Tablescaping for Beginners

We are entering the season for entertaining. It starts with a Halloween party and doesn’t stop until the final dish is cleaned after a New Year’s gathering. A great way to take your party from everyday to next level is by incorporating a great tablescape. In case you don’t know, a tablescape is an artistic arrangement of articles on a table. It can be an intimidating project to start but we’ve gathered a few tips to help every newbie.

Where to Invest

You are going to want to invest in a few key foundational pieces like china, flatware, and wine glasses that you can use for place settings year-round. Choose pieces that aren’t too heavily patterned or colorful, so they can be used for any occasion. You can use these items as your base and bring them to life with different linens, florals, and decorative accents.

If you plan to also use these dishes as your everyday ware, getting stemless wine glasses are a great option. They are a great universal drinkware for both water and wine.

Where to Save

You don’t have to rush out and spend a lot of money to create a great tablescape. Take inspiration from pieces that you already own. Not only does this keep costs down, but it reduces the number of things you will need to store.

Don’t forget about your garden. Mother Nature provides us with great seasonal items that can bring seasonal life to your table. Use items that are thriving and vibrant no matter the season you are in. Items such as leaves, or pinecones make great place cards or place card holders. Use your imagination and see the fun ideas you can come up with. Not only will it save you money but make your tablescape uniquely yours. If you don’t have easy access to a garden, you can often find these items at the dollar store.


One of the most crucial parts of tablescaping is to layer your elements. An easy way to start is by choosing items of varying heights. The tallest piece should be your focal point. By making sure there is variation you add visual interest to the table. Selecting items of varying shapes and textures is a great start as well.


Draw some of your inspiration from the season. Let it spark your color palette and provide you with ideas on materials. You can even use the same themes for the rest of your decorations.

Preparing a Thanksgiving feast? Use beautiful oranges, yellows, and browns that mimic the fall leaves. Or if you are going for a more modern Christmas table, try utilizing some pine and pine cones and pairing them with a few metal candleholders for a clean look.


The focal point of your tablescape should be your centerpiece. Floral centerpieces are classic and almost always look great. To add some interest, put the flowers in a unique container that will draw even more attention. If you decide to use greenery to decorate the table, it should take up no more than one-third of the table.

A centerpiece doesn’t have to be floral though, it can be almost anything. A candle (unscented so it doesn’t affect the meal), a gourd, or even a vintage toy. You could even consider using all three. Odd numbers are known to be more appealing to the eye than even numbers.

Adding fairy lights is also an effective, and nonflammable, way to set the centerpiece apart from your other table decorations.

The one thing you don’t want to do when selecting a centerpiece, is to select something that is at eye level of your guests. Nothing stops conversation quicker than being forced to peer around a centerpiece. Ultimately, the evening is about the meal and comradery, not your centerpiece.

Save Space

Most importantly don’t forget to leave space on your table for the food and dishes. It is easy to get carried away with the look of the table and forget its primary use isn’t as a decoration but as a table to serve food on. Each guest needs about 24 inches of space to dine comfortably.

During the season of entertaining, it can be hard to set your party apart, but a great tablescape might just do the trick. By layering your design, taking inspiration from mother nature, and having a killer centerpiece you can be sure to have a beautiful table design.

Have a tablescape you are particularly proud of? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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