A white wooden dining table dressed with a white table cloth, green foliage and blue bowls

How to create a tablescape

The hashtag #tablescape has racked up nearly two million posts on Instagram. Over on TikTok, #tablescape videos have chalked up a whopping 168million views. So if social media trends are your thing, then it’s definitely time to learn how to create a tablescape to impress your dinner party guests – and your followers.

What is a tablescape?

First up, what is tablescaping? Quite simply, tablescaping elevates setting the dinner table to an art form. It goes way beyond placemats and a candelabra, bringing in layers of table runners, place mats and ceramics, embellished with plenty of seasonal flora, perfect party favours, fairy lights and even overhead decor suspended from the ceiling or from elaborate table clamps.

Ready to learn how to tablescape? Lucy Ward, Creative Brand Direct of Trouva, the online destination for stylish boutiques and champion of design-led homeware brands, reveals her top table dressing tips, brought to life with beautiful tablescape imagery styled by author and cook Anna Barnett. 

Master the art of layering

When creating a simple table setting, use layers to create visual interest. Add height and texture to the dining table by layering dinner and side plates, bowls and napkins. Layering place settings by stacking crockery and napkins gives depth to your tablescape and creates a contemporary look.

Picture of a dining table dressed with a white table cloth, stacked white plates and a blue bowl -trouva-living-room-goodhomesmagazine.com

Photo: Trouva

Flowers, foliage and more

The traditional table centrepiece doesn’t cut it among tablescaping aficionados. For one, a centrepiece is quite obstructive – not being able to see guests sitting opposite you makes dinner party conversation difficult. Instead, go for low, long floral arrangements that extend the length of the table.

But it doesn’t have to be flowers: ‘Dress your table with seasonal produce like artichoke heads, pears and lemons which make for fantastic alternative decor,’ says Lucy. ‘Trail across your dining table for a modern, pared-down look.’

Or you could simply let the food do the talking: ‘Create a show-stopping edible centrepiece like an elegant pavlova or a seasonal cake for a truly Instagrammable table display,’ says Lucy. ‘You can even use foliage to decorate your dessert to let it truly be the star of the show.’

A table setting with scattered green foliage, white plates, blue bowls -trouva-living-room-goodhomesmagazine.com

Photo: Trouva

Mismatched plates

‘Create that wow-factor by mixing and matching your dinner plates, side plates and bowls instead of sticking to traditional matching sets,’ says Lucy. ‘This adds variety and interest to your table and allows you to showcase a breadth of different ceramic styles.

‘Though the rules are few and far between, I recommend keeping the rest of the elements on your table, like cutlery and glassware, consistent to avoid overloading your table with different styles.’

A tablescape with an alternative, white cake centrepiece -trouva-living-room-goodhomesmagazine.com

Photo: Trouva

Get the basics right

Not sure where all your knives and forks should go? Whether your side plate sits on the left or right? Or what to do with wine and water glasses? Check out etiquette authority Debrett’s guide to laying the table…


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