No room is finished the moment you move your furniture in. It feels incomplete until it's decorated. This goes for your dining room as well. The dining room is the heart of the home (duh!) and it should look lively and inviting. I agree that there are a great number of factors that go into creating the right dining room setting, (and hopefully you have us to design the perfect dining room for you), but one of the major elements is considering what lives on your table, the space that is the heart of family gatherings and dinner parties.
If you already have lots going on in your dining room and you’re worried that you’ll create a very busy scene with the extra decor, the best idea might as well be to just go bare, but if you believe your table could use some drama, scroll on for some amazing decor inspiration and styling tips to breathe life into your dining space.
Let's begin with what you can put on your dining table.
Decorative Objects & Ornaments
I have discussed the variety of decorative objects that can go into styling any space, in the blog about Shelf Styling and if you've already read that (Kudos!), then your mind must already be running through some ideas. These can range from vases, bowls, candles or candlesticks, coffee table books or a sculpture. Literally, whatever object you adore, can go up on your table, with a few thumb rules to keep in mind of course. More on that, in the following points. It's festive season and you're expecting company, or just want to enjoy a good dinner with your family, what better than styling your dining table in the festive theme and spreading the cheer during dinner-time?
Flowers, Fruits and all things Green
Having a bold, large vase full of fresh flowers as the centrepiece can really elevate the aesthetics of your dining space as well as the experience of eating itself. The scent of freshly cut flowers at the dinner table is a lovely, divine experience. If the hassle of managing fresh flowers is too much for you, you can always go for faux. Barring the scent, it has the same effect on the aesthetics of the space. If your dining table is well-lit naturally and receives a good amount of sun, you can even invest in a good, fresh plant for the table. Seasonal fruits are an excellent addition to the styling, because it also gives function to the space even when it's not being actively used. Natural colours of flowers and fruits give vibrance to any space, along with depth and dimension.
Metal, Glass & Crystal
This is an element that lives on your table when the table is the most active. It is important to invest in a good set of cutlery and silverware to make your dining space shine. You can experiment with different metallic finishes like silver, gold, bronze, or rose gold. Feel free to go beyond the cutlery for the metallic finishes and experiment with napkin rings, or votive candle holders, or serveware. Glass is another material that reflects light as well as metallics. It looks delicate and exquisite. You can even use a gorgeous looking serveware or flatware as a permanent centrepiece for the table.
Another styling material that you can add to your dining table is fabric. Fabric adds a soft and cosy touch to a space, and if you're not going for the contemporary, minimal look, incorporating fabrics in the styling can be a good investment. Apart from protecting your dining space from accidental mishaps or stains, aesthetically they can be like wallpapers for your table. Experiment with different colours or patterns or textures. You can use fabrics in the form of tablecloths, or table runners, highlighting your collection of centrepieces, or placemats.
Nothing does ambiance better than candles. Pair your centrepieces or place settings with a variety of candles and watch your space glow with warmth. Enough said.
LET'S GET TO THE STYLING
The first thing to do it clean out the junk. Do you find your table continually messy with important things like newspapers, mails or bills that you need to remember to get to so the first thing you do is toss it on the poor table? We've all been there. There is no point in only cleaning it temporarily to decorate the dining space because that junk will keep coming back. A permanent solution is the need. Invest in a rolling cart that you can even hide inside a cabinet space when you don't need it. Roll it out when you want to read a newspaper, or get the bill payments over with, and roll it back in just in time for supper. Problem solved. Don't let the poor table suffer.
Pick a colour palette that is cohesive with the rest of your room. You don't want objects on the table that completely stand out awkwardly in the middle of the room. Match your decor with the rest of the dining room and possibly your entire house. It blends well, and still looks interesting. That's not to say that you can't experiment with contrasting colours to make it stand out. Contrast is always welcome, in a cohesive manner. Cement your palette with accent colours of the room, or ground it with darker colours.
The central moment of your dining table is really going to define the life of the space. There are certain thumb rules to picking out a centrepiece, or a collection of them so it looks well curated. As a thumb rule, the height of the centrepiece should be about half the height of your table, and shouldn't take space more than a third of the width of the table. If you have a large, open dining room, go for a whopping floral arrangement to balance the visual setting. Centrepieces also don't necessarily have to be in the centre literally. Play with asymmetry and make it exciting.
Assortment of Centrepieces
If you are going with an assortment of centrepieces to make it look more interesting, make sure that the objects you use make sense together. Combine high and low objects, like a vase and a fruit bowl, to keep things visually interesting. Your centrepiece can be any of the elements mentioned above, or they can be a collection of them. Mix and match colours, shapes and textures to create balance and interest.
Tray + Gather
If you don't like the idea of objects floating on your table freely, consider gathering them in a matching tray. You can keep your vases, candles, fruit and snack bowls or plates on the tray. Trays make the space and decor feel contained and collected and make cleaning the space easier. You can even keep some glasses ready on the tray, for easy access and convenience.
Function & Form
Combine function and form using centrepiece moments like fruit bowls, light-reading, coffee table books or snack jars and platters. Mix and match aesthetic and functional elements.
Styling a Round Table Round tables are fairly easy to style because you can't go wrong with using even just one bold centrepiece. By keeping the proportion thumb rules in mind, you can style your table with a bold, flower vase, a collection of candlesticks or any other decorative object, keeping the rule of three in mind. You can read more about how to use to the rule of three and the art of proportions here. Just skip to the styling part.
Styling a Rectangular Table The most common types of dining tables are rectangular. The trick is to style along the length of the table. Table runners really accentuate and highlight the length. Try turning the table runner perpendicularly for a quirky effect. If you have an 8-seater or a larger dining table, go for three prominent features. A feature can be a single item of one kind, or a collection of them. So, you could have a bold vase in the centre, along with a group of bowls and a stack of books. For smaller rectangular tables, gather your features in a tray so they don't look cluttered. Go for features with different heights so they accentuate the dining space.
Styling a Square Table The trickiest one to style out of all is probably the square table. The common approach is to have a large centrepiece and four smaller pieces all around, which makes the whole design look dated and overly structured. Go for a random triangular approach with three features for softness. Play with proportions, shapes and heights and break the rigidity.
Hopefully this post has helped you take away some amazing dining table styling ideas for your home. It might seem daunting, but fingers crossed you’ve walked away with some practical tips for styling your own dining space.
Drop me a comment below if you have any questions. I would also be thrilled to hear any additional tips that you might have to share.
Until next time,