Dreaming up a tablescape—and designing it piece by piece—is an act of creating atmosphere, of making a mood. I like to start with a color palette, and what I already have on hand: found objects, taper candles, amber glasses, vintage finds, family heirlooms, scraps of fabric, woefully underused tablecloths. There’s no need to go to a store and load up on props in one fell swoop; you lose some artistry and true design in rushing that process of collection.
Shop Your Own Collection
If you have a few pieces on hand that you’re inspired by—something passed down, or handmade by someone you know, trinkets and treasures from antique malls—you can start there. When in doubt, or when you don’t have the most on-trend pieces to work with, you can always get away with going as basic as possible—you don’t need the most of-the-moment aesthetics to achieve a beautiful tablescape.
Use cut up old shirts for napkins, rummage through bins of old clothing, or make a quick run to the thrift store for dishes in a certain color. I, personally, don’t like to hold on to storage bins of stuff, especially holiday items—I’m a minimalist and try to limit what I keep. Often, when I’m envisioning what I want to create, I’m thinking on my feet and pulling props together piecemeal; if I’m going to buy something, it’s also something I’m going to use all the time—things I can use on a daily basis.
Star of the Show
When it comes to the centerpiece, it’s nice to have something that you build the colors around. For a beige and black color focus, I found some old clay black jugs and realized they fit well with an all-dried arrangement—one advantage to that is its ability to extend through the season as decor, from one dinner to the next. For a gold and pale pink concept, I used a trove of colored glass, then incorporated some seasonal branches called copper beech—it comes in a pure gold, a rust red, a brown, even a dark teal—you get really pure color out of it, and it works as a garland on the table (as a bonus, it’s still charming if it dries out a bit).
Keeping It Fresh While We're Frozen
In winter months, it feels really special to have fresh blooms. It’s a reminder of harvest times, and while it likely comes from further away, it won’t feel as if it’s something you could just pull from your backyard. It’s a treat-yo-self moment.
Check out these photos from a recent shoot to see our latest tablescapes and inspiration for your own creations.