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Decorating with tablescapes

While you may be hard pressed to locate the precise definition of 'tablescape' in a dictionary, when in the context of home decor a tablescape refers to all of the decorating elements that you amass on a table to create a vignette (arrangement).


Start your tablescape with a concept or style in mind. This may be a simple as a random collection of seaside treasures, pieces that you have amassed on your travels, or an arrangement of favourite items. It's essential to take stock of the decorating items you have available as you don't want to blow your decorating budget on the tablescape, but over time you will want to make add or take away items as trends - or mood - dictates. And bear in mind that when decorating with a theme look out for contrast among the selected items, such as texture - rough and smooth, size - large and small, or shape - round and square.





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 harmonise or complement each other to achieve a sense of balance.

Furniture such as bookshelves, coffee tables and shelves can be transformed into a unique tablescape to add interest to a room or set a mood for a particular event. Adding a particular tablescape allows you to express your creative side by adding a personal touch to your decor, and this can be easily accomplished through the use of treasured items, decor accessories or collectibles.

Themes are especially important when designing tablescapes and deciding upon a suitable theme for tablescape displays depends on personal preference as well as the style of the room or setting.

Good items to have for tablescapes are books, decorative plates displayed on stands, bowls filled with fruit or other decorative items, vases, flowers, candles, decorative orbs, and other home décor accessories. Use items that really mean something to you - accessories should reveal something about your personality.

Tablescape ideas for a coffee table:

  • Try unifying different shaped objects by using items of the same colour. Three different shaped vases all in blue, for instance.
  • Create interest with items of all one colour by using different textures.
  • Try opposites: pair smooth with rough, shiny with dull, old with new, round with square, organic with man-made.
  • Vary the heights so that each object is just a little bit shorter than the next tallest item. This keep items from feeling disjointed.
  • Make sure objects are not all too small. Choose at least one bolder item to be in focus.
  • Use books or pedestals to elevate items that seem too short.
  • Use a basket or tray filled with a collection of items: maybe books, fruit, artichokes, seashells, vintage toys, games or buttons.
  • Interesting conversation pieces are wonderful for coffee tables; use carved wood instruments and attractive wood or vintage game boards.
  • Leave plenty of room on the table for actually using the surface for something other than display. If you don’t leave room for a coffee cup, the table will appear awkward and will not be useful to you. Make table tops pretty and useful!
  • Make sure your tablescape looks good from all angles.
  • You can use just one item on your table, such as a piece of pottery or a vase, but make sure it isn’t tiny! Wide and bold would be a better choice than tall and skinny.
  • When you look at magazines, zero in on coffee table tablescapes you like and duplicate what you see with your own items of similar size and shape!

To achieve an attractive tablescape don't stop re-arranging items until you are happy with the result. Don't expect to get it right the first time. It can take a bit of living with an arrangement and adjusting things every once in a while before you have a contemporary tablescape you like.

theinspiredrpoom - images: traditional living magazine