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How To Create A Magical Tablescape

by Leila Vibert-Stokes

There is nothing more glorious than sitting down around a table for an evening of delicious food, delectable wine and wonderful company.  It is genuinely one of my favourite ways to while away an evening. 

So how do you create a table that is beautiful, inspiring and the perfect backdrop to a wonderful evening while also expressing your maximalist proclivities? With these tips to transform your dining tables and even your morning coffee set-up!

Pick one or two elements to focus on, and build from there

I can’t believe I am saying this, but too much of anything can be a bad thing! And while “more is more” is a wonderful adage, if every element on your table is screaming for attention, like a roaring herd of lions, nothing will get through over the din.  

Our eyes are built to see contrast, so having areas of calm to offset bold statements will enhance the overall effect. So choose what you want the focal point of your table to be: a magical floral centrepiece? A bold patterned tablecloth? An eclectic curation of candlesticks? 

Pick yours and go from there!

Choose a key colour palette and stick to it

In the same way as having too many statement pieces all together means that you don't know where to look, the same goes for your colour palette.  Be clear on your dominant and highlight colours and don't stray too far.

You can choose a few bold colours and offset them with neutrals, or you can go very bold with no neutral colours for an enveloping and luxe feel.

Contrast and layer textures to add interest

Texture is key for creating a beautifully layered table arrangement, bringing interest and contrast and letting the eye dance around from one object to another. Mix textiles with ceramics, glass, tableware and cutlery to create an interesting and eclectic mix, keeping some elements plain, some textured and some patterned. 

Lighting, Lighting, Lighting

Now while you can never guarantee having delightful sun speckled light dancing over your table, lighting is still absolutely key. 

Thinking about what lighting you have at hand will dictate your table styling. A sunny bright lunch on a summer day? Perfect for enhancing a bold, maximalist and colourful setting.  A ceiling lamp hung low over the table that gives off just the right amount of evening glow will be perfect for a relaxed, elegant affair. Or go dark and moody, turning off most of your lamps and only eating by candlelight. Just make sure to have some low candles or tea lights near your guest’s plates so they can actually see!

A table for dining, not just decoration

Unless this tablescape is simply an enjoyable exercise in styling, remember the practicalities! There is nothing worse than trying to talk to someone opposite you with a huge bunch of flowers blocking the view. 

Ask yourself how your guests are going to interact with your table design. Is there space for them to put down their glass without clashing into things?  Is there space for dishes to be placed on the table?  Is your moody and dark lighting making it impossible to see? Are there so many candles it has become a fire risk? 

A dinner is a moment of convivial joy, a time to connect and relax, to indulge in wonderful food, delicious wine and even better company. Your table should facilitate this, not hinder it.