A pretty table should not just be for holidays and special occasions. Imagine that it is the end of an ordinary, busy day and you are talking and laughing with your family around a pretty table. Sounds great but is it realistic? Yes it really is! Many of us have good intentions to sit at the dining table as a family but life takes over and it just doesn’t happen. I’m going to help you get started creating a pretty table to gather around because I believe that gathering around the table is the secret to a healthy family.
The nice thing about creating a tablescape is there is no right or wrong. The end result just has to make you happy and create a welcoming dining table for gathering that you will actually use regularly. I like to think of my tablescape in layers. Thinking in these layers will help you build your tablescape without becoming overwhelmed. You probably already have items for each layer so try pulling what you already have out and taking inventory of it. Then you will know which layer you need to buy for to create a welcoming table for friends and family to gather around.
Layer #1: The bottom layer is made up of table cloths, place mats and/or chargers. You can use one of these or all three. I leave place mats and chargers on my table all the time. That way even on busy nights my family knows there is a spot saved for them at the table. The charger is just waiting for a plate to be set on it. After the meal we leave the chargers on the table and I wipe them down with a Clorox wipe so they will be ready for the next meal.
- If you don’t like to iron choose woven or natural fiber placemats.
- A table runner is great because you can leave it on the table all the time without it looking too formal.
- Table cloths do not need to cover the entire table. You can scrunch or gather your table cloths on the center of your table to create a casual look.
- Choose solid colored table cloths. Add pattern with your napkins.
- Gold chargers are a good beginning choice. They go with everything and can be dressed up or down.
Here is a list of basic items to help you begin to build your inventory for Layer #1.
- 2 off white table runners
- 2 green table runners
- 2 gold table runners
- 12 woven round placemats in a light, natural color (The round shape works well with round and rectangular tables.)
- 12 woven round placemats in a darker color such as espresso
- 1 white table cloth
- 12 faux wood chargers
- 12 gold chargers
Layer #2: The next layer is the main centerpiece. This can be vase of flowers, a container filled with items or even a grouping of candle. This gives you a center focal point to work around.
- a lantern
- a wreath
- a cake stand
- a basket
- a tray
- a favorite collection such as: pitchers, kitchen tins, or even rabbits for spring
Here is a list of basic items to help you begin to build your inventory for Layer #2.
- glass cake stand
- white cake stand
- silver tray
- metal tray
- long, narrow woven basket
- tall wooden candlesticks
- tall glass or crystal candlesticks
- 15″ or taller metal and glass lantern
- solid green wreath
- rustic wreath
- rectangular shaped mirror
- 3 artificial cream colored pumpkins in different sizes
- 2 glass vases
- 2 white vases
- tall metal birdcage
- 2 tall green topiaries
Layer #3: In this layer you need to think about how you want to branch off the main centerpiece. Layer #3 depends on the size of your table and how much space you have to work with. Do you want candles of varying heights, a runner of greenery, or smaller containers filled with flowers or fruit?
- Use small mirrors under items in this layer to add sparkle to your table.
- Quality artificial greenery such as magnolia leaves and penny eucalyptus can add a lot to this layer.
- Glass votives work well in this layer.
- Fill small glass containers with clear glass gems and top with a small candle.
Here is a list of basic items to help you begin to build your inventory for Layer #3.
- 8 glass votives
- 4 small mirrors
- artificial silver dollar eucalyptus garland
- artificial magnolia leaf garland
- artificial fall garland
- small wooden candlesticks
- small glass or crystal candlesticks
- ceramic or metal birds
- ceramic or metal bunnies
Layer #4: Now you can add your plates, glasses, silverware, napkins, and place cards.
- Don’t be afraid of pattern when choosing napkins. Choose a color palette that matches the season you are focusing on.
- Keep water glasses clear. If you want to add some color do so in your wine glasses.
- Definitely put napkin rings on your list. You can never have too many!
Here is a list of basic items to help you begin to build your inventory for Layer #4.
- 12 green striped or plaid napkins
- 12 orange striped or plaid napkins
- 12 gold napkins
- 12 patterned napkins
- 12 bandanas in your favorite color (bandanas work well for a casual napkin option)
- 12 clear glass or white dinner plates
- 12 clear glass or white salad plates
- 12 clear glass or white bowls
- stainless flatware set for 12
- 12 clear glass water glasses
- 12 stemmed wine glasses
- 12 stemless wine glasses
- 12 woven or wooden napkin rings
- 12 silver or gold colored napkin rings