What is a Tablescape?

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Tablescaping is the art and practice of beautifying the dining table in your own way.

Whether it be preparing the dinner table according to a specific event (maybe a wedding or a Japanese buffet or whatnot), setting a specific color scheme, or organizing for an overall theme, tablescaping is the creative art form. It allows you to flex your creative and design muscles to create the exact mood you’re going for.

How to create a picture-perfect tablescape is a long question.

Tablescaping is not literally limited to the table. It can extend throughout the room as well. Basically, the overall feel of the dining area. It can extend to the napkins, carpets, table cloth, tablescape centerpieces, chairs, and even placemats. Depending on how formal or casual of an event you’re hosting, placemats can be made of cloth, paper or plastic.

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You can create a tablescape with everyday items or special occasion items.

Before going overboard and splurging, we highly encourage using items from around your home. Maybe you have items around that have a special meaning or even trinkets and souvenirs from your travels that can serve the same purpose as an otherwise generic item at Target or Home Goods.

Dinner parties being so popular, maybe that brought you here. In this article, we will go through the art form, its best practices, and what you can apply in your own home or event space! We’ll tackle table setting, place setting, color scheme, and maybe even floral arrangements. If you find yourself stumped, try using items that are relevant to the meal or occasion.

What Is Tablescaping?

The word “tablescape” was introduced in the 1960s. Interior designer David Hicks coined the term. It’s a portmanteau of the words “table” and “landscape.” Prior to Mr. Hicks, the popularization of the word, tablescaping was just called “table setting.” Ultimately it’s just the perfect way of arranging place settings for special occasions or everyday meals and everything in between.

The Different Forms of Tablescaping

There are many ways and forms of tablescaping, but let’s dive into three major ones that are basically an umbrella for most other categories.

Decorative Tablescaping

As the term implies, decorative tablescapes focus on reaching the overall goal of an aesthetically pleasing dining area using decorative pieces. This means that you’ll be pulling out ornaments, carpets, centerpieces, and fine China!

Here are a few commonly used dining table decor ideas:

Place cards

Commonplace at weddings, place cards can be used for a simple dinner party too. Haven’t you appreciated a setting more just because they have place cards?

Contemporary art pieces/posters or Books!

This is easy to suggest because with all the art pieces available literally everywhere, there’s bound to be one that suits your taste or the room’s theme.

Centerpiece Floral Arrangements

Get creative with seasonal flowers and arrangements. Depending on the theme of the event, you can chose coordinated flowers in colors/textures, or even to help compliment the food of a dinner party!

Use Vases!

The great thing about vases is that they will almost always add texture and levels to your tablescape. Whether you choose a small and unassuming piece, a minimalistic one, or an absolutely stunning, over-the-top luxurious piece, it’ll get the job done!

Thrifting vases from your local second-hand store, or finding something like the below on Amazon can all serve the same goal of providing an ambiance for your guests.

Color Scheme for Tablescaping

This is, in a way, self-explanatory. Get a color palette or color guide you like and stick with it! Buy or decorate each piece according to the chosen color palette.

For example, if you choose red and gold as your color palette, then maybe you can use gold placemats or chargers, white plates, and red napkins.

The key here is to be strict and avoid the trap of something being pretty but not on the color theme, no matter how much you like that beautiful decorative table art piece but it is green and thus doesn’t go well with your Halloween table setting theme.

Pro tip: If you’re confused about what a color palette is or which one to choose, just Google “home color palette” or any variation of which and you’ll find a ton! You literally just have to pick one. There is also a color palette book that is sure to be helpful to you!

Suggestions for Tablescape Themes

Tablescape themes are basically just that, instead of basing your entire tablescape on a color scheme, you can design your dining area in accordance with a chosen theme.

There are a lot of tablescape theme ideas and here are a few:

Going Golden

If gold pieces have always caught your eye, then maybe this is the beautiful tablescape dining room table idea for you. Go for gold-coated or gold-plated cutlery. It doesn’t have to be genuine gold, of course. Choose gold rimmed wine glasses and light some candles to provide those natural elements and golden glow. The whole process should be fun, and create an intimate setting. .

Decorate Around the Centerpiece

For this tablescape idea, you choose the centerpiece before anything else. Say you choose a centerpiece that is colored gray. What you do next is to commit all small pieces of the table (spoons, forks, butter knives, etc.) to that color.

Next, find a complementary color to gray (white, black, or dark blue are some) and commit all large pieces (table, plates, bowls, etc.) in your tablescape to that color! Utilize table runners, napkin ring or linen napkins to create gorgeous tablescapes.

Choose Pretty Patterns!

Pretty patterns can be striking and inspiring. They can also be a fast and easy way to get to a budget designer tablescape.

Mix and match patterns (that complement each other) to create that next level tablescape.

Utilize tablecloths and napkins around your beautiful tablescape and make sure that these pieces of linen have patterns on them. You can either have the same patterns for all pieces or contrasting patterns. Keep it minimal, though. Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns for a more eclectic theme or feel.

What’s most important here is that the patterns must complement each other, and not put your entire piece in disarray. Simplicity is still key! Less is more.

Monochrome tablescape ideas!

Some people love to be filled with bright vibrant colors, and others love the most simple tablescape settings. Both of which are beautiful! However, especially for monochrome tablescape ideas, simplicity and consistency are the key strategies.

Typically, one could go for whites, grays, and blacks. Use white cloths, gray silverware, and black furniture (table, chair, chandelier, etc.) and call it a day!

But you can also include a neutral color theme. Introduce browns into the mix. Use chestnut browns mixed with caramel and maybe even beige.

As long as you choose a monochrome color palettes and stick with it, honestly, the sky is the limit!

Basic elements on a theme can make your table feel calm and minimalist. Add in some votive candles and string lights and your tablescape is check, done! As long as you choose a monochrome color palette and stick with it, honestly, the sky is the limit!

Combine Ordinary and Heirloom Items

You can create a tablescape with everyday items or special occasion items. When you think of a tablescape, it’s easy to imagine elaborate arrangements of expensive porcelain dishware, crystal glasses and silver flatware. But there’s no reason why you can’t create a beautiful tablescape with everyday items or special occasion items.

Here are some ways you can create a tablescape from things you already have laying around the house:

Use everyday items from around the home-classic glassware, silverware and dishes, candleholders that match your tablecloth or color scheme, and flowers in vases or pitchers on the dining table will add interest to an ordinary meal. Fresh flower arrangements, or even a faux plant in the center of the table can make a huge difference.

Or use special occasion dishes, a china pattern that has meaning for each family member or favorite pieces handed down through generations of relatives are both excellent choices for creating a mood at dinner time.

Photos of your family in heirloom frames can add to the ambiance and create a feeling of nostalgia.

Use things related to hobbies or interests a collection of wine bottles arranged by type (reds/whites) make great decorations if entertaining guests who love wine as much as you do! Depending on the theme you can incorporate anything that you’re not worried to get food or drinks spilled on (accidentally of course!)

Or try using items connected with hobbies such as baseball cards displayed in shadow boxes over the mantle instead of framed photos; collectibles like dolls displayed on shelves behind glass doors rather than framed prints hanging on walls.

Use things that have been collected from travels-framed photos of your travels; souvenir bowls; vases filled with colorful rocks or shells picked on vacation; pottery purchased in faraway markets will all contribute to creating an atmosphere appropriate for any meal occasion.

Consider using a dessert tray or tiered display as a centerpiece as well!

It’s All About Creating a Beautiful Dining Table for Entertaining

Tablescaping is an art form for many – it’s about making an inviting space for your guests to come together, eat and chat! Create a tablescape full of colors that make you happy!

The table should reflect your taste and style, so you can feel proud of it.

Your guests will appreciate that you’ve paid attention to detail when they see how special the way you’ve set up the table feels. Trust me, I know, and I’ve tried. It is ALWAYS noticed and complimented. Plus, I’ve often noticed that it really does affect the vibe in the room!

You can use almost anything for inspiration: an old wooden crate with flowers in it; some gourds you found at the farmer’s market; leaves from last fall’s maple tree; candles/candle holders that feel special to you.

The possibilities are endless! Just think about what will make your dining area feel warm and inviting when people walk in the door don’t be afraid to get creative! The best part is that tablescapes can fit any budget (and size) of home!

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