Good Life

Playing Dress Up

How to master the art of tablescaping

Blame it on Instagram, but there’s a new trend that’s taking over dinner parties, and it has nothing to do with food: Tablescaping – the trend of decorating your dinner table in over-the-top, elaborate ways – has exploded in popularity over the past year. (Check out the hashtag #tablescape on Instagram and you’ll see more than a million posts!)

Rather than simply adding flowers, many people are draping their dining room tables with trimmings that speak to their sense of style and personality.

“Dressing up your table used to be something that was reserved for a big holiday, like Thanksgiving,” says Joanna Hawley-McBride, the creative director of, a lifestyle blog, focused on interior styling. “But people are so excited about welcoming guests into their homes right now — and capturing the event on social media — that they’re designing their tables in exquisite ways, even for an everyday dinner with friends.”

“Tablescaping is the biggest thing happening in home entertainment right now,” agrees Nicole Rodriguez, owner of Rodriguez herself belongs to a handful of tablescaping clubs (yes, there are tablescaping clubs, and even competitions) that “are growing constantly.” The reason? “People are wanting to treat their dinner guests to experiences, more than just a meal,” she adds.

Need more proof? Vogue Living recently proclaimed tablescaping “the new getting dressed.” But you don’t have to be an interior designer, or an Instagram-worthy celebrity, to create a wow-worthy table.

Follow these three tips from the pros to create an eye-popping table for your next gathering:

Pro Tip 1

Pay attention to placecards
“Name cards aren’t just for weddings or big events anymore,” Hawley-McBride notes. “They’re used to make the guests feel special at gatherings of any size.” Some ideas to consider: Add a pretty gemstone, like a piece of rose quartz, to a placecard and include it on the center of each guest’s salad plate. Or, accompany each place setting with a tiny potted succulent that includes each person’s name. “Guests can take home the items as a remembrance of your experience together,” she says.

Pro Tip 2

Go shopping – around the house
While you might be tempted to head to your favorite interior design store for a brand-new look for your table each time you entertain, it’s not necessary. “Often, the most interesting item can be something you already have around the house or in your yard,” Rodriguez says. Perhaps you’ve got a beautiful set of bookends that match the fall colors you want to incorporate onto your table. Or, maybe you’ve got a jewel-tone shawl that could double as a dreamy table runner. “Find an interesting item that can be your source of inspiration, and choose other items that will complement it,” she says.

Pro Tip 3

Create layers and textures
Once you’ve set the table with the basics, like a tablecloth or table runner, placemats, chargers and flatware, “build from the bottom up,” Rodriguez advises. “Height and texture help create interest.” Some ideas: Consider stacking beautiful serving trays embellished with leaves or holiday ornaments, or leaning up a chalkboard with an inspirational quote in the middle of the table as a centerpiece. “Just don’t include anything so high that guests won’t be able to see one another across the table,” Rodriguez warns.

© Serhii