What is a Tablescape? 

A tablescape is a creative arrangement of decorative and functional items on a tabletop that conveys a specific theme, mood, or experience. Essentially, tablescaping is just an elevated version of setting the table. If you were ever tasked with setting the table at dinner parties as a child, chances are you’ve put together at least one tablescape, whether you meant to or not. Granted, it probably wasn’t all that elaborate back then, so we are here to show you how you can elevate your tablescape in time for the holidays.  

We all know how hectic the holidays can get, especially if you are the one doing all the cooking. That said, prioritizing good food during the holidays doesn’t mean you can’t spend some extra time to make your table look just as nice. With a little planning & creativity, you can put together a sophisticated and inviting table with even the smallest budget, or with objects you already have around the house.  

Why Create a Tablescape?  

Similar to how a wreath makes your home appear more inviting, a tablescape serves the same purpose for your dining area! Setting a tablescape conveys a sense of importance to any meal and makes the space more pleasant for your guests. Whether it may be for a special occasion or “just because,” a beautifully and thoughtfully designed table makes the meal feel special and shows your guests you care. So, if you are looking to design the perfect tablescape this holiday season but don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered.  

Guide to Tablescaping
1) Choose a Theme for Your Tablescape

The first step when designing a tablescape is to start with a theme. Sticking to a theme will help create the desired mood or evoke a specific emotion during the meal. When selecting a theme, it’s best to work from the inside out. Start with how you want the meal to feel. From there, you can determine which colors, patterns, textures, and styles will help you to achieve that feeling.  

Are you hosting a luxurious dinner party with your closest friends? Perhaps you’re going the casual route with a more intimate family gathering. Whatever mood you choose, how you portray it is completely up to you!  

2) Start With Your Tablescape's Base

After you’ve chosen a theme, you can move on to your tablescape’s base. The base is what will go on the table before anything else. This can consist of as many or as little items as you want, it’s up to you! Typically, a tablescape’s base will consist of a tablecloth, placemats, and/or a table runner. However, not all these items are completely necessary for every table. A tablecloth is great to include for a sophisticated and unified look, especially if you’re planning a more formal meal. If that’s not your style, you can ditch the tablecloth and opt for a more natural look with an exposed wooden table dressed up with placemats and a table runner. 

Before laying anything down, however, make sure your dining space is tidy and clean for your guests. If you struggle to keep your home particularly tidy around the holidays, see these 5 ways to declutter your home for the holidays 

3) Pick Your Dinnerware, Flatware, and Glasses

When selecting your dinnerware, flatware, and glasses, it probably goes without saying that you need to consider the actual meal, and the items you’ll need to serve it. Are you setting the table for a formal meal, with more plates and flatware? Or are you keeping it casual and minimal? Determining this will allow you to see how much room you have to create your tablescape. 

4) Design Your Table's Centerpiece

Now, for the fun part. Your table’s centerpiece can be as simple or extravagant as you want it to be. When designing your table’s centerpiece, a good rule of thumb is to take up a lot of visual space without taking up too much physical space. In other words, your centerpiece should be subtle enough to not overwhelm the space, but large enough to create a statement at your dining table. So, while the idea of a tall, gorgeous vase of flowers may be pretty in theory, it may not always be practical. Keeping your centerpiece short enough for your guests to see over will maintain the intimacy and conversation at your gathering. 

5) Bring Out the Unique Tablescape Items

When adding decorations, it is important to consider how the meal will be served. If the meal is family style, you will need to leave room for dishes in the center of the table. After there is nothing else left to add to the table, you can start to fill in the gaps with decorations! 

This step is arguably the most fun, because there are really no rules! This is where you can let your imagination run wild and let your personality shine! Add some candles to make your guests feel warm. You can add a vase of flowers in-between, arrange them in a bed of greenery, or just leave the candles to shine on their own. This is also a great time to integrate seasonal elements like pine, winter fruits and veggies, and dried florals to make your table feel festive and fresh. If you haven’t already, bring out the family heirlooms! Let the wedding China have its debut or play around with unique nameplates if you’re feeling up for it. You could even print some DIY menus to make it feel more like an event. If you’re feeling extra creative, check out these 5 winter crafts you can add to your tablescape! 

Now that you have everything you need to get started, the rest is up to you! For more holiday tablescape ideas and inspiration, visit our Holiday Tablescapes Pinterest board.  

If you’re looking for a new home to host your holiday gathering—we’d love to help you find the perfect spot for all the seasons to come. Give us a call at 866.730.0591 or visit SheaHomes.com to explore our new homes and communities. 

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