Tablescaping 101: A How-To Guide to Curate Your Table’s Vibes

A table set for a dinner party surrounded with people serving themselves from food in green ceramic dishes and drinking from gold-rimmed cocktail glasses.

Tablescaping 101: A How-To Guide for Everything Aesthetic

Yes, your delish food is going to be the star of the show — but accessorizing can take your guests’ dining experience to a whole other level. Curate the vibes for your gatherings with the art of tablescaping. The best part? Although your friends will ooh and aah at your domestic engineering skills, it really only takes a few visual tricks to make your spread look like a shot from Chef’s Table.

With our step-by-step guide you can take a table of delectable dishes to a true edible experience (without any serious thinking on your part).  

A table set with shrimp tapas, turkey, and hummus on golden silverware and dishware.

Set the scene.

First thing’s first: channel your inner Bob Ross (skip the oil paints, though) and get the backdrop right by finding the perfect tablecloth for your tablescape. (We recommend using a tablecloth instead of a runner because it keeps things visually simple — and protects your table from scratches!) The tablecloth is the key piece to setting the scene for the rest of your spread, but don’t worry! It’s also the easiest to get right. You just need to trust yourself and pick a color, theme, or pattern you like. Go traditional with florals, all-out for a holiday, or even after your fave food. (Pasta themed table, anybody??) After you’ve got the tablecloth down, the rest of the table will all fall into place.

Match your florals.

Once you’ve chosen a tablecloth, the next biggest focal point on your table is a centerpiece. Since the table is a relatively small space to decorate, consistency is key to keeping it pleasing to the eye. One fool-proof way to keep your table from becoming a mish-mash of your favorite things is to make smaller arrangements to match the centerpiece! With these scattered around, it will bring the entire table together. You can apply this to any item you choose to feature (eucalyptus branches, autumn leaves, baby Bratz dolls, etc.), as long as you keep it consistent! Plus, what guest doesn’t want their own personal flower beside their plate? 

… But mismatch your dishware.

And if you match your flowers, this opens up worlds of mis-matching in your dishware. Mismatching your dishware is not only an easy way to disguise the fact you don’t actually have a full set of dishes, but it also keeps the table visually interesting that distinguishes it from looking too traditional. Keep it tight with a color palette based on the tablecloth and the flowers, but throw in a contrasting color for a punch up! Balling on a budget? Go thrifting for some statement pieces or give new life to grandma’s old faves for a classy touch.  

Table set with greenery, candles, and dishware.

Take your candles to new heights.

Does every table need candles? Although your guests will probably be wowed as much with or without, adding tapered candles to your table creates the visual idea that your table (and space) is much taller than it actually is (and also some quality mood lighting). Go the extra mile by opting for unscented, tapered candles to ensure the delicious smells of your dishes are the star of the show. You can also experiment with pillar candles for a different look, or even tea candles for a budget-friendly way to set the mood! Plus, it never hurts to hit the local thrift store candle holders to complete the look!

And remember: don’t get bogged down with making everything perfect. In the end, the main attraction is your friends (and you!) eating, drinking, and enjoying each other’s company — making it pretty is just the icing on the cake. Follow these tips (and your gut) and you’ll have the perfect vibes at your next get-together!

Does your gathering need another wow factor? Check out all our blogs for lifestyle and party tips. And don’t forget to follow us @zenb_life Facebook and Instagram to stay in the know on the latest tips, tricks, and fun facts you need to live a more plant-fueled, balanced life. 

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