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Good Tablescape

The Art of Tablescaping: Elevating Event Design with Stunning Table Settings

Tablescaping has always been one of my favourite aspects of event design. And in recent years, social media has become just as obsessed with the art of tablescaping as I am.

Here, I’ll share the tablescaping tips I’ve learned from the hundreds of events I’ve designed. Here are my favourite tablescape ideas to create a stylish event that your guests will remember.

9 Tablescape Ideas and Tips for 2024

1. Learn the Foundation of a Good Tablescape

First, it is essential to understand the basics of tablescaping. Here are the foundational elements of a good tablescape:

  • A high quality, neutral linen tablecloth or runner as a blank canvas
  • A placemat, the charger plate, the dining plate, and a top plate for each setting
  • Cutlery
  • High-quality linen napkins
  • Glassware

Once you set the foundation for your tablescape, you can work on the decor aspect.

Good Tablescape

2. Include Personalised Touches

I always like to incorporate personalised touches in event design, and the tablescape is an ideal opportunity. Handwritten place cards for guests are one of my favourite ways to create a personalised touch that leaves guests feeling appreciated and welcomed.

Personalised Touches

3. Embrace Colour with Accessories

My clients often mention that adding colour is one of the areas they struggle with most. I know it can be tough to decide a colour theme and figure out how to incorporate thoughtful bits of colour that are bright and appealing without being overwhelming.

It’s easy to go too neutral which may feel safe but can also come across as boring or lacking personality. Alternatively, too many pops of colour or poorly coordinated colour schemes can be loud and look cheap.

Here’s the failproof formula I rely on for creating a beautifully coloured tablescape:

  1. Star with a neutral, luxurious tablecloth in a nice crisp white or cream colour
  2. Next, add white or cream plates.
  3. Use this clean, elegant base as a backdrop you can easily elevate with pops of colour

Embrace Colour

Add bursts of colour with bright flowers, candles, foliage, placemats, or vibrant silk ribbons to tie candles together. The end result is a put together, thoughtful tablescape with just the right amount of colour and visual interest.

You May Also Like: Bold and Beautiful: Using Vibrant Colours in Event Design

4. Find the Ideal Balance

If you overdo the decorations, the table will appear chaotic and cluttered. It may also interfere with your guests’ ability to enjoy the meal if they feel like they’re going to knock a vase or candlestick over every time they reach for their drink or try to take a bite of food.

Balanced Tablescaping

Tablescaping is all about balance. Aim for thoughtful finishing touches that add personality and create visual appeal without going overboard.

5. Add Visual Interest With Varying Heights

Incorporating decor and accents of varying heights is one of the easiest ways to add visual interest to a table. For instance, use a mix of short and tall plants or bouquets or candles of different heights.

Tip: Always sit down and look across the table to make sure your decor won’t block your guests’ view of each other and make it difficult to interact.

6. Mix and Match Textures to Add Interest

Tablescaping with materials that are all similar may sound cohesive but it can end up feeling bland. Incorporate different textures in your design to avoid a one-dimensional aesthetic.

Decorate using a mix of materials and textures, such as plants, wood accents, linens, foliage, branches, and other intriguing elements.

Textures on table

7. Embrace Fruit as Part of Your Tablescape

Fruit as part of tablescaping is one of the biggest event design trends to expect in 2024. Along with adding a pop of colour, fruit adds texture, visual interest, and a pleasant fragrance to a tablescape.

Fruits that are in-season or complement the event theme will be the most popular. Lemons, limes, and oranges are probably the first fruits that come to mind as decor and they are certainly beautiful. However, expect to see other fruit as decor, such as chilies, grapes, and even tomatoes, strategically intertwined into tablescapes.

8. Don’t Forget the Lighting

So much focus goes on the table itself that lighting is a commonly missed consideration. The right lighting options can create a relaxing atmosphere, highlight your entrees, or set a certain mood for your event.

Candles are a popular choice for creating a welcoming, calming ambiance. However, they often require additional lighting to illuminate the table. Use tall glass candlesticks, tea lights, or lanterns spread across the table to create interesting, functional lighting.

9. Always Do a Practice Run

One of the biggest tablescape mistakes I see is planning and buying everything but skipping a practice run. Yes, it takes extra work to set everything up, but viewing the final set up is one of the most important steps in the process.

Once everything is displayed, it may appear cluttered, one-dimensional, or disappointing compared to how you envisioned it in your head. Perhaps the colours don’t work together how you’d hoped or maybe it needs more cohesion.

Finished tablescape

Here are the questions I recommend asking yourself to make sure the tablescape is complete:

  • Can each guest easily maneuver, reach for their glass or silverware, and eat comfortably?
  • Is it practical yet beautiful?
  • Does it look cluttered or crammed?
  • Does it look boring? Is it missing a visual element
  • Does it need more personality?
  • Are there finishing touches or accents the guest will remember?
  • Does it feel inviting?
  • Is the lighting adequate?

Note: Don’t leave the trial run for the day before. Try to do a practice setup at least several days to a week before the event. This ensures you can be deliberate and thoughtful with the design process rather than being stressed out by time constraints.

Overwhelmed? Leave the Tablescaping to Us!

Too busy planning other aspects of your special day? Or is design not your thing? M Event Hire is your bespoke style concept and management for weddings, baby showers, hen parties, fundraisers, product launches, corporate events, private parties, birthdays, and more.

You book the main components, such as the venue, caterer, and entertainment, and we’ll design a bespoke-style concept. From the tablescape, design, flowers, lighting, and furniture, we’ll handle all the planning, styling, and setup management for your big day.

Whatever your celebration is, get in touch with our team to get started planning your dream event and discuss your ideas.

Emma has worked as an event manager since 2012, executing some of the biggest, slickest and most glam productions on Perth’s social calendar. With a personal passion for interior styling and design, it was always the event styling that Emma loved most. Seeing guests walk in and whisper “Oh, wow!” under their breath—that’s what she lived for! Emma is also an avid supporter of various charities. In 2019 Emma launched DecAid to raise funds for the Starlight Children's Foundation. This event has since become one of Perth's best-known charity events. Following three successful events, it has raised over $320,000 for Starlight, and she is excited to be launching the event in Adelaide in 2024.