Three Top Design Tips for Your Tabletop

It's no secret that I love to set a table. Of all the many details we design and stage for our clients, the dinner table elements are almost always my favorite. As you gear up for holiday dinners and opportunities to host friends, family, and loved ones, here are my top three tips for setting a festive tabletop. 

1. Layer, layer, layer.

Never settle for a bare place setting. Add a charger. Layer the elements. Use a mix of fabric, china, and metals to create something lovely. It's possible to simply have a napkin, glassware, and flatware at a dinner table - but I think that misses an opportunity. Whenever possible incorporate meaningful pieces that help create a layered effect. Worried about stacking too much hardware? A napkin always softens the look. 

Photography by Callie Davis |  Nancy Ray Photography

Photography by Callie Davis | Nancy Ray Photography

2. Introduce patterns, color, and texture from the center out. 

Want to incorporate color, pattern, or texture on your tabletop? I advise thinking about the table from the center out. In other words, pull colors and design elements from the center so that they thoughtfully balance with the place settings. Does that mean you need to use every color, detail, texture, or pattern both in the center of the table and your place settings? No. In fact, you probably shouldn't. Instead, just be thoughtful about pulling a thread of consistency from the center to the tips of the table. For example, in the photo below, we've used rose gold flatware. But before setting those pieces, we incorporated rose gold pillar candles and magnolia leaves in the center décor. The details could also be completely neutral if you're not a fan of bold color, but it's that cohesiveness and distribution/balance of like elements that elevates the look of a tabletop design. 

Photography by Perry Vaile

Photography by Perry Vaile

3. Personalize

You know what makes your guests feel special? When they know you've put extra care into something you created for them. To that end, place cards matter, and the more intimate the dinner party, the more impact they will have. Let your guests know that you prepared a place for them. I'm also a firm believe in menu cards. An individualized menu card communicates thoughtfulness in the most subtle way. 

Photography by Lauren Jolly

Photography by Lauren Jolly

Cheers to a festive holiday season! May your tabletops be full of beauty, your dining rooms full of laughter, and your bellies full of delicious treats.