Whether you’re hosting a holiday dinner or a shower to bless a new event, a tablescape can set the tone for your decor. Today’s post is a photo journal of how to create a tablescape yourself. Hint: It’s all about the layers.

How to Create a Tablescape for any Event

Tablescape Step 1 – The Foundation

Whether you choose to base your table design over a tablecloth or not is dictated by the style of the decor you’re choosing, as well as the formality of the event. It may also be inspired by the condition of your furniture. For this blog, I chose a plain white linen tablecloth. White tablecloths should be part of your must-have list, as you never know when you will need one. Know your table size and get the appropriate tablecloth for it. Be sure it’s centered, and it’s best if you press it as well (which I did not do for this post…).

How to Create a Tablescape for any Event
Step 1 – Foundation

Tablescape Step 2 – The Table Runner

Place your runner in the center of your table. It will ground your tablescape. For this demo I’m using a heavy gold beaded runner. If it’s a longer runner, check how it hangs off the ends of the table before committing.

How to Create a Tablescape for any Event
Step 2 – Add a table runner


Tablescape Step 3 – Add Placemats

Each placemat will help you define the areas within your table. As you can see in the photo below, once I set the placemats out, they were overlapping my table runner at each corner. I felt the best thing to do was to actually turn the runner sideways for this table.

How to Create a Tablescape for any Event
Step 3 – Add Placemats

Tablescape Step 4 – Complete the Base of Your Design

Next I added the base of my centerpiece that I’ll be putting together, as well as the large dinner plates. This would also be the time to add chargers if you’re using them.

How to Create a Tablescape for any Event
Step 4 – Build the Base

Tablescape Step 5 – Build the Centerpiece

For an event, your centerpiece should be the focal drama of your table. I’ve used a clear glass cake stand and have added 5 flameless pillar candles to it, so it’s acting as a pedestal. Hint: Go low or go high. You don’t want your centerpiece to block conversation, so either keep it below chin level or raise it up to be above eye level for those who will be seated.

How to Create a Tablescape for any Event
Step 5 – Build the Centerpiece

Tablescape Step 6 – Add the Glassware

Next I added the stemware to be used, although for a proper dinner setting it should be placed to the right, just above the knife. Forgive me, I was getting distracted snapping a photo between each addition. This is an opportunity to really be creative with a color palette, as wine & water glasses come in so many colors and patterns these days. I found these iridescent gold wine glasses and knew they’d bring more depth & sparkle to this tablescape.

How to Create a Tablescape for any Event
Step 6 – Add the Glassware

Tablescape Step 7 – Add the China & Napkin

If you’re using China… if not, your chosen dishware is fine. Now let me tell you – napkins & rings are another wonderful way to add flair to a table setting. There are hundreds of ways to display them. In this case, I folded them and placed the napkin directly on the dinner plate, and then set the salad plate on top of the napkin. Because of my color palette, I stayed with basic pearl white plates, but you can mix and match patterns to your heart’s content.

How to Create a Tablescape for any Event
Step 7 – Have fun with the napkin & plate style, color, and placement

Tablescape Step 8 – Enhance the Tabletop

So far our table looks pretty boring. A lot of white and gold. Add more flair and enhance the drama by piling on more decor. For this tablescape, I used four swags of “sugared” fruits in gold & silver. Two were curved, and sit around the base of the cake stand. Two were straight, and extend the centerpiece down each side of the table. I wanted a bit more of that extension, so groups of floral picks were used.

How to Create a Tablescape for any Event
Step 8 – Enhance Your Centerpiece

Tablescape Step 9 – Layer More Large Details

My table is supposed to be dramatic, so I wanted some height. I added two silver candleholders with pillar candles, the flatware, and a wrapped gift to my tablescape.

How to Create a Tablescape for any Event
Step 9 – Layer More Large Details

Tablescape Step 10 – Complete the Centerpiece

My flameless candles don’t feel anchored on the cake stand, so I added “jar filler” loosely to fill in those small gaps. My acrylic “gems” and “pearls” reflect light and make my centerpiece feel more complete.

How to Create a Tablescape for any Event
Step 10 – Complete the Centerpiece

Tablescape Step 11 – Add the Final Details

My plates look so boring, don’t they? I dug through a cabinet and found some votive holders and tea lights to add, then sprinkled handfuls of the “gems” on each plate to give it a more elegant, finished look. Look around your home for things you already own, or use something from the theme of your event to really make your place settings stand out.

How to Create a Tablescape for any Event
Step 11 – Complete each place setting. Photo by Chandler Ortiz.

Your Tablescape Is Now Complete!

By continuing to add as many layers of decor as you feel you need, you’ll build your tablescape in no time at all. Have fun thinking about your chandelier and other areas of the room as well. Now you’re ready to entertain in high style and be the hottest hostess in town. Have fun creating your Tablescapes. Here are a few more photos of this one once it was completed, you can enlarge any of them by clicking. Photos courtesy of Chandler Ortiz.


Struggling to Create a Tablescape?

You can see a few more of my table creations HERE, or contact me at (540) 271-2686 and let’s discuss having me do it for you.

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