5 Essential Types of Table Décor Every Host Should Own

What do milestone celebrations, spontaneous gatherings, and your average weeknight dinner have in common? They can all be easily elevated by adding a few key décor items to your tablescapes! Take excuses off the table and learn to properly complete your settings with stylish table décor

What is Table Décor?

The term "table décor" describes any additional decorations or functional items you may add to a table setting. This can be anything from your favorite everyday salt and pepper shaker set to a seasonal trivet you only bring out during the holidays. As long as it helps elevate your tablescape, it counts. 

Why Table Décor Matters

A little table décor can go a long way in setting a stylish scene for your guests or even just for yourself. Whether you prefer a minimalist approach with a simple candle or bud vase with a pretty bloom plucked from the yard, or a maximalist decoration style with layers and layers of colors and patterns, table décor helps set the scene for any gathering. Adding décor to your dinner table solidifies the tone of your event and creates a welcoming atmosphere for your loved ones while helping to convey your style.

Whether you mix multiple designs, colors, and patterns, or use cohesive, matching table décor is up to you. Take the time to make every tablescape unique from party to party with different decorations, from vases to seasonal figurines and more. With such a wide variety of options, every table setting can stand out. 

While some tabletop accessories may seem small, putting in a little extra effort makes your guests feel special. Feel proud of yourself for creating something beautiful — not only the stunning table but the overall experience everyone gets to enjoy together. Adding décor to your dinner table shows that you have put thought into hosting your loved ones, whether it's a casual but elevated watch party or a formal, plated dinner

When Should You Decorate the Table?

We believe you can set a table for any occasion, big or small. Whether you're enjoying a quiet weeknight dinner with your family or hosting a festive holiday gathering with friends, setting the table will elevate the dining experience. 

When possible, featuring your favorite table décor is key to enhancing any and all celebrations. So go ahead and break out your best pieces to create a dining experience that is as unforgettable as the meal itself. Cheers to setting the table and making every meal feel special! 

Perfect Occasions for Setting the Table

Don't wait for a special occasion to set a striking table — there are countless reasons throughout the year to celebrate and savor the moment:

  • Everyday meals
  • Birthday dinners
  • Holiday gatherings
  • Wedding events
  • Summer barbecues

A Deeper Look at the 5 Types of Table Décor

With years of hosting experience under our belts, we tend to separate table décor into five main categories. Build your curated collections with these essential types:

1. Light Up the Room with Candles

    Candles have an unparalleled ability to add warmth, intimacy, and just a touch of magic to any dinner table. Our candle holders not only elevate the ambiance of any dining experience but also serve as perfect focal points that effortlessly enhance any tablescape design. Whether adorning a formal dinner party or an intimate gathering, our candle holders exude sophistication, casting a soft, flattering glow that beckons guests to linger a little longer.

    In order to be prepared to set any sort of tablescape, every host should have a variety of candles of all different shapes and sizes. Taller candles bring the light upward, closer to the faces of guests gathered around the table, and draw attention to taller centerpiece décor such as flowers or figurines. Shorter candles create an intimate glow and are great for layering with wide, spread-out centerpieces such as vines or tulle. You can always mix them together for a bit of both.

    When Should You Use Candles in a Tablescape?

    It's best to include candles for evening gatherings. If your dinner party extends from daylight into the evening, you can light the candles as the natural light dims, adding a warm and inviting transitional glow to your space. 

    Pro tip: this is a great task to delegate to those sweet guests who ask how they can help. 

    How Candleholders Can Enhance a Table Setting

    When it comes time to add soft, delicate light to your space, candles can be used in many ways. Use a variety of candleholders at different heights, shapes, and materials to create complexity and depth in your setting. Mix and match metallic finishes, glass, and ceramic candleholders for a stylish yet eclectic look. Incorporate different colors of candleholders to complement the overall tablescape and design and add visual interest, whether you're looking to light a maximalist Christmas gathering or a casual date night dinner. 

    Our new candleholders were designed with multifunctionality in mind, perfectly holding both taper and pillar candles. Choose between the all-natural ceramic Signature White candleholders and show off the hand-painted white brushed pattern. Bring serenity to your tablescape with the blue-hued color-blocked Iris Blue candle holders. All feature knobbed bodies and a ruffled head and foot, coming in three sizes: 10.75", 7.5", and 4".

    Basic Etiquette for Serving in Candlelight

    Before you strike a match, you must learn the etiquette for creating the perfect candlelit ambiance. First of all, don't get carried away with playing with fire: safety should always be a priority. Keep candles away from flammable materials and in stable candle holders to prevent accidents. Don't forget to trim your wicks before lighting to avoid sparks flying towards your favorite table linens.

    Never use a scented candle on a dinner or serving table. This can confuse the senses and interfere with how the guests taste your delicious food. Save your favorite floral and holiday scented waxes for the other entertaining spaces and powder rooms. 

    Candles and Candleholders Every Host Should Own

    Depending on the desired burn time for your event, as well as the overall theme, certain candles can work better than others:

    Tall Taper Candles

    When placed in a stylish candle holder, thin and tall taper candles can complete just about any table. We swear by the high-quality, solid Northern Lights Candles available in a variety of hues to suit any color scheme. And, of course, basic white pillar candles never fail.

    Sturdy and Striking Pillar Candles

    Pillar candles are thicker, typically cylindrical, candles that can either sit on their own or be supported by a sturdy candle holder. JingleNog has a few of our favorite multi-colored marbled pillar candles that bring life to any table setting. Clear hurricane glasses are also good accessories to have on hand as they protect the flame from the wind during outdoor gatherings. 

    Small Votives and Tealights

    Votives and tealights are perfect for casting low light around your serving space. For an all-around glow, we recommend investing in clear glasses. If you want to angle the light upward towards your guests, buy candle holders with solid sides. 

    2. Bring the Table to Life with Vases

      Vases allow you to showcase fresh blooms while complementing your dinnerware and décor theme. Although it may seem like a small detail, the vase you choose can help you create a cohesive and captivating visual focal point on your table. 

      Changing your dishes isn't the only way you can add a touch of seasonality to your table. Rotate your vase contents seasonally to reflect the changing atmosphere and ambiance of your dining space. In spring and summer, opt for vibrant floral arrangements, and in autumn and winter, consider using branches, berries, or seasonal foliage for a cozy and inviting touch.

      Our white ruffle vase was designed to work with just about any décor style, but when it comes to showing off your freshly picked florals, feel free to get creative with what you use in place of a vase. We love to feature pitchers, large canisters {sans lid}, and deeper bowls {for potted plants} in our tablescapes. 

      Favorite Creative Ways to Use a Vase

      Make your tablescape memorable by using your vases in creative ways, including: 

      Flower Bocking: use multiple small vases, each with different coordinating flowers in colors that match your theme, and tuck them together in the center of your table for a cohesive look. Follow this formula: 1-2 big, bold flower varieties, 2-3 medium-sized florals with funky textures or shapes, and 1-2 extra-small foliage, berries, or pods.

      Mini Arrangements: if you prefer an organized look, fill small vases with mini arrangements and spread them either in the center or spaced throughout the table. 

      One Big Statement: use a large urn or vase to create a larger-than-life, attention-grabbing centerpiece, either putting it in the center or to the side so guests can still see one another.

      Combination Style: match mini arrangements and big centerpieces together for a full, maximalist floral look throughout your serving spaces.

      Extra High Vases: add an elegant touch to a formal occasion, such as a wedding or gala, by using extra-tall centerpieces. Guests will talk through the leaves and petals, while still enjoying the experience. Place a vase in a nesting basket with legs to DIY this at home. 

      3. Make Everyone Feel at Home with Cloth Napkins

        Reusable, soft, and effortlessly beautiful, cloth napkins bring instant luxury to every table setting. It doesn't matter if you're hosting an elevated casual gathering or a formal celebration — with just a few carefully chosen table linens, any table setting can look {and feel} luxurious. 

        Selecting your cloth napkins is just the first step. Go the extra mile and learn a few fancy napkin folds that will take your tablescapes from basic to professional in no time. From rolling them up and securing them with striking napkin rings for grab-and-go style to elegantly draping them over the dinner plates in a waterfall style, the fold can make or break your table setting. 

        When to Use Cloth Napkins

        While some people assume cloth napkins are reserved for special occasions, we opt for them every day. Easy to clean and oh-so-stylish, a cloth napkin can elevate any meal, from casual breakfast to formal dinner parties. 

        Pro tip: for any formal events, such as a bridal shower, where guests are mingling with drinks in hand, match your napkins to cocktail napkins. Just keep a stack on the bar to carry the tablescape theme throughout your event. 

        4. Define Each Spot at the Table with Placemats

          We like to encourage setting the table with placemats for any {and all} occasions. Simply adding a placemat to your casual weeknight dinner can instantly elevate the event – and it's not too much work. Not only do they protect your dining surfaces from any damage caused by silverware or dinner sets, but they also help define every spot at the table. They also add something extra special: layerable style. 

          Mix and match these extra table linen layers for endless design possibilities. Pair them with matching napkins for a monochrome style, or go bold and different with a few different color combinations. Choose from different colors and shapes, from rectangular to round placemats, to create coordinated table settings for any gathering with placemats. 

          5. Don't Forget to Personalize the Tablescape with Accessories

            Tabletop accessories allow us to personalize every table setting as much as possible. From uniquely shaped figurines to useful serveware, you can consider each of these a functional dinnerware art piece. Solidify your theme and set a table you love with these essential accessories:

            • Butter dishes — choose from a variety of shapes and colors, from a classic white butter dish to a round blue butter dish
            • Salt and pepper shakers — a must-have for all meals. 
            • Toothpick holders — available in all sorts of whimsical animal and fruit shapes.
            • Cake stands — perfect for adding height to your table.
            • Ice bucket — could also double as a vase when not holding wine or Champagne. 

            With a little help, anyone can curate a collection of useful and stylish table decorations. Between learning how to brighten up your tablescape with candlelight and choosing the best vases and accessories for your theme, you can set a table you love for any occasion.

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