Learn how to create a stunning tablescape as a designer with step by step instructions. The table setting will bring nature into your dining experience in a very dramatic way, but with timeless elegance.
Learn some tricks of the design trade that will make your table setting stand out! It will certainly be a memorable one!
When I began my Design career, I knew details were the secret to great designs, whether by adding or subtracting from your vignette. My goals, as a Designer were always on attention to the styling details. It is about creating that unique experience that everyone will be talking about. I am providing you with a backdrop to adapt for any holiday, keeping the nature setting as the main theme. Let’s get started creating your elegant and dramatic air plant tablescape!
How to Create a Tablescape or Table Story?
In the Design industry, it is all about that ‘story’, one that will create conversation, an instant connection with your guests. Telling stories on how you created your stunning tablescape and why it is your passion.
My brother came for a visit, he knew my passion for air plants. He looked shocked when he saw the display. He loved it, but was concerned about the cost, he knew that large scale air plants are very expensive. The secret is, not all the air plants are real ones, only the key ones! You cannot tell the difference and the variety available is remarkable. And no maintenance!
Should I Create a Table Story?
My short answer is, Oh Yes! In the hospitality industry, it is known that as soon as the guest walks through the door the setting / design has to catch their attention, in order for it to be memorable. Memorable is something unique, your take on your life and your passion. Try something new instead of flowers or greenery, air plants are like small pieces of art, a conversation starter.
What are Some of the Materials that will Enhance your Air plant Tablescape?
- Table (Start with your table)
- Table Linen or Runner- Jute Roll (more affordable than a regular runner and many option available)
- Vessel (Find a texture to create contrast against the air plants)
- Centerpiece – Air plants (Find contrasting textures and shapes to add dimension.)
- Candlesticks (Tall gold or black would add that special sparkle to the organic background. Black is a great anchoring color to a most designs. Use a flat or brushed finish instead of shiny, it give a more upscale look)
- Napkins (keep it simple. white linen is a good color but any solid neutral will work well)
- Feather Wreath (you can use loose feathers or any other soft element)
- Small Rocks or Crystals – create contrast (optional – this is to get a more dramatic look)
- Place Setting (allow the texture of the linen and air plants to be the star. Keep the plates solid in color and the lines modern. This is also true for the silverware)
- Glassware – Curved (this approach will highlight the softness and curved lines of the air plant shapes.)
Is Creating Tablescape Drama Too Much?
Never! The food can go on the sideboard and the table can become your dramatic setting. I am giving you the most dramatic couture setting, you can take or delete items to make it your own story and meet your needs.
The decor is your greeting, your conversation starter, which will set the mood for the rest of the event and well past it!
How to Create an Air plant Stunning Tablescape Step-by-Step?
First set of Steps
- CENTERPIECE; Find a vessel with a narrower type hole on the top. This will help keep the air plant and grasses together and conceal the back of the faux plants. You can also use a vessel with multiple holes on the sides. Keep in mind that on this tablescape, the vessel is part of the background, the air plants will be the ‘Star’! Try to find an interesting texture, imagine air plants being placed on a rustic wall, whether stone or wood. You can decide how modern or vintage you want to go by starting with your vessel.
- FEATHER WREATH; This element is used to anchor the air plants as this arrangement is not about a lot of large flowers on the top, but more about the sculptural shapes. Use something that will be soft and in contrast to the sculptural look of the air plants, like feathers.
- AIR PLANTS; The main element! Keep the look of your selection to a similar green family.
- ORNAMENTAL GRASS; I love ornamental grass, my garden has a variety of them, add them to the composition of the vessel. The softness of the grass is just perfect for adding height in the center of your table without taking away from the main elements, the air plants.
Second Set of Steps
- NAPKINS / TABLE RUNNER; Find your place setting and napkins. This is another background element to the story, if possible, a solid color; white , gray, black, taupe or any color you like, green would also work. Your napkins should be linen, because you are going to rest a beautiful feather across as a napkin highlighting your nature theme and the softness you want to accomplish. For the table runner, I prefer getting a roll of plain jute. The organic texture plays really well with the other elements. Simple is better, so you don’t take away from your air plant display.
- ROCKS; Yes!, I can’t help myself!, rocks are a love of mine. It adds so much texture, so many different ones available and the contrast to the feathers works really well. The small gathering of stone, or even crystals, will bring a full dimension to each end of your table.
The goal is to try and use what you have, I am positive you have great items that will create a backdrop to the story. Find that unique plant that speaks about you, succulent, air plant, ornamental grasses. More importantly, it will be the “in a nutshell’, the hot topic of the party.
Create a Stunning Tablescape with Tricks of the Design Trade – A Couple of my Secrets.
Look at your table
- Clear your table completely, look at the size of the surface you are working with.
- My secret is to place a smaller element to the side, that someone can pick up and explore. This not only defines the vignette, but a successful tablescape is one that is approachable and inviting. What better way than someone being able to explore a real air plant and talk about how they survive out of the soil?! Success!
Add feeling to your Stunning Tablescape
- When we design luxury spaces, spas are a good example, we not only think of design elements, but the feeling it provides to the guest is even more important. Do you want the guest to think how they feel when they are surrounded by nature. What are the things that they will experience? The wind, the sunlight are examples of elements in nature that would apply. How do you apply this?; your candle light are the sunlight and the softness of the ornamental grass recalls wind in nature. Think of the design as more than the items you place on the table, it will change the experience, create a ‘mood’ and take it to a whole new level!
- Think of the entire space available to work with, not only your table. Your bar cart or your console will need to keep the feel of the theme. A simple accent is enough to provide the connection and provide continuity. The side console is a great place to add that family heirloom, another conversation piece.
How to Start and Create a Stunning Tablescape
- Center Piece; Start the composition from the center of the table out, after you place the jute runner. This is the largest element and it will set the rhythm for the rest of the decor. This is a dramatic centerpiece and it should be tall, so make sure that either side of your table are much more open, so your guest can visually connect and communicate across the table.
- Candlesticks; After the centerpiece is completed, place your candlesticks. These are the elements that keep the symmetry, the same on both sides of the table. In the design industry we to do things in 3 or 5, but in this case 2 on either side will anchor the table, acting like bookends on a shelf.
- Added Elements; Texture is the last thing you should play with, such as the stones, crystals, the added wood pieces that the guest can hold and explore.
- Plate Setting; Let the napkin rest as though the wind placed it and a feather landed on top. This simple touch will enhance the nature feel by reminding the guest of a feeling they have while exploring nature, the ‘Wind’. On this setting, no decorations on the chairs or labels on the plates. Let the dramatic centerpiece speak loudly and be the jumping point to great ‘conversation’ and ‘connections’. Sometimes less is much more!
For more ideas with Air Plants, Check out my Creative Air Plant Ideas for a Centerpiece that incorporate a vintage feel!
Your Turn to Create a Stunning Tablescape!
I hope you find the tips helpful and you get to create many new memories with the stories that will be told. If you want to see a video that shows the feeling of the table, check out my instagram @gardenchillmudra. Share your inspirations! Share how you create your tablescape, I want to see your amazing creativity!
Before you go, check out these other creative ideas for a Stunning centerpiece!