My favorite ways to add interesting details to my tablescapes!
Setting the table for the first time can be overwhelming. While there are pretty elementary details—the positioning of your flatware, for example—there are also little nuances that you should be considering for an overall great guest experience (my personal pet peeve is when a centerpiece is too large that it blocks the person across from you).
Because setting a table is not a one-size-fits-all, there are limitless ways to add subtle and beautiful details to your table. Today, I’ll be sharing with you a few of my favorite things that add a more finished—and personalized—touch to my tablescapes. I’d love to know more about you, so let me know how you set your tables below!
Unique place cards
Creating unique place cards is an easy way to bring some personality to your table while also making guests feel more at ease. Having specific place settings for everyone can also help the mood of a larger party—it doesn’t leave anyone in that awkward position of deciding where to sit before the meal starts, and it is also a subtle way of ensuring that the conversation flows between certain guests.
Place cards are traditionally made out of folded pieces of paper, but nowadays you can create place cards out of anything and everything you can think of! Some of my favorites include fruits and vegetables, but you can also go the non-food route by using old toys, rocks, wreaths, and more. The sky’s the limit!
Use Thanksgiving as the perfect excuse to create lovely place settings like these pumpkin beauties! Instead of using plain mini pumpkins, try spray painting them in a gorgeous color to match some other detail on your tablescape, like the woven chargers in this example. This spray paint “hack” can work on the other parts of your table too—try painting over your centerpiece details to keep your table colors cohesive and monochromatic.
Go the extra hoppy mile for a perfect Easter tablescape with even more eggs! Besides writing your guests’ names in elegant calligraphy, don’t forget to use a special egg cup to keep your “cards” in place. Experiment with this idea and try using some colored eggs as well! There’s nothing better than a whimsical spring table filled with gorgeous pastel Easter eggs in a multitude of colors.
Too many layers of cloth and tableware can set your scape back by making it look stuffier and smaller than it really is. Likewise, having a heavy base on your table—like a dark velvet or a heavy silk—requires a lighter hand when it comes to setting the rest of your tablescape. After all, you wouldn’t want to overload your guests’ senses, would you?
On a more functional note, laying too many plates and bowls (and glasses) on your table can also impede the flow of the meal by not giving your guests enough space to enjoy it. I love thinking about my tablescapes as an accessory to the party and not the end goal. My guests’ happiness is my #1 priority when hosting a gathering, and setting a beautiful table is just one way to achieve that.
For my more casual tablescapes I usually stick to one or two layers of tableware (not including chargers). In the event that I do need three or more layers, I make sure to stick to plain white or mostly white plates, to keep the look from being too overwhelming.
Another great way to keep your table clean is by using no tablecloth at all (something my grandmother would recoil at). Gone are the days where the tablecloth was seen as an essential piece of the table, even for more formal events like weddings and the like! Now (and especially for the rustic look), having a bare table is in.
If you’re set on using more layers, there are still many other ways to keep your table looking clean! Play around with colors, textures, and patterns to achieve the look you’re going for. Summery blues, whites, and yellows look great together while still keeping your entire look fresh!
Pay attention to the materials you’re using as well. Linen tablecloths and table runners, or gauzy silk pieces, can add a lot of texture to your table without the extra bulk.
Match your details
I just love the look of a cohesive table, whether it’s because of a theme, a color, or a pattern. However, there are days when I don’t want to set a table that’s obviously too matchy-matchy, and so I stick to matching the small details on my table pieces. Gold rims on both my glasses and my plates or silver napkin rings that look perfect with my antique flatware? Swoon. This trick also works well on very plain tables to add a little visual interest that doesn’t detract from the overall simplicity of the setting.
I’ve mentioned it before, but napkin rings are one of my absolute favorite ways to add detail to my tables. Like having a variety of chargers, a napkin ring is cheap, easy-to-store, and can add a lot of look for such a small item.
Depending on my mood, I have a collection of napkin rings at my disposal. Some are whimsical and just a touch bit kitschy, but my favorite ones are timeless, traditional, and not too showy so that I can use them again and again without anyone noticing.
For someone starting a napkin ring collection, I suggest buying something easy and unobtrusive, like a set of silver napkin rings. Not only can you use it to match with your silverware, which is always a fabulous look, but you can also play around and match it to the details on your plates. I think the look above with the delicate silver leaf napkin rings and the silver leaf details on the plateware is just so elegant and fresh for the holidays!
Remember when I said that a bare table was in? I really meant it. I love the look of a plain wooden table and a matching piece from your tableware, like a rustic modern wooden bowl. If you don’t have any wooden plateware on hand, a set of wooden napkin rings can work just as well for a fraction of the price!
Did you know that I have a Pinterest board dedicated to tablescapes? Check it out and make sure to follow Scaping By on Pinterest right here.