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Tablescape Ideas: Setting The Mood for Every Occasion

What are good tablescape ideas?

Tablescape ideas are limited only by your imagination. Most simply put, a tablescape is the placement of items on a table to set the mood of your event or room. Remember when you were young and had to sit at the “kids table”? That card table that was still dusty and musty from hanging around in the garage or attic all year; Maybe someone threw a tablecloth on it, maybe not. Most people couldn’t wait to grow up and finally take their seat at the big table! Why? Not because the food tasted better, it was the same food, but because the table was usually decorated, and it just made you feel welcome and important. It’s the backdrop or the stage for your performance, the food.

Tablescape elements

Depending on the layout of your home the dining room is often one of the first things that people see when they walk in. Many chose to set the table like they are always expecting guest and some just decorate it to match the style of the room.  Once you have a theme and color palate it’s time to gather what is needed to put it all together:

Basic elements:

  1. Placemats, tablecloths, runner or any combination of these are the foundation.
  2. Dinnerware such as plates, bowls, napkins and silverware.
  3. Centerpieces like a bouquet of flowers, candles, or mirrors and lights.

Advanced Elements:

  1. Napkin rings
  2. Chargers
  3. Trays and trivets
  4. Coasters and cocktail napkins
  5. Place cards or Menus
  6. Party favors or event mementos

Designing your everyday tablescape 

A basic plain colored tablecloth can be the foundation to your design and then build from there, keeping in mind the feeling you want to create. You can put the plates and bowls on the table or just define each diner’s spot with a charger or placemat. Fresh cut flowers are beautiful and can add a decadent element of style to your tablescape but may not be practical to maintain for the everyday table. Vases with dried or plastic flowers, unscented candles or lights, and/or colored balls can really make a statement without having to change flowers every few days. Also items with strong smells can clash with the food you are serving and create an unpleasant sensory experience.

Designing your holiday or event tablescape

Picking your colors should come first, 2-3 is generally best but can be also supplemented with a pattern.  For example a Christmas color scheme might be gold, green and red but you can add more colors by choosing a serving tray like our Alpine getaway collection that adds just a touch of blue without looking like a box of crayons spilt on the table. Remember also that if you are choosing patterned items like these root vegetable collection, to not add multiple other patterns that create to much visual confusion. Pick basic colors that compliment and let the pattern be the focal point. If you need help picking a color scheme, coolors has a fun random generator that can spark inspiration and give complementing choices.

Carefully placed sprigs of clean dried pine and other foliage like cattails and heather add a nice seasonal element to the fall/winter themed tables. If you do decide to add fresh flowers be sure to choose an arrangement that does not add strong smells that will conflict with or overpower the food you are serving.

Why are tablescapes important?

They set the mood and send a message to your guest that they are welcome. It conveys that you care about how they enjoy the experience of the time y’all are about to spend together. Avoid focusing to much on a single element of the plan, make sure the food, the music, the activities and your tablescape all work together to create a magical occasion.