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How to Create a Stunning Tablescape That Will Wow Your Guests

Are you looking to take your table setting to the next level for your next special occasion? Well, you're in luck! In this article, we will guide you through the process of creating a tablescape...

Are you looking to take your table setting to the next level for your next special occasion? Well, you're in luck! In this article, we will guide you through the process of creating a tablescape that will transform your table from ordinary to extraordinary. From selecting the perfect centerpiece to coordinating your color scheme and choosing the right table linens, we've got you covered with step-by-step instructions that will make your table the talk of the town.

Simple blue everyday tablescape with white flowers Image: Simple blue everyday tablescape with white flowers

Creating a Memorable Tablescape

Tablescapes are more than just a beautifully set table. They are a way to celebrate and create lasting memories. Whether you're hosting an intimate dinner party or a large holiday gathering, a well-curated tablescape can set the tone for a memorable occasion.

Over the years, I've shared many tablescapes, and in this post, I've collected my favorite tips and tricks to help you create your own stunning tablescape. So, let's dive in and unleash your creativity!

What is a Tablescape?

Before we get started, let's first define what a tablescape is. A tablescape is a combination of your table's centerpiece and place settings, or the overall decoration and landscape of your table setting. It's a way to bring together different elements and create a cohesive design that enhances the dining experience.

Vignette vs. Tablescape?

Some people consider vignettes and tablescapes to be the same thing, but I like to view them as separate decorating scenes. A vignette is typically a small tabletop decorating scene, while a tablescape is a larger dining table display that includes a centerpiece and place settings. So, you can think of a tablescape as potentially having multiple vignettes within it.

Why Should You Create a Tablescape?

Creating a tablescape is a way to elevate your entertaining experience and show your guests that you've put thought and care into the occasion. It doesn't have to be an expensive endeavor. Some of the most elegant tablescapes I've seen have been created using items found around the house or even flowers picked from the yard. It's all about the attention to detail and the atmosphere you create.

When Should You Create a Tablescape?

The beauty of a tablescape is that you can create one for any occasion. Whether it's a seasonal gathering, a holiday celebration, a birthday party, or simply a dinner with friends, a tablescape can add that extra touch of elegance and make the event feel extra special.

Where Do You Put the Food in a Tablescape?

This is a common question, especially for those who are new to the concept of tablescaping. Think of tablescapes as runway fashion. They can be a bit over the top and meant to inspire. While some tablescapes may not be practical for actually eating at, you can create a tablescape that incorporates food as part of the display. In fact, using food as decor is one of my favorite entertaining strategies.

For the purposes of this post, we'll focus on creating a tablescape that you can actually eat at. However, feel free to have fun and create one purely for decorative purposes as well. A clever trick is to decorate your tablescape for the season and then remove enough decor when it's time to place the delicious food.

How to Create a Tablescape Step-By-Step

Let's now walk through the step-by-step process of creating a tablescape that will leave your guests in awe.

1. Find Your Inspiration

The first step in creating a tablescape is finding inspiration. Look for ideas on Pinterest, Instagram, or even draw inspiration from the season, a holiday, a place, or a color/pattern that speaks to you. Keep an open mind, and let your creativity flow.

2. Consider Your Event

Take a moment to consider the details of your event. How many guests will you have? What will you be serving? If you're serving a large spread, make sure to leave enough room on the table for the dishes, or consider using a buffet-style counter for serving. These considerations will help you plan the layout of your tablescape.

3. Gather Your Materials

Once you have a vision for your tablescape, gather the materials you'll need. Start with the basics, such as dishes, silverware, glasses, napkins, and a runner or tablecloth. Then think about the decorative elements that will enhance the overall look, such as candlesticks, flowers, greenery, or seasonal elements like pumpkins or apples. Don't be afraid to mix and match items you already have, and be mindful of building a collection of versatile entertaining essentials.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Basics: dishes, silverware, charger plates, glasses, napkins, runner/tablecloth
  • Decor: candlesticks, candles, glassware, serveware
  • Flowers, branches, greenery: faux or natural materials foraged from your yard
  • Seasonal elements: pumpkins, apples, etc.

Early Fall Tablescape Image: Early Fall Tablescape

4. Start With a Clean and Uncluttered Surface

Before you begin assembling your tablescape, make sure your table surface is clean and uncluttered. This will provide a fresh canvas for your creative expression and help you visualize the final result.

5. Choose Your Base

The base of your tablescape sets the tone for the entire design. Choose a tablecloth, runner, or placemats that align with your theme or color scheme. If you're feeling adventurous, think outside the box and consider unique alternatives like kraft paper, blankets, or scarves. Whatever you choose, make sure to present it neatly, without wrinkles, to create a polished look.

6. Compile Your Centerpiece

Now it's time to create the centerpiece, which will be the focal point of your tablescape. Start by placing candlesticks, floral arrangements, and any serveware that needs to fit on the table. Vary the height of the decor throughout the tablescape, keeping in mind the conversation flow and the chandelier height.

Don't be afraid to play with texture and follow the design principle of threes. Add greens, long-stem flowers, or floral branches to fill any gaps and create visual interest. Consider scattering votive glasses in safe spots to break up the symmetry.

Create Your Place Settings

Next, let's focus on the place settings. Thoughtfully arrange your charger or placemat, plate, and additional items like napkins and utensils. Be creative with the presentation, using napkin rings or unique folding techniques. Adding a personal touch, like a sweet place tag or a small favor, can make your guests feel extra special.

Embellishments and Personalization

To take your tablescape to the next level, consider adding embellishments and personalization. Small favors or tokens can make your table especially memorable and fun. Get creative and think outside the box to surprise your guests with unique touches that reflect their personalities or the theme of the event.

Chair Decorations

If you want to go the extra mile, don't forget about chair decorations. Tie ribbons, lace sashes, or small wreaths to the back of the chairs to create a cohesive look throughout the dining area. This little detail adds an extra touch of elegance and completes the overall tablescape design.

Wreath chair decorations for Christmas tied with a blue ribbon Image: Wreath chair decorations for Christmas tied with a blue ribbon


Creating a stunning tablescape is all about elevating your dining experience and making your guests feel special. With the right materials, colors, and textures, you can transform an ordinary table into a work of art that sparks conversations and leaves a lasting impression.

So, next time you're hosting a celebratory gathering, take the time to create a tablescape that reflects your style and sets the atmosphere for a memorable evening. And remember to have fun and let your creativity shine!

I hope these tips and step-by-step instructions have inspired you to create your own beautiful tablescape. Share your creations on Instagram and don't forget to tag me @ninahendrickhome. I can't wait to see what you come up with!