One afternoon I was out to lunch with a few lovely ladies from COMO Living, the magazine that I copy edit for. Before diving into that issue’s content, we were catching each other up on life happenings and the status of wedding plans. Michele Towns, whose daughter is getting married this May, and I were casually chatting about decor when we threw out the word “tablescape.” To me, tablescape is as common in my vocabulary as landscape, escape and even manscape, but it was obvious to me that others we weren’t following me.

Tablescape, or an artistic way of placing items on a table, is something that people usually think about for large gatherings, i.e. weddings, fundraisers and other banquets. However, even if you are organizing a small dinner party, putting thought into your tablescape can take your event to the next level even if your cooking doesn’t.

Let me explain. See this photo below?


Snoozefest. This is how I learned to set a table at the age of 6 as a way I could help my mom while she prepared dinner.

Now see this photo below?


Completely different, right? Simply by using a little practicality and layering, the table goes from blah to interesting. The tricks to executing a practical tablescape are simple. First, think about the menu itself. Are you serving a multi-course meal including soup, salad and the main course? If so, use dishes and silverware to expand your setting. I used my everyday dishes but stacked the soup bowl on top of the salad plate on top of the dinner plate. Break it up with a color-coordinated napkin, and you have yourself a gorgeous place setting. In addition to the dishes and silverware, I added a pop of texture and a contrasting color under the flower arrangement. It’s really a cheese board, which i flipped upside down and re-purposed as a tray.  Using things you have right in your home make this an easy and inexpensive project.

Now those are my tips for a low key dinner party. But how do you up the anty when hosting a holiday party or formal family gathering? It’s all in the details. Let me show you.


This Thanksgiving tablescape was created using warm colors that played off of the color scheme already in the kitchen. Pumpkin colored place mats and contrasting metals created a warm and welcoming table even without the food on it. I chose to use a decorative gold charger. I love chargers like Joanna Gaines loves ship lap. Whenever you can use them, do so. They completely transform a table! However, do note they take up more space on the table, especially on long banquet tables or farm tables, so they can take away from centerpieces.

image6For the centerpiece, I added in texture once again with the mercury-glass candlesticks and leather books. Books might seem a little strange to use as a centerpiece, but it broke up the metals and added a touch of comfort to the spread.

And the best part about this tablescape is we were able to use Ryan’s grandfather’s dishes, so not only do they match the holiday colors, it’s also a way for someone who is no longer here to be with us to celebrate with family.

Now it’s your turn. Show me your most beautiful tablescapes.

Happy designing!


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