  • Create favors for your guests to take home. These can include candy or cookies or small ornaments, depending on the occasion.
  • Find fancy or themed salt and pepper shakers.
  • Certain foods can work well in a tablescape, such as lemons or seasonal squash.
  • Use chair covers or ribbons for the chair backs.  
  • Toss around some confetti (just keep it off the plates).

Get Design Expertise

Tablescapes are a wonderful tool to dress up a room if you are showing a home. If you would like the help of an expert with decorating your model homes, rental properties, or vacation rentals, give us a call at 813-361-2079 or by clicking below.