How To Set a Stunning Table

Look Outside for Table Decor

These ideas will show you how to set a stunning table for any occaision.

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Splurge On Linens

How To Set this Sparkling Table
Photo by: Laurey W. Glenn

How To Set this Sparkling Table

The Champagne-colored cotton velvet tablecloth adds a luxurious feel. If you have even a little budget, spend it on the linens.

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Mix Traditional & Modern

Mix Traditional & Modern
Photo: Jennifer Davick

How to Set a Distinctive Table

Monogrammed linens, crystal stemware, and silver flatware establish a classic tone while bold red chargers and graphic gold-trimmed china update this display.

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Pair Cool Colors with Silver

Pair Cool Colors with Silver

Outdoor Entertaining

A French blue tablecloth highlights the cool undertones of classic silver while basic glasses glow in the candlelight of this setting.

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Mix China Patterns

Mix China Patterns
Photo by Ralph Anderson / Styling Scott Martin

Recreate this Thanksgiving Table

A pressed linen cloth provides a clean, crisp base for this mixed-pattern place setting. The purple geometric pattern charger coordinates well with the more flamboyant botanical print of the plates.

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Choose a Limited Palette

Choose a Limited Palette
Charles Walton IV / Styling Rose Nguyen / Food Styling Lyda Jones Burnette, Vanessa McNeil Rocchio

Set this Grand Table

Various shades of green, from pale celadon to deep jade, shine out among the metallic neutrals of this setting. Napkin rings covered in hydrangea blossoms bring a touch of the lush centerpiece to each setting.

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Layer China and Glass

Layer China and Glass
Photo: Lauren Rubinstein

Relaxed Summer Table Setting

Simple white china and clear glass look elegant but feel casual when paired together. It's all in the details, so choose pierced and etched designs to add interest without distracting from the rest of the table.

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Mix Simple and Ornate

Welcome Friends
Photo: Jennifer Davick

Set a Formal Southern Table

Select the basics and add embellishments for a look that is uniquely you. Use simple stemware to counter balance more decorative china.

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Balance an Elaborate Centerpiece with Basic China

Natural Tablescape
Photo: Jennifer Davick

Create this Natural Table Setting

Simple white plates paired with timeless flatware and thin stemware keep this more rustic centerpiece looking elegant. Bold orange napkins give the setting a pop of seasonal color.

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Use a Playful Pattern in a Sophisticated Way

Use a Playful Pattern in a Sophisticated Way
Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

Set a Bold Holiday Table

These black-and-white confetti napkins have a sophisticated yet playful vibe. At 22-by 22-inch, they're large enough to wrap up small party favors at each place setting.

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Create a Glowing Place Setting

Create a Glowing Place Setting

Use this Timeline to Host a Memorable Dinner Party

Add a glow to each setting with votive candles. A tiny candle floating alongside mums and sliced citrus highlights the sheen of the cloth napkin in this setting.

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Keep it Classic

Try a Classic Pattern
Photo: Quentin Bacon

Host the Ultimate Backyard Pizza Party

A classic buffalo-check cloth sets off green glassware and terra-cotta accents in this tablescape. The tiny planter and seed pairings do double duty as both place card and favor.

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Mix Small and Large

Play with Scale
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn / Styling: Mary Leigh Fitts

Deck Dining Makeover

Playing with scale can create an interesting and unexpected tablescape. Large leaves make a big statement when juxtaposed with tiny shot-glass vases in this setting.

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Get Creative with Materials

Mix Modern and Traditional Thanksgiving Table
Jennifer Davick; Styling: Maria Cooke

See How to Create this Simple Thanksgiving Table

Who says you can only print on paper? This menu card is actually fabric. The designer cut pieces of thin linen and ran them through an ink-jet printer for menu cards. Do this a day or more ahead of time to allow the ink to dry properly.

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Pair Glamour with Nature

Pair Glamour with Nature
Erica George Dines; Design: Katherine Cobbs

Festive Table Setting Ideas

Rich red, deep brown, and crisp aqua set off glowing gold accents in this setting. A gilded pinecone and an antler motif add organic elegance.

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Mix Formal and Casual Pieces

Mix Formal and Casual Pieces
Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

Christmas Table Décor

If you have got more guests than fine china, combine your wedding china with casual dinnerware, like this pewter stoneware charger and cool blue salad plate. Silver and crystal stemware add a touch of tradition.

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Add Black for Big Impact

Add Black for Big Impact
Photo: Jennifer Davick

Create this Dramatic Table

A black and white color scheme with rich purple accents is sleek and dramatic. Use a black place mat, napkin, and charger, but lighten the look with a white dinner plate.

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Get Creative with Natural Materials

Christmas Decorating Ideas: Cedar Rose Napkin Rings
Photo by Laurey W. Glenn

More Christmas Decorating Ideas

Found or purchased natural materials give texture to your table. Make your own custom napkin rings by spray-painting cedar roses (the opened cones of the deodar cedar tree) silver and gluing them atop 2-inch-wide red ribbon. Tuck in a sprig of boxwood for an extra flourish.

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Use Family Pieces

Use Family Pieces
Photo: Erica George Dines

You can't go wrong with a white and silver combination. This setting pairs modern pieces with family heirlooms for a casual yet classic look.

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Layer Textures

Layer Textures
Photo: Howard Lee Puckett

Outdoor Dining Ideas

Varying colors and patterns aren't the only ways to make your setting pop. A mix of interesting textures makes for a subtle and elegant look. Rope place mats layered with textured porcelain dinnerware and twine-tied utensils create a laid-back mood in this setting.

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Keep Your Setting Neutral

Keep Your Setting Neutral
Jean Allsopp / Styling Alan Henderson

For a table that makes a statement, set it with a single color. The food will take centerstage on this all-white table. White linens and candles pair prettily with a calla lily centerpiece.

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Be Inspired by Your China Pattern

Be Inspired by Your China Pattern
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Use your china as the inspiration for your florals. This plate's color palette is repeated in the lush centerpiece.

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Think Small

Think Small

Small touches make a big impact. Tiny fruits and a mini-flower arrangement inspired by the ribbon's color palette add just the right touch to this simple setting.

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Go Bold with Complementary Colors

Consider Complementary Colors

Use a palette of complementary colors for a bold look on your table. Orange linens give blue patterned dishware added impact.

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Say it with Flowers

Say it with Flowers

A single yellow rose, symbolizing friendship, welcomes each guest to this table.

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Look Outside for Table Decor

Look Outside for Table Decor

Lovely maple leaves in fall colors dress up this setting. Turn organic items into place cards by using a paint pen to write guests' names on them.

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Spice Up Your Table

Spice-up Your Table

Add a light fragrance to your tablescape by integrating herbs into your decor. Rosemary napkin rings give a natural feel to this setting.

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Skip the Tablecloth

Skip the Table Cloth

Some dining tables are too nice not to cover, but this one is to pretty to cover up. This aged and distressed table is a beautiful, rustic backdrop for a simple setting.

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