How To Decorate Your Dinner Table - With Linens, Flowers, Plants and more

How to decorate a dinner table – with linens, ceramics, flowers and more

Be the hostess with the mostess with our top tips on how to style your table
The best way to set the mood for a party, dinner or event is by dressing up the table. After months of not being able to host parties at ALL, we are embracing the ability to do just that-- have guests over and get the table ready! 

It doesn't take much to know our way around pretty flowers and perfectly edited tablescapes in our line of work. I put together a how-to on how to create an atmosphere for an event by using your dining table as the focal point. And, I mean just like my interior designer, florist, artists, and a host of all the creative types do.  Whether it's a midweek meal, a holiday, or full-on, swanky dinner party, these tips are bound to kick your tablescape up a notch. 

USE A GOOD CENTERPIECE FOR YOUR TABLE

Photograph: Kim Branigan

(Our table with Whitewood Events in Athens, Georgia)

centerpiece ideas beyond flowers

​potted plants
candle clusters
fresh cut or potted herbs
a bowl of fruit and/or vegetables
a greenery garland

The biggest trick of the trade is creating a centerpiece for your dining room table. This is place that you can think outside of the box or vase, as we like to say. Yes, it can be an impressive floral display. However, it can also be candles, bud vases, a candelabra or fruits, vegetable for other objects are interesting, too. 

The great thing about the centerpiece is it can simply be changed to complement the occasion. 

Try styling for the season by placing a small platter of just-bloomed flowers or recently flowered bulbs instead. If you love a simple look, or are restricted with florals in winter months, look to thin boughs of eucalyptus and other foliage draped simply across the length of the table.

MAKE A FLOWER ARRANGEMENT FOR YOUR TABLE

Photograph: Julie Paisley

(Our table with R.S.V.P Event Designs, Swan House, Atlanta, Georgia)

 

The possibilities are endless when it comes to ways you can dress your dining table using flowers. To start simply choose a palette complementary to the vibe. I recommend matching the mood and tone and also the personality of the guests. For instance, I wouldn't break out my Japanese Ranunculus for my practically minded mom. But, now if my fancy friends are going to be there, well, then yes I sure would! 

At workshops I always tell people that (to me) informally arranged flowers and containers always look better than formal, more contrived designs. Arrangements that are seasonal and have a lot of movement fit on the table and look good. 

As a general rule, I make arrangements smaller than I think I need to. I use my elbow to finger tip trick. You need to be able to see over it to have a conversation. That means keep them less than 25 cm if they're directly in front of a guest. The old saying goes, the convo will flow if you keep it low. 

EMBRACING NATURE'S IMPERFECTIONS FOR  YOUR TABLE 

Photograph: Sarah Ingram

(Our Table At Crane Cottage at Jekyll Island, Georgia) 

For me, the goal is to always be authentic and honest and real. You want to aim to create a table display that is elegant and natural. Whether it's lunch for 120 people or table of four embrace the mess. Avoid too contrived and fussy. You can do this by considering unusual objects for containers like serving bowls, bud vases, silver cups, and stone urns and just fill them with ranunculus and roses in simple palettes then loosely thread them down the table. Keep in mind that dinnerware and pitchers and jugs need to be considered so often single item bud vases are just the trick since they can easily move around. 

Celebrate the season in your table design by allowing wilting plants or overblown flowers to show off. Don't throw away those broken stems or past their prime blooms. As flowers die they blow open and they aren't perfect - but that is exactly what I love about them. Tablescapes that embrace nature in all stages of life are my favorite. They give it more character and really dress it up. Plus this type of table aesthetic embraces organically and locally grown flowers, which I really love. 

 

DRESSING YOUR TABLE FOR AN OUTDOOR GARDEN PARTY

Photograph: Kelli Boyd

(Our Table With Whitewood Events, Forsyth Park, Savannah, Georgia)

 

Dining outside is the best in Paris, France and right here in Atlanta, Georgia. Alfresco dining is the way to go everywhere, in my opinion. In fact, it's the prefect place to add a touch of whimsy and have fun when dressing a dining table. 

Vase : Camden Chelsea White Marble Mercury Glass Ruffled Vase Set
(found here: www.colonialhouse.net

Yes, you can absolutely, easily go for the picnic look but there is no rule that says that you have to - so feel free to add color and personalty to your outside soiree. I find garden party table design liberating. This is a great place to embrace the season, like use mini succulents in votives or add touches of pastels in bud vases with matching linens. 

Napkin: Springfield Solid Stone Cloth Napkin Set by Park Hill Collection

When possible, look into casual cloth napkins. A set of neutral linen napkins are worth their weight in gold especially for dining garden-style alfresco. 

ADD A GARLAND FOR YOUR TABLE 

 

Photograph: Sarah Ingram

(Our Table With Whitewood Events at Five & Ten, Athens, Georgia)

A table garland is a quck an easy way to dress up a dining room. The garland can be thin or thick but it runs down the center of the table similar to a table runner, really. Platters and pitchers are sometimes placed along the garland so keep that in mind when you are choosing between big or minimal. . 

A table garland provides plenty of inspiration for styling your dining table, acting as a centre point for decor, centrepieces and candles.

DRESSING YOUR TABLE FOR A DINNER PARTY

Photograph: Corbin Curkin

(Ariella Floral Workshop, Cannon Greene, Charleston, South Carolina )

It's natural to have flatware, cutlery and glasses. It's the details and special touches that make the dinner table feel special and warm. I think it's easiest to start with a color palette that you want to use across the whole theme including the flowers, napkins, candles and glasses. 

Menus and place cards are a detail that adds a sense of time and place and seasonality. It elevates the tone and takes the space to a whole new level. 

“The table is a place to play and to tell your story,” says Rosh Mahtani, the founder of the London-based jewelry line Alighieri. I believe it is true: tables are the center of everything. They're otherworldly and a place to really tell your story so bring in the old and the new. I love dinner tables!

Get more tablescaping ideas when you shop our shop for centerpiece flower vases, and plant pots, lighting and linens. Tell your story. And, as my grandmother always said, "take lots of pictures!" Be sure to share them with us on Instagram and Facebook. 

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