A well-decorated table can take any occasion to the next level. Think about it. How romantic is it when you sit to a candlelit dinner? Who doesn’t feel summer vibes over a picnic table covered by a checkered tablecloth? And what wedding venue doesn’t look more grand with beautiful centerpieces?
Tablecloths, centerpieces, and other flourishes are a must at big celebrations. Here are some table décor ideas to inspire your next event!
What Are the Different Table Settings?
Let’s set the table first. If you’re hosting a dinner party, there are 3 different table settings you can use:
- Basic table setting
- Casual table setting
- Formal table setting
Basic Table Setting
Keep it simple with a basic table setting. You’ll use this table setup at home for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s also good for casual dining at restaurants.
Casual Table Setting
Maybe you’re hosting Easter brunch for your family. Try a casual table setting! Your guests will have access to all of the essentials – fork, knife, spoon, drinking glasses, plates, and cloth napkins. The meal is small, yet still fancy so you can get away with less dinnerware on the table.
Formal Table Setting
Are you planning a four course meal? Use a formal table setting! You’ll have enough utensils, plates, and glasses for the drinks, appetizers, entrée, coffee, and desserts.
Once you’ve got the place settings figured out, it’ll be way easier to decorate the rest of the table. Above all, make sure your guests have access to the essentials – plates, cups, forks, drinkware, and of course, all the delicious food!
What is a Centerpiece?
A centerpiece is a decoration that is usually placed in the middle of the table at wedding receptions, dinner parties, baby showers, and other events. Vases and candles are the most popular types of centerpiece since they’re not only beautiful, but also affordable.
How Do You Decorate a Table?
Less is more when it comes to decorating beautiful tables. First, pick a color scheme or theme. This will give you a starting point and help guide the tablecloths, centerpieces, and dishware that you end up choosing. The next step is buying everything you need to decorate your tables.
Need table décor ideas? Try any of the following:
Top your tables with a classy tablecloth. If you really want to jazz things up, use a table runner in a complementary color that runs down the middle. You can then set your centerpieces on top.
While placemats aren’t necessary, they are a great way to spruce up your dinner tables. Use rectangle, square, round, or oval placemats instead of tablecloths for casual meals. You can also place one under the centerpiece if it needs an extra touch.
Set the mood by lighting candles and putting them on your table. Long stick candles or candelabras will last for the entire meal, but make sure they’re unscented. You don’t want the candles interfering with the pleasing aroma of the food.
Fill glass jars with beads, candy, string lights, flowers, or little trinkets that fit your theme, such as seashells for a seafood dinner or ornaments for a Christmas feast. Place the jars in the center of the table to add visual interest.
Baskets may have you thinking of Easter eggs, but they can also be excellent table decorations for a party. You can fill them up just like glass jars, but there’s more room. Just make sure they don’t overwhelm the table!
Do you want casual table décor for your kitchen? A fruit bowl is the perfect choice! Choose a trendy bamboo or marble bowl, and fill it up with bananas, cherries, pears, oranges, and apples. Your family may just eat healthier as a result!
Empty wine bottles can be reused as table décor. Put stickers on the outside of clear glass bottles and decorate the inside with twinkle lights. It looks best if you use different heights that are staggered in the middle of the table.
Are you offering patio seating at your restaurant? Light up the night with mini lanterns at every table. You can also hang lanterns above the tables if you have the space. This look is also great for rustic weddings at outdoor venues.
It’s time to take a trip down memory lane! Picture frames make wonderful table decorations for a graduation, wedding, birthday, or anniversary party. Choose candid shots that really show off the guest of honor’s personality. A few embarrassing baby pics are also a must!
You can never go wrong with a classic! Flowers are always beautiful table decorations for a party. Arrange them in elegant vases, or artfully lay them around the centerpiece. For a wedding, it’s also a good idea to tie a few flowers to the chairs.
Bring the great outdoors to your tables by adorning them with succulent plants. Spider plants and peace lilies are great indoor plants and are sure to breathe life into your party venue.
Garland is a beautiful table accent for weddings and holiday dinners. Place it on top of a table runner and keep the wood table bare underneath.
Small statues, rock lamps, decorative initials, and even hardcover books are all great table centerpieces. Be strategic and choose trinkets that go well with your theme like pumpkins for a Thanksgiving dinner or pretty pineapples for a luau.
Balloons & Streamers
What party doesn’t have balloons and streamers? Blow up a bunch of balloons and tie them to the chairs. You can also hang banners or steamers from the front of the table or on the walls nearby.
Your tables will look like gifts waiting to be opened if you tie a few bows. Hold the silverware together with a colorful ribbon or use them as accents on the chairs.
If you run a restaurant, try decorating your tables with tabletop signs. You can display your menu, drink specials, upcoming events, or other promotions. Wedding venues can also use these signs to hold table numbers or place cards.
Don’t forget the party favors! Goody bags of gourmet chocolates or personalized M&Ms look pretty on the dinner plates and can be brought home later when the night is over.
Aim for balance on your party tables. You should match your plates, cups, silverware, and napkins to the décor, and most importantly, serve a delicious meal to go with it all!
How you set your tables is totally up to you! You can have a dessert table against the wall, a welcome table for the gift bags, or decorations on all of the dinner tables. It just depends on your event, location, number of guests, and budget.
How Do You Use a Table Runner?
Table runners are typically placed longwise down the middle of a table, but you can also mix it up. You can use as many as 3 table runners and still create beautiful table décor for a party!
Whether you have 1, 2, or 3 table runners, there are a ton of great ways to use these linen. Try any the layout options featured below in this infographic!
Most table runners are between 10 inches and 15 inches in width and 54 inches to 108 inches in length. Allow for between 6 to 15 inches of drop from the tables. Be careful that you don’t have too much overhang, though, or the table runners won’t look as elegant.
Should You Use a Tablecloth and Placemats?
It’s not necessary, but you can use tablecloths and placemats at the same time. Feel free to use one or the other if you don’t want to wash too much linen after your dinner party!
When to use tablecloths:
- Weddings and other formal occasions
- House parties
- Restaurant dining
When to use placemats:
- Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home
- Casual gatherings with friends and family
- Outdoor barbecues and picnics
When to use tablecloths and placemats:
- Holiday dinners
- Banquets & luncheons
You can always leave the tables bare, but linen covers or placemats bring a nice decorative touch. They may also protect the tables from damage, which is a real lifesaver if the tables are rentals.
What is the Best Tablecloth for an Indoor Table?
Tablecloths made from linen, cotton, burlap, lace, taffeta, damask, or silk are excellent for indoor use. These elegant materials should be handled with care and cleaned after use.
What is the Best Tablecloth for an Outdoor Table?
Waterproof or water-resistant tablecloths are best for outdoor patio tables. You can use spandex or plastic tablecloths for a fundraiser or party, but if you want something more formal try vinyl, polyester, oilcloth, or nylon.
What Can You Do With Old Tablecloths?
Is your party over? There are plenty of ways you can repurpose your old tablecloths.
Use your old tablecloths for any of the following:
- Tarps for storage
- Rain ponchos
- Outdoor canopy
- Party banners
- Holiday décor
- Wall art or tapestry
- Cleaning rags
- Linen napkins
- Gift wrap
- Shelf lining
- Packing materials
- Extra fabric for craft projects
You shouldn’t just throw your old tablecloths in the garbage when you’re done with them. Upcycling is much better for the planet!
If you don’t want the clutter, you can also try donating your unwanted tablecloths to an animal shelter. They always need extra fabric for the cages!
Why Should You Decorate Tables at a Party?
Hosting a party can be a nightmare, but your guests are there to have a good time. Table décor shows that you put in the effort to make everything look nice. Plus, it just adds to the exciting atmosphere you’re trying to create.
Table decorations are your chance to show off your creativity. With any luck, your business or event will be the talk of the town for years to come!
The Bottom Line
Tables don’t seem that exciting on their own, but add a tablecloth, a few candles, and a mouthwatering meal, and they’re transformed into something magical. The right table décor can make the dullest party much more special!
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