How to Prepare Tablescapes


A well-styled table creates an inviting, festive atmosphere in a room or outdoor setting. Trust your color instincts, but use tableware and decorative elements that relate to each other to create balance and harmony with texture and color for a table that beckons with visual appeal.

Tablescape Elements

  • A table runner keeps your centerpiece elements in line with the center of the table while providing a base color for your scheme. Layered table linens create a formal look, but fewer linens evoke a casual feel, such as a table runner and placemats on a bare table, or a simple tablecloth by itself. A series of smaller flower arrangements that run the length of the table, keep the eye moving with repeating color and scale Balance the look with candles or candle holders in varying heights, shapes and sizes for interest and visual appeal. Glass cloches -- bell- or dome-shaped covers -- glass vases and bowls, cake stands, platters and tiered dessert stands create centerpieces of varying heights. Cut down on clutter by using only the necessary pieces of dinnerware, glassware and utensils at each place setting based on the menu's demands.

Color Harmony

  • A unified color scheme creates a pleasant, harmonious flow in a tablescape. Let the occasion, the season, the dinnerware, the table’s centerpiece, the theme or the food that’s being served be your inspiration. Tinted glassware that echoes the color of fresh flowers or fruit displayed in the centerpiece adds an elegant touch. Create contrast with complementary colors, such as green-aqua blue and coral, lilac and yellow or lime green and pink. Black and white makes a dramatic statement or go with an all-white, tone-on-tone table setting using clear crystal glassware, ivory table linens and creamy white tableware. Create a blue and white color scheme by using blue willow porcelain dinner ware and accents. Red and black or red and gold sets the tone for an Asian themed dinner.

Shabby and Rustic Themes

  • Mismatched floral patterns on dinnerware create an eclectic, shabby chic style table. Enhance this idea with a variety of delicate fresh flowers in canning jar vases, candles in white lattice lanterns or pillar candles on distressed wooden holders, all placed on a lace tablecloth or small floral print runner. Go rustic with burlap placemats, pinecones scattered along a burlap table runner and a log votive candleholder resting on a bed of evergreen sprigs. Add a few additional evergreen sprigs in water-filled champagne flutes for a fresh, pine scent.

Fall and Winter Themes

  • Seasonal produce found at your local grocer or farmers market provides an overabundance of tables cape decorating materials. Fall colors abound with miniature pumpkins, squash, gourds and Indian corn. Hollowed-out gourds and squash make interesting flower vases. Fill glass containers with walnuts, acorns and pecans and add a votive candle, slightly submerged among the nuts. Add cranberries and floating candles to a glass bowl filled halfway with water. White and silver create a frosty look on a winter table. Fill a few cloches with silver ball ornaments. Add a vase of branches with tiny silver balls or spray the branches white. Wrap silver ribbon around white stacked plates in each place setting, tying a bow so they resemble a present.

Spring and Summer Themes

  • Fill a spring-themed table with colorful tulips in small vases and scatter fresh berries along the runner. Use handwoven bird’s nests accented with small eggs or small birdcages filled with flowers as centerpiece decor. A vase full of cherry blossoms makes a lightly fragrant and delicate centerpiece. Use colorful pastel dinnerware or dainty floral patterns coordinated with tinted glassware. For a summer table, sliced citrus fruit such as oranges, lemons and limes make colorful embellishments in water filled vases topped with flowers, or you can leave the fruit whole and fill glass containers. Create a tropical feel with palm fronds or orchids in glass containers and raffia or bamboo runners and placemats. Garnish drinks with slices of orange, lemon, pineapple or a summer favorite like watermelon.

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