Table Dressing Inspiration for that Special Occasion

The perfect table setting ideas and guide

Special occasions are all about creating wonderful memories with our friends and family. For many of us, creating a beautiful dinner table setting and getting the table decorations just right, all helps impress our guests and make us feel like the perfect hostess!


If you need ideas for your upcoming lunch or dinner party, we hope you’ll find this how-to guide to ignite your style ideas, and beautifully set a table, an inspiration.

An elegant and stylish table setting
An elegant and stylish table setting

Delve into the detail

Once you’ve decided on your guests and the food you’ll be serving, you can turn your thoughts to how you might dress your table. Flower sprays, garlands, candles, napkin rings, serving trays or a seasonal wreath can all create the most beautiful atmosphere that will delight your guests.


Whether you have a kernel of an idea or need help to get you started, there are lots of places you can find table decoration inspiration. Creating a mood board on Pinterest is a great way to plan your special occasion. You could also search out gems on Instagram or in magazines like Ideal Home and Good Homes.

A touch of greenery
Adding a touch of greenery to the table

Choose a colour scheme

Is your inner stylist telling you to match your colour scheme to your decor or create a beautiful new look for the occasion? If it’s a birthday or anniversary, does the guest of honour have a favourite colour? Or is a gorgeous table runner or wreath your starting point? You could choose one accent colour or to focus on florals, greenery, rose gold, gold or silver – whatever feels right to you.


Create a beautiful base

Once you’ve decided on the detail, you can start by creating a beautiful base for your table setting. This could be a white or plain coloured tablecloth or a table runner and placemats, or all three.


Don’t forget to have some fun with it! A round table could have two runners crossing at right angles with round place settings popped between the gaps. A long table could have a ‘banquet’ feel to it with a full-length runner featuring candlesticks, fruit or animal ornaments and greenery to give a sense of occasion.


Mesmerise your guests

Carefully thought-out lighting can create a mesmerisingly beautiful atmosphere. Candles of different heights and shapes or twinkling fairy lights will add to the mood and make your gathering feel even more special. More so when lights are tiny and embedded in your runner.

A table setting with a pop of colour
Stylish with a pop of colour

Cultivate your centrepiece

We just love a centrepiece here at House to Haven. Keep it simple and natural, or go all out with your table decorations, you can:

  • fill a vase with a bundle of twigs and add beautiful flowers in the gaps.

  • use a candle holder with a simple lit candle to keep your table clutter-free.

  • choose real or faux potted plants, succulents or cacti to create an eye-catching centrepiece.

  • arrange fresh, dried or faux flowers in a large vase with 2-3 smaller vases to complement it.

  • showcase stunning flower sprays or a full garland such as ivy or eucalyptus and intertwine flowers to create your magical focal point.

Candlesticks and floral tablescaping
Pretty in pink florals and pastels

Style a mouth-watering food display

Whether you’re planning to have a separate table for food or for it to be the main feature of your centrepiece, you can add also ideas for food displays to your mood board.


Your delicacies matched by type and/or colour will look scrumptious. Especially when presented on deli boards, platters, trays and baskets, surrounded by foliage, herbs and/or vases of dried flowers or grasses, or candles, to beautifully complement the theme of your setting.

Scrumptious deli board
Scrumptious deli board

Choosing your tableware

Each place setting should have a knife, fork and dessert spoon, a napkin, a water tumbler, a wine glass, and if there’s cause for celebration, a champagne flute or saucer.


Tablescaping doesn’t mean you have to rush out and restock all your entire dinner set, instead use what you have and build from there, only adding what you need. You can use one colour, a range of colours or mix it up with mix-and-match sets of vintage china, glassware and cutlery.

Add the finishing touches

Don’t forget your ceiling and doorways. These are also ideal for creating the perfect mood with thoughtful dressing. Hang pom poms, chiffon draping, balloons or hand-crafted bunting to add to the charm and finish off your decorations in true style!


How to set a beautiful table in 10 easy steps

  1. Collect together your tablecloth, placemats, dinner and side plates, cutlery, napkins, and water and wine glasses.

  2. Position the tablecloth, placemats and table runner (if included in your setting) on the table.

  3. Place a dinner plate at the centre of each placemat. Add a side plate on top of the dinner plate.

  4. If soup is on your menu, position your soup bowl on top of the side plate to create a small stack.

  5. Take your cutlery and place the fork to the left of the plate.

  6. Place the knife to the right of the dinner plate and then set the spoon to the right of the knife. If you plan to place your cutlery on the napkin you can leave this step out.

  7. Place a water glass directly above the knife.

  8. To the right of the water glass, add a wine glass.

  9. Create a show-stopping centrepiece of your choice of flowers, candles, fairy lights, twigs or a wreath, arrange in the middle of the table, leaving room for your food.

  10. You can also bring colour to the table via cloth or paper napkins. Place the napkin on top of the plates or soup bowl, complete with napkin ring, embellish with a tassel or flower, or you can learn how to fold your napkins for a wow factor.

Helping bring your inspiration to life

We hope we’ve given you plenty of table setting and decorations ideas to help you feel confident in your table dressing for that special occasion.


If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for? We’d be more than happy to search out that special piece for you, at no extra cost. Simply, get in touch for a chat, we'd love to hear from you.


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