How To Decorate A Dining Table

dining room is a place for family and friends to share holiday meals and birthdays or swap stories and laughs during early morning breakfasts. This particular piece of furniture can be a spot for a decorator to be expressive. It allows them to showcase some beautiful decorative objects during meals and gatherings. What does one do with the dining table when not eating or gathering? Decorate it.

While in conversation with Homes & Gardens, interior designer Cindy Rinfret said, "you do not want to create a dead space." A decorator should create a dining room tablescape to complement the home's unique style. If you prefer flowers in a vase, bowls with festive fillers, tablecloths, and table runners, decorate your dining table with confidence. Whether it be a formal dining occasion or a cozy nook to gather for everyday meals, the perfect inspiration for your dining room table can be found in the decorating ideas below.

Design a centerpiece with candles

Create a stylish dining room table by making a candle centerpiece. Displaying candles as part of your decor introduces dimension and drama to the dining room table. According to Martha Stewart, placing candlesticks in the middle of the table brings a tablescape into balance. This classic decoration harmonizes a look, whether the candles are grouped in pairs, trios, or staggered in odd numbers.

Corralling the candlesticks to a central area on the table creates a visual statement in the negative space. Choosing to decorate using candlesticks allows the decorator to introduce height to help break up the empty space. You could also go a step further and vary the length of each candlestick on the table in a mixture of tall and short. Candle arrangements can be elegant, timeless, and add distinction to your dining room table. Plus, they provide a soft glow that makes mealtimes cozier and more relaxed. The candle scents you should have in your dining room come down to your taste, but coffee and whiskey-scented options are almost always a good call.

Use flowers for fresh arrangements

Want to add some flower power to your dining room table? According to Architectural Digest, you can create a modern vignette on your dining room table by decorating it with a sweet floral bundle or low-profile arrangement. Introduce natural beauty to your space by filling a vase or slender pitcher with some of your favorite fresh stems. For a budget-conscious decorator, think about adorning your table with in-season blooms since they may be less expensive and complement the time of year.

The best flowers to add to your dining room table include gardenias in the spring, hydrangeas during summer, sunflowers in the fall, or roses for the winter months (via Pickup Flowers). Sticking to seasonal blooms is not a requirement for your flower arrangements, so do not hesitate to grab a beautiful store bouquet if it catches your eye or create your own by using flowers from a local florist or farmers' market. Fresh flowers are the ultimate way to introduce beauty to a space. They will effortlessly bring a bit of the outside to your indoor dining table.

Spice things up with a table runner

A fabulous way to elevate a plain table is by adding layers of decor. These layers create dimension on the surface and provide a bit of eye candy for your guests. One way to add layers to your dining table is by placing a table runner across it and allowing the opposite ends to drape down the sides. According to Pottery Barn, a table runner is a versatile decoration that can be subtle, casual, elegant, or ornate. The choice is yours, and there are plenty of designs, materials, and colors to fit any style preference.

When choosing table runners for your table, make a wise selection for your specific table shape and size. Be mindful that the length fits your desired look and table dimensions. For additional depth, consider adding two runners opposite one another or layering them on top of each other in contrasting patterns or colors.

Display colorful fruits and vegetables

Decorate your table with zest by running wild with colorful fruits and vegetables. You could attempt to create stunning arrangements with a wide range of fruit or vegetable combinations. From apples and oranges to zucchini and broccoli, the combinations are endless. To help you get started, create a stunning fruit centerpiece with white lilies and grapes or lemons and basil.

According to HGTV, if you seek a more reserved color combination, consider bundling magnolia leaves and artichokes or lavender and herbs in a glass vase. The most subtle arrangements can make a lasting impression, and there are no boundaries to the combinations. You could also ditch the flowers and keep the centerpiece strictly edible with fruits, vegetables, or a mixture. Consider using seasonal fruit and vegetables and matching colors. A beautiful bowl filled with apples, bananas, avocados, limes, or tri-color peppers may be the tasty decor element your dining table is missing.

Fill a decorative bowl

Placing a chic bowl in the center of your dining room table is a great way to add a unique focal point. The bowl you choose should complement your dining table in size and depth. A large, shallow bowl makes for a simple centerpiece and allows the items inside to shine. According to Homenish, decorative bowls feature different materials such as wood, glass, ceramic, or stone.

The centerpiece bowl will determine the objects that go inside. Bowl fillers can change seasonally or stay consistent throughout the year, depending on your decor style. When deciding on fillers, consider materials and texture. Materials that contrast with the bowl and introduce texture thoughtfully will pair best (via SFGate). If the bowl is dark, opt for lighter fillers and vice versa. The best filler options include moss balls, twigs, twine, berries, pinecones, or seashells. Use your bowl as an opportunity to add a bit of your personality to your decor. You can fill it with collectibles from a trip or sentimental items. A decorative bowl with beautiful filler elements will transform your space.

Fold decorative napkins

For a decoration that will make a statement, consider adding artfully folded napkins to each seat at your table. According to Matchness, you can showcase your creativity and adjust the napkin based on your table decoration concept. Consider adding a solid color napkin for a simple look or a fun pattern for a more modern vibe. Table napkins are not complete without serviette rings. Find unique ways to slip wooden carved, shiny metal, or natural woven rings over the delicately folded napkins on your table.

Decorating with napkins is an easy and stylish way to enhance place settings at a table (via Martha Stewart). You can opt to leave the napkins out full time or just for when you are entertaining guests. Style this transitional decor item to celebrate the different holidays and seasons throughout the year. For example, there are plenty of Halloween table decor options that will create a festive mood in your home. Set your dining table with decorative napkins for an elegant tablescape.

Combine different elements

Consider adding an assortment of decor items to your dining room table to create a focal point with contrasting yet complementary pieces. To create a cohesive look, blend objects with similar hues and tones. A homogenous color palette will help the space feel less cluttered. According to Architectural Digest, a decorator can then focus on adding texture and choosing items that range in size.

Color combinations will vary depending on your existing decor pieces and style preferences. Brass objects paired with creams and taupe paint colors or earthy elements like wooden bowls and potted ferns look beautiful. You can also add trays and statues of varying shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. Brightly colored glass vases, plant pots, or ceramic dishware are other additions perfect for your dining room table. These pieces will help make dinnertime feel warm and inviting, whether dining alone or with a large group of people.

Use placemats for a top-end look

Want to take up space on your table in an effortlessly classy way? Add some cool placemats to the mix. Placemats are exceptional transitional decor items since you can rotate them to reflect the different seasons and holidays. Table mats are also budget-friendly, easy to clean, and highly functional. They protect tabletops from heat, food spills, and moisture. If your guests spill a little soup, the mats will catch most of the mess.

When decorating a dining table, be conscious of the placemat shape. It should successfully complement the table and not disrupt the overall flow. In addition, you'll want to focus on the style, material, and color. According to Crate & Barrel, tonal neutrals are ideal for a formal look, while handwoven fibers add texture and visual interest. Place a patterned, colorful, or neutral mat in front of each chair in your dining room or in an evenly distributed layout to complete the table's look.

Create a garland runner

Dining table centerpieces do not always have to be tall and grand; they can also be low-profile and eye-catching. If you have a low-hanging pendant light or want a decoration that will not block a view, add a foliage garland to your dining table. According to Better Homes & Gardens, it's best to display your greenery on flat surfaces since it will adhere to this shape better. Plus, the bundles will not fall out of place.

Check out local markets or florists for a fresh-made eucalyptus, mint, or olive leaf garland. There are also faux options available for those who want a more permanent option. Just be sure to source a garland with bundles that fit the length of your table. The goal is for the arrangement to stretch from one end of the table to the other without drastically draping off the sides. You can also create a focused centerpiece using a shorter garland.

Use a table tray to corral items

If you require additional storage space on your table or want a more uniform centerpiece, consider adding a tray to your dining table. When selecting a tray to fit your table, take note of the shape. Trays are available in rectangular, round, or square designs. The shape is essential since you don't want it to take up too much space and interfere with the table's purpose. According to Decor Shore, the tray does not need to match the table shape. Selecting a decorative tray for your table is about sticking to a consistent theme and considering the existing decor in the room. You have an endless choice, with trays offered in woven, marble, or wood materials.

A decorative tray at the center of your table is a great way to anchor your table's look with small elements. This decor piece is versatile and can reflect different seasons. A dining table's flat surface is the perfect space to layer a tray, and corral items in odd groupings with no more than two to three items should be added (via Professional Staging). This limitation will help balance the positive and negative space on the tray. Piling too many objects will create a cluttered look. For a simple design, consider pairing a candle, a slender vase with flowers, and a set of salt and pepper shakers on a tray. You can also decorate a two tiered stand for more decorating space.

Use vases to create a balanced tablescape

When choosing a vase to add to the center of your dining room table, consider the height of the piece and the style it adds to the room. The presence of a vase will help create a cohesive space and tie all the elements together. Aim to be selective with the size of the vase. You want the arrangement to look its best and not disrupt existing light fixtures or wall art. You can also add multiple vases in varying heights and styles for an eclectic look.

When it comes time to choose flowers for your vase, go for bright and colorful blooms, elegant branches, or artistic dried flowers. According to The New York Times, a general rule of thumb to follow when creating arrangements is to cut flower stems to no more than one or two times the vase height. This ratio will allow you to keep the centerpiece at a desirable height for your vase.

Mix up the furnishings around the table

A dining table needs chairs for functionality and decorative purposes. Wondering about which chairs are best for your home decor? The answer depends on your specific dining table. The shape and size of the table will often determine the number of seats required for you and your guests. When selecting chairs to surround your table, focus on what pieces complement the space versus finding a complete set.

According to Southern Living, mahogany, pine, and birch wood tables are popular in home design. They provide an opportunity to add textural depth by blending different fabrics. Your chairs can feature solid colors in neutral tones or patterned upholstery. Consider adding multiple chair colors or limiting the fabric seating choices to two or four. Set a few spindle chairs at the table for a more varied look. Mixing and matching chairs may be desirable when the table is relatively simple without much pattern or texture.

Add ambiance with lanterns

If you want a low-maintenance but effortlessly chic way to add decor to the dining table, turn your eye toward silver, black, or bronze-painted lanterns. According to Pottery Barn, lanterns are an elegant decoration that introduces warmth and ambiance to a room. For a budget-friendly option, add battery-operated and remote-controlled candles to the inside of the lanterns. This decision will create a shining dining table centerpiece to set the mood and spark conversations over the dinner table.

However, not all lanterns need glowing candles. You can also open that glass door and ornament the lantern with some unique finds. Most lanterns look amazing with various items such as sand, seashells, fruit, pinecones, or faux greenery inside. Display some items from your travels or family photos. If glass surrounds your lantern, be mindful that the decorations look visually appealing from all sides. Let your inspiration flourish with a monochromatic or diverse color palette.

Drape a tablecloth

Want to spruce up your dining room instantly? Cover your table with a white tablecloth. The addition of a tablecloth can give your dining room some personality and quickly cover it to fit your desired decor scheme. The draping effect created by the tablecloth will captivate your guests' attention. According to Williams Sonoma, 10 inches is the preferred standard drop. Anything under six inches will look disproportionate to the rest of the table.

The fabric you choose for your tablecloth also deserves some contemplation. Consider options like organza, silk, cotton, or crochet detailing. These table coverings are available in patterns with bold stripes, colorful gingham, checkered patterns, geometric patterns, or sweet floral prints. Solid colors in soft taupes and creams with lace trims and intricate details also have a desirable effect. To create the dining table of your dreams, incorporate these tips and more for your next occasion.