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What are Tablescapes?

N. Phipps
N. Phipps

Tablescapes are basically creatively designed table arrangements or centerpieces that showcase or highlight a specific object or collection. In addition to tabletops, items such as bookshelves, coffee tables and mantles can be transformed into a unique tablescape. Tablescaping can also include the strategic placement of tables to create an appealing focal point within a given area, which is a great way to add interest to a room. Tablescapes can also set the mood within a specific place or during a particular event.

Tablescaping allows people to express their creative side by adding a personal touch. This is often accomplished through the use of prized collections or specialized themes. Themes are especially important when designing tablescapes. Themes can be based around a particular event, season, hobby, or collection. Finding a suitable theme for tablescape displays depends on personal preference as well as the current style of its surroundings.

Tablescapes refer to creatively designed table arrangements or centerpieces.
Tablescapes refer to creatively designed table arrangements or centerpieces.

Once a theme has been chosen, items relating to the theme should be collected and assembled to create a pleasing centerpiece or tabletop arrangement. Each item within a tablescape relates to the other elements around it. While the objects in tablescapes do not necessarily have to match perfectly, they should harmonize or complement each other. This achieves balance.

Votive candles may help enhance a tablescape’s overall ambiance.
Votive candles may help enhance a tablescape’s overall ambiance.

One of the easiest methods for assembling tablescapes is to think in terms of levels. The most important level is that of the tabletop itself. The other levels include the spaces both above and below the table. Including similar or repetitive items in all of these levels will help pull everything together. Skillfully arranged tablescapes can create a huge impact in a room. This is why balance and harmony is so important.

Themed collections work best when grounded to the table setting. This is usually done by placing some of the objects on risers, fabric, or similar items. This too will help pull objects together and heighten visual appeal. Alternating pieces helps create depth while using various textures and heights add further dimension to tablescapes. Accessories, such as small votive candles, can also enhance the tablescape’s overall ambiance.

When the appropriate tablescape design is implemented, the surrounding area should subtly blend in. The highlighted table arrangement should stand out in a pleasing manner rather than looking like a cluttered mess. As everyone’s perception is likely to be viewed differently, not all tablescapes will hold the same appeal. However, maintaining balance within the tablescape theme will create a soothing appearance regardless of someone else’s personal taste.

Discussion Comments


@Sara007- I think long tablecloths are pretty, although they can be a mess sometimes, getting caught on things and making it hard to pull chairs in and out. and of course, I always get images in my head when I see them of those scenes in movies where someone drags the whole table down.

What I like to do is use them for parties and events when we have a few tables set off to the side, where things are being displayed, or for buffet tables. Then for the tables where people sit, I use shorter ones. I don't think it calls too much attention from the tablescapes, as long as everything is clean underneath when the event starts.


@manykitties2 - That tablescape you made sounds really beautiful. I can imagine how lovely the leaves would have looked piled up in a glass vase like that.

I really think that one of the most important things you can do when tablescaping is to make sure that you really consider all eye levels when working. Great lighting takes care of above the table, a beautiful centerpiece to reach upwards is important, and of course, various levels of plates add to the overall look. I also prefer long draping tablecloths so that you don't have to worry too much about what you can see beneath the table.


Tablescapes really make a huge impact at things like wedding receptions, and should be carefully planned out before the event. At my friend's wedding we decided to do all of the tablescaping ourselves to save some cash and we ended up doing a really great job.

Since it was a fall wedding my friend had a theme set up around the colors of changed leaves. Bright yellows, oranges, and reds made up most of our design, What we found made the most impact were are earth colored tablecloths with beautiful tall center pieces made of heavy glass and filled with leaves. The effect was so striking that we actually got asked to do another friend's wedding.

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    • Tablescapes refer to creatively designed table arrangements or centerpieces.
      By: jillchen
      Tablescapes refer to creatively designed table arrangements or centerpieces.
    • Votive candles may help enhance a tablescape’s overall ambiance.
      By: Hugh O'Neill
      Votive candles may help enhance a tablescape’s overall ambiance.