Tablescaping is the latest trend to take social media by storm…and we’re grabbing our wellies and dancing in the rain! The word represents the art of decorating a dining table to the standard that a fancy restaurant might, mirroring professionalism while creating the same kind of ambiance. Take the time to arrange your tableware, decorations, and accessories in an aesthetically-pleasing way, and reap the benefits.
For many, it’s a way to enhance the dining experience and make the occasion even more special. Maybe you’re too busy to dedicate an entire evening to your favourite restaurant. Or it could be that you’re struggling to find a babysitter. In these situations, tablescaping brings the restaurant to you.
Here’s the ultimate tablescaping guide to set you on the right path. Table for four?
Set the Scene
Firstly, take a good look at your dining table and the wider room to determine how best to set the scene. Your chosen colour scheme should complement the existing interiors. For example, if your walls are red, steer clear of using pastel tones as these will clash.
Next, you want to consider the occasion. If it’s a formal affair with colleagues, experiment with neutral colours such as beige, taupe, and grey. On the other hand, for a more relaxed occasion such as a birthday dinner with friends and family, a playful colour scheme might be best suited.
Table linens and napkins – To achieve that elegant, restaurant-like feel, start by laying down a clean, crisp tablecloth. Not only is it the foundation of a well-set table, but it also protects your furniture from any spills or stains. From there, fold and lay down your napkins. Personally, we find the water lily fold most impressive.
Setting the table with plates, glasses, and silverware – Carefully put down a dinner plate in the centre of each person’s space, with the smaller salad or starter plate placed on top. Set your utensils in the order they’re going to be used, and position the glassware to the right of the knives.
Use candles – This will help you create the warm, inviting atmosphere that’s expected at a special dinner. Use tall taper candles for a formal, sophisticated feel, and shorter candles or tealights for a more intimate and cosier atmosphere.
Add the finishing touches
“The details are not the details. They make the design.” Once you’ve set the scene and the main elements of the table have been set, finish your tablescaping with a few final touches – they make all the difference!
Flowers as centrepieces – No one is exempt from the joy that comes from being around nature. In the centre of your table, place a big bouquet of gorgeous flowers to enhance visual appeal, create a focal point, and help further enforce the special occasion. Roses on Valentine’s Day, daffodils at Spring, the birth flower of the birthday girl…
Textured elements such as placemats or coasters – Not only are placemats and coasters a practical component of tablescaping, but they also offer further opportunities to strengthen the beauty of your setting. Experiment with different materials, such as wicker, cork, or stone, to see what fits best, and don’t ignore the power of patterns and colours.
Personal and sentimental elements – Everybody likes to feel special, even dinner guests who have been dinner guests on multiple occasions. Adding personal touches is a simple way to improve your table setting while making your visitors feel valued. Design personalised name cards, create your own decorations, and use heirlooms or memory-evoking ornaments as decorations.
Use social media for further inspiration – On TikTok alone, #tablescape videos have racked up hundreds of thousands of views, with content creators providing inspiration for a range of occasions. Most notably, @macy.blackwell tablescaping videos has received more than 160,000 likes, and @farahjmerhi’s video over more than 150,000. Instagram is another platform that is serving up beautiful visual guidance.
Top tablescaping tips
Tablescaping is a marathon, not a sprint. As with anything in life, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different elements. You might not get it right the first time, and that’s okay! Here are some other factors to keep in mind:
- Keep the table balanced by ensuring that the components on the table are symmetrical and spaced evenly.
- Be careful not to clutter the table with all your wonderful ideas – less is more. Your guests need adequate space to enjoy their meal.
- Consider the space of your dining room, factoring in the size of the table and the number of guests that will be seated.
- Be creative and have fun with the process! Take inspiration from social media and online guides, but ultimately the result should reflect the tastes and interests of you and your guests.
- If you’re having a family party, carry the tablescaping experience into the following day by packing leftovers into lunch bags and including the folded napkins and name cards. Reminders of a fantastic evening!
Start your tablescaping experience today
Tablescaping is about so much more than just making the table look pretty – although that’s certainly a huge benefit! Taking the time to set your table in a restaurant-like manner also encourages conversation and social interaction among guests, can improve your mental health, and is a cost-effective way to enjoy good food and good company without having to leave your house.
By bringing the restaurant to you, you’re in complete control of the décor, atmosphere, music, lighting, and meal options. Tablescaping creates the ultimate dining experience and offers a type of flexibility that you’ll not find beyond your four walls.