How To Decorate A Dining Table


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How To Decorate A Dining Table


So, you are having a dinner party, a few of your friends are coming over for a meal or you are putting together a dinner for two. Whatever the case may be, I have ideas to help you create a beautiful table setting for your guests. If you follow my YouTube channel, then you know I love to put together tablescapes.

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Choosing Your Table Cloth

I know a lot of you think a table is not set if it does not have a table clothe. Well, I must admit, I am more partial to table runners and placemats. However, a tablecloth does add a bit of elegance to a tablescape. Your tablecloth choice will depend on your dinnerware. If you have patterned dinnerware, choose a plain tablecloth. If you have plain, single-colored dinnerware, you can choose a patterned tablecloth.


Be careful when choosing colorful tablecloths. If you have brightly colored dinnerware, whether it is patterned or not, choose a more subtle and neutral color for your tablecloth. I absolutely prefer a more muted tablecloth because I do not want the patter of the tablecloth to compete with the food on the table.

You might also place a plastic pad under your table cloth. This will prevent stains on your table and reduce clanging from dishes and cutlery. I will also protect your table surface if you are placing hot dishes on the table.

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Creating Place Settings

Try adding name cards to your settings. Not only does this take the guesswork out of where to sit for your guests, but it also adds more style and personality to your table. People appreciate this extra attention to detail.


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Make sure that you have enough space for your guests to sit comfortably. If not, it might make sense to add another table or rent a table from your local party store so that everyone can sit comfortably. It doesn’t have to be a fancy table either…just cover it with a nice tablecloth and you’ll be all set.


If your dishes are plain white, you might consider charger plates to add a splash of color. But again, if your tablecloth is adding plenty of color, you might forgo the extra busyness. I love white dinnerware because it allows your food to be the center of attention. However, a colorful salad plate or colorful stemware can be just enough to give your tablescape a pop.

Assuming you are not going completely formal, here are some general guidelines for placing cutlery. Forks to the left, knives to the right and dessert flatware above the plate. Salad and appetizer forks and knives should go on the outside. The cutlery for the main meal is placed closest to the plate.

Glassware is placed at the top right of your setting and how complicated you make this up to you. Traditionally, you’ll start with the water glass, wine glass and finish with a dessert glass. Unless you have a lot of space at your table, that can create a lot of clutter and most guests will probably not use all those glasses. I prefer to know my guests’ preferences in advance and place the appropriate glassware at their place setting.

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Napkins & Napkin Rings

I am absolutely drawn to pretty napkins and napkins rings. For a dinner party you must use cloth napkins. You can get so creative with napkins and napkins rings. You can use two napkins to add color contrast and there are hundreds of ways to fold napkins for interest.

Napkin rings are another way to become creative. They can be made of so many different materials. Crystal or wood. Flowers or crystal. The choices can be as creative as you are. You can even make your own using ribbon or hair ties. Napkins can be so much fun.


Other Details

Make sure there are enough salt and pepper shakers and butter trays for your guests to reach or pass easily. If you have a large table, you don’t want your guests to have to shout across the table to get what they need add a second or even a third set of salt and pepper shakers and butter dishes as well.

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Don’t forget the centerpiece. Try a floral arrangement, tapered candles or something to suit your unique taste. But remember, not to go too tall or big with the centerpiece because you want your guests to be able to see the faces that are sitting across from them at the table. If the centerpiece is too large, your dinner party will definitely suffer.

So what do you think? Do you think you would enjoy getting creative with your next gathering? Will you add place cards? Will you make your own napkin rings? And are you a tablecloth or table runner kinda person? Leave me a comment to let me know.

Happy tablescaping.

If you would like to see some of my personal tablescapes, you can find them here.

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9 thoughts on “How To Decorate A Dining Table

  1. Pingback: Linky Party: Wonderful Wednesday 7/22-7/29 #OMHGWW

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  4. indah nuria says:

    I love all the accents for tables, Clearissa. I have soft spot for all those cute table clothes, napkins, and dinner wares. Happy to share our weekly party with #OMHGWW and all the hosts

  5. Clearissa Coward says:

    I love a pretty tablescape too Indah. We share the same weakness. It is my pleasure to co-host with you. Have a lovely weekend. I can’t wait to see where your travels will take you next.

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