Tablescapes 101

(all photos courtesy of BHG. Excerpt on Tablescapes taken from www.decoratingfordummies.com)

Tablescapes are arrangements of items gathered in a grouping on top of a table. They're sometimes called tabletop arrangements.
A tablescape can include a centerpiece, or it can simply contain an arrangement of your favorite items. Tablescapes refer to the way things are laid out, like in a landscape painting. And they're not just for dinner anymore. They're wonderful to arrange on coffee tables, end tables, mantels or shelves.
If you want to make your own tablescape, here's a quick formula: Simply gather and arrange the following items, or a combination of them, on no more than 1/3 of your table surface space to make an instant tablescape:
  • Light source (lamp or candles — sometimes both).
  • Hard line accent (photo frame, book, a collectible item).
  • Botanical element (flower, bowl of fruit, plant or other item).
  • Fabric item (a table topper, runner, ribbon, a tapestry remnant, a napkin.)
Making your own tablescapes is easy if you keep these few pointers in mind:
  • Gather interesting items of different textures together. Good items to have are books, decorative plates displayed on stands, bowls filled with fruit or other decorative items, vases, flowers, candles, decorative orbs, and other home d├ęcor accessories.
  • Arrange items in staggering heights. Stack a few books and use them underneath items to raise them if needed. If you have a lamp on a table, use that as your tallest height, and work with other smaller items to fill in your tablescape.
  • Take up no more than 1/3 of your table with a tablescape unless you don't intend to use the table for anything else but display. You want your tablescape to stay intact, so leave room for people to set down drinks or the TV remote without bumping into your lovely arrangement.
  • Use your surfaces wisely. If you set up a gorgeous tablescape on your coffee table but no one has a place to put their dishes, cups, or other items for which that coffee table was intended, you've defeated the purpose of decorating. Decorating is meant to enhance — not to hassle.
If you want to place a tablescape on a surface you may need to use unexpectedly, such as an ottoman, try arranging it on a decorative tray so that you can move or shift the display without having to take it down or rearrange it.

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