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Create an instagram-worthy tabletop in 7 simple steps

Sooo much more than just another flat surface, your table is the ideal canvas to express your mischievous spirit, or to showcase seriously schmick interior styling skills. You accessorise the rest of your home – sofa cushions, bed top, coffee tables – why just plonk down the plates when it’s time to dine when there are so many eclectic elements to play with?

The tabletop – House Rules SA style

From tablecloths, runners and napery, to crockery, glassware, platters and place cards (not forgetting flowers, candles and figurines!) – this is just the spot to flaunt (or hone) your creative chops, and to prove you know the difference between curated and cluttered – you do, don’t you?

It’s not a tabletop anyhow

Sorry darlings, tabletop is so pedestrian. In-the-know decorators set table-scapes, not table-tops. Why? Because it’s so much more. A tablescape refers to setting a mood, a theme, a scene. It’s something to be created and curated. Face it, it just sounds better….so go with the flow.

Pick your audience

Are you dishing up for a masculine crowd (in which case go for a rich rustic palette with moody colours such as charcoal, petrol and chocolate and elements of brass, timber and layered texture to create depth), or is it a kitchen tea with a fanciful, feminine theme (in which case we’re thinking candy canes, fluffy blooms, soft gold, sorbet tones and gingham), or a twist on a traditional Christmas table – you get the picture.

Seated in style

Ok, so it’s not part of the tabletop but your seating is still seen – so it ought to be treated with respect. Whether you go for a matching set or follow the current crush for mismatching chairs – both in colour and style – your chairs will go a long way towards setting the tone for your table. 

Don’t leave lighting out

Whether you illuminate your tablescape via a stand-out overhead pendant or chandelier (we’d all love to do it that way, right?) or whether you create soft lighting in the centre of the table via a range of candles – same colour different heights is always a good bet – lighting is a focal point and should be treated that way.

Homogenous is not happening

Even if you prefer a more formal style, an overly homogenous, symmetrical tablescape will look like you tried too hard. Sure cohesive can be cool (but we have to admit a preference for chaotic) but there are ways to achieve a pulled-together look without falling into the matchy-matchy trap.  Symmetry can be created by using diverse elements of a similar height to achieve balance without looking too ‘done’.

On-trend tips

Use your tablescape to tell a story. Add something custom, whether it’s homemade, handmade, a special snowglobe souvenir or something the kids made for you – it’ll add intrigue and interest – and ensure your story is yours, not one you copied from someone else’s Instagram feed.