The Art of Table Decorating

As 2020 brings ‘tablescaping’ to the forefront, discover our step by step guide to set for success.

Haven’t heard of tablescaping? You will do. Lockdown forced us not only to bring events into the home but to make the everyday extraordinary. As hashtags like #makeamealofit gathered momentum, a new art form developed. Setting the table became much more than just fancy napkins and dining etiquette. Instead tables were brought to life in increasingly elaborate fashions, using colour schemes, styling details and quirky accessories to add atmosphere and showcase creativity. Whether it's to unleash your competitive hosting, or simply for interiors inspo, find out how you too can take dinnertime to a whole new realm.


Focus your vision and creativity with a unifying theme or colour palette. If you are struggling for a starting point, think about what you are serving and what might work well with it. For example you can bring out the rich tones of Ottolenghi style food with an equally jewel-toned maximalist approach, while something more French and pared back (like a roast chicken) will pair well with rustic simplicity. Start with your tablecloth or placemats and work out from there.


Now you can layer the colour palette with complimentary additions. The key here is contrast, if you've gone bold with the base, opt for more neutral tones for the napkin holders and trays and visa versa if you've kept it light. Scalloped or swirl details can immediately upgrade a simple setting and provide just the pop of colour you need.



Everyone loves a showstopper, but keep it simple and use it to unify the rest of the table. The key is to get creative - a rustic woven bowl, for example, can be perfect to showcase the Mediterranean hues of strong lemons, pomegranates or oranges. Alternatively one of the Martha bowls looks fabulous with a tall orchid in, or snip the best homegrown additions from your garden and add to a smaller urn. All of which will provide a talking point that is utterly unique.



Unlike dinner parties of decades pasts, tablescaping is as much a chance to show your personal style as the food you have cooked. Add a personal touch through a handwritten menu, fans can be great addition for a hot summers day or simply showcase that quirky ornament. But remember less is more, too many trinkets can be overwhelming. Once the food is on the table, there must be room to feast!