What Is a Tablescape?

By Soraia Martins August 19, 2021, 7:17 pm

Although the concept has been around for ages, tablescaping is a relatively new term, defined by many interior designers as the art of setting and decorating a table for a celebration or themed dinner party. More than that, a tablescape encompasses color schemes, styling details, even unusual accessories, and carries the ultimate purpose of stunning and inspiring guests.

Ceramic bowls on wooden dining room table Source: Toa Heftiba at Unsplash

Even if the first thing that comes to mind is a centerpiece for a wedding, for example, a tablescape is actually meant to elevate an entertaining experience by taking a trivial task and stepping it up a notch. Let’s find out what exactly a tablescape is, shall we?

How Tablescapes Came to Be

Flower centerpiece on set table Source: Annie Spratt at Unsplash

Legend has it that the term tablescape — an undeniable amalgamation of “table” and “landscape” — was coined in 2003 by television chef Sandra Lee. While many years have passed, and interior design and decoration styles have dramatically changed, tablescaping is only now taking off as a proper, set-in-stone title given to the art of dressing a dinner table with gusto.

A Sense of Harmony

Yellow fruit on white table cloth Source: Guillaume de Germain at Unsplash

You can start by picking a theme — a seasonal theme, like Christmas or a summer cocktail party, might just do the trick. If you are not sure about a specific theme, choosing a color palette can be second to none, as it will help you set up an idea of what style and objects you can bring together to plan your dream table. Think of two colors and go from there. You can always add more, but the main goal is to keep it balanced and aesthetically pleasing.

When you are creating your tablescape, think of adding some texture, too. You can do this by throwing some natural elements in the mix, like branches and foliage, or different fabrics (napkins, placemats, etc.). The combination of textures will give your tablescape a sense of harmony and asymmetrical charm.

Back To Basics

White ceramic plates with foliage and silver cutlery on a wooden table Source: Jordan Arnold at Unsplash

Consider everything a tablescape should include and start looking at what you have and can use to decorate your table. If you do need to go out and purchase a few things, choose versatile items you can use on different occasions. We’ll give you a hand with the basics:

  • Tablecloth, runner, or placing mats
  • Plates and bowls
  • Glasses and stemware
  • Napkins and silverware
  • Candles and candlesticks
  • Flowers

Table setting with plant on ceramic plate and linen towel Source: Toa Heftiba at Unsplash

Next, it is time to plan your design and take the first step, which is creating the centerpiece and arranging the dinnerware — just let your creativity flow!

Tip: When assembling the centerpiece, for which you can use flowers, candles, vases, and other multi-level items, don’t forget your guests must be able to see each other and chat.

Spread It Around

Sideboard with colorful pumpkins decoration Source: Annie Spratt at Unsplash

While tablescapes are primarily used to dress a dining table, they can be orchestrated for other surfaces in your home, such as dining room buffets, coffee tables, or mantles. Some of these can be more on the small-scale side, but they are all important pieces of art that can say a lot about your home’s personality and style, especially during holidays or seasonal occasions.


Dining table white floral plates on white towel and flowers Source: Annie Spratt at Unsplash

Trending all over social media, tablescaping combines style, balance, and all-around beauty. It will set your dinner party apart and likely create a unique atmosphere that is usually achieved at special events by professional decorators. However, a tablescape is as swiftly created as your imagination and budget allow, so don’t be afraid to take risks and present your guests with the dinner party they deserve.


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