“There is something profoundly satisfying about sharing a meal. Eating together, breaking bread together, is one of the oldest and most fundamentally unifying of human experiences.”
- Author, Barbara Coloroso
Dinner or takeaway, brunches or afternoon tea, to share food with friends and family is one of many simple joys. Over recent years, a trend has sprung up around this activity: ‘Tablescapes’. Simply ‘the art of setting a table for a special occasion’. An ideal way to elevate your dining experience and draw focus to a certain event or time of year. Tablescapes allow you to get creative with your décor, and if you too enjoy setting the table for a dinner party, birthday celebration, or seasonal feast, then our guide will help you level up your table styling.
Inspiration for your Tablescape
Start by finding your inspiration. Consider the occasion you’re celebrating; Jubilee weekend? Easter lunch? Christmas party? Just a regular Saturday? Any good excuse to enjoy a glass of something special and a tasty feast! Starting with what you’re celebrating or the food you’ll be serving can help to define what colours, themes, and floral arrangements that might fit well with your event.
Explore Pinterest, Instagram and home and style magazines for inspiration. Or start with what you have – you love gingham and pastels? Then let that lead you.
Once you’ve got a solid idea of an overall feel, colour scheme, theme or aesthetic you’re looking to create, begin to build your design.
Top tip: Pick a word to encompass your tablescape and keep that in mind as you go about your design. Is it ‘vibrant’? ‘Glamorous’? ‘Whimsical’?
Start with your base
Your table is your true foundation. Identify the colour and texture of the surface – will you be adding a tablecloth? A runner? Perhaps just placemats? These elements will act as your base. We suggest opting for a neutral linen table runner, like our Natural Table Runner or Hazelton Table Runner, and textural jute placemats, like our Set of 4 Jute Placemats available in Natural or Black.
Top tip: If you have a round table, layer two tablecloths to create a lovely diagonal arrangement, or opt for a runner and placemats to protect your surface.
Layer with texture and colour
Playing around with texture is half the fun of a tablescape. Take soft linens and contrast them with sturdy stoneware. Use different materials to create different looks; rattan and jute placemats add a natural element, while marble ones add a touch of sophistication. Don’t forget your cutlery too. It doesn’t have to be classic silver; you can also play around with matt black or elegant gold.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match different sets of dishware too for your place settings. Whether stoneware, wood, enamel, ceramic, steel, or something else entirely, don’t let formal rules of using one set stop you from creating a dynamic and interesting display. Layer different plates on top of each other with different colours or materials. For a simple way to mix things up, pair both the Holwell Dinner Plate in White and Holwell Side Plate in Tarn Blue for elegant styling.
Napkins too are a big part of your place settings. Play around with different arrangements. You can find various napkin folding tutorials online to create an exciting focal point, but if you're not much into napkin origami, there are some simpler options. You can simply place cutlery over a folded napkin for a casual arrangement, tie a rustic-looking knot in the centre of your napkin, or arrange folded napkins between your placemat and dish for a ‘waterfall’ look that drapes over the edge of the table.
Experiment with colour
Add floral blooms to fit the season or theme of your display. You can use colourful bud vases too to impart a little charm to your table or group them to create a charming centrepiece. Our colourful nibble bowls are also a fun way to add vibrance to your design. Colour doesn’t have to mean bright reds or royal blues, it can also mean soft turmeric, light pastel blue, or touches of green from a leafy centrepiece.
Candles are also a brilliant way to level-up your tablescape. Whether smaller tealights dotted around the table, or a glorious dinner-light centrepiece to illuminate guests after the sun goes down, you can use candles perfectly for your needs and design-likes.
Glassware too is a fantastic option for adding your own twist. We offer a variety of coloured glass designs for tumblers, cocktail glasses, champagne flutes and more. Our ceramic linear tumblers in either Rosemary or Pink Gin are the ultimate spring-blossom touch!
Finally, our wreaths to hang above your table are the perfect alternative if you’re tight for surface space or want to be able to keep the centre clear for dishes brimming with food.
Top tip: Add interest by playing with height; tall candles, glasses, vases with flowers, and shorter features to create variety.
Now, enjoy welcoming your guests around the table to enjoy your gorgeous tablescape. You can find more of our tableware in our Kitchen collection, and vases and candles for creating a stunning centrepiece. We love to see our designs in your home, so if you do make a tablescape for your next celebration, tag us on Instagram @gardentrading and use the hashtag #mygardentrading to potentially be featured on our feed.