9 Dining Table Decor Ideas For Hosting Grand Dinner Parties

You don't need a holiday or a special excuse to deck out your dinner table with decor.


Nina Vartanava/Getty Images

If anything has come out of the past few years, it’s a renewed sense of appreciation for quality time with the people we love. From the once-in-a-lifetime celebration of a wedding to a little holiday we like to call Friday, moments big and small have taken on new importance in the wake of social distancing.

The best part? Entertaining those you love comes hand-in-hand with a carte blanche for flexing your creative muscles. Extravagant dinner party scenes are trending in a big way these days, leaving no shortage of inspiration for creating a tablescape designed to add a little something something to every occasion. Swap out disposable paper napkins with colorful cloth ones that not only level up your table decor but are a more sustainable product. Whether you’re looking for a rich, sumptuous tablescape to match your first attempt at coq au vin or a casual-cool display to upgrade Chinese takeout, these clever (and easy!) dining table ideas will make your table the place to be.

Pot Up Some Plants

Table Decor with Plants

Nicki Sebastian for Heather Taylor Home

Your dinner party grocery list probably rivals the length of a CVS receipt, so there’s no reason to break the bank on party decor, too. Instead of springing for a slew of fresh blooms for the table (which can get seriously pricy), utilize some herbs or small plants for your table, like this charming scene from Heather Taylor Home. Not only will they act as an understated yet elegant centerpiece during dinner, but they can have a second life in your garden post-party.

Play With Patterns

Colorful Dining Table Decor

Kirsten Francis for Land of Belle

Don’t have a perfectly coordinated set of place settings for 12? No sweat! Nothing captures the fun, irreverent nature of a spontaneous dinner party quite like a boatload of bold patterns. Mix and match your favorite plates, flatware, and linens for a playful scene packed with prints. You can unify the vibe by sticking to a similar color palette throughout, like this copper and blue tablescape from Land of Belle.

Ready, Set, Glow

Dining Table Decor with glass candle holders

Divine Day Photography for SposiamoVi

When it comes to setting the scene—and setting the mood—never underestimate the power of candlelight. Flip off your home’s overhead lights and instead rely on a runner of pillar candles to keep the table aglow. Opt for traditional white and glass—as seen here in a tabletop design by SposiamoVi—to keep the backdrop minimal and let the food do the talking.

Make the Food the Star

Table Decor with bread and cheese

Jessica LaRue for A Daily Something

Let’s face it—during a dinner party, everyone is there for the eats (and the company, of course). Give your feast its rightful place in the spotlight by dedicating your entire tablescape to its presence. Creator Rebecca Gallop of A Daily Something turned the traditional table runner on its head, instead opting for a scrumptious display of charcuterie spanning the length of the table. We guarantee, your guests will be drooling (and snapping pics for Insta) from the moment they take their seats.

Personalize Your Place Settings

Pink and green tablescape

Liz Barnes for Coral and Co. Events

One of the tricks to being a great host lies in making your guests feel welcome and special—and nothing does that better than a designated seat at a dinner party. Skip the traditional tented card in place of this fresh twist from Coral and Co. Events: a personalized placemat. Design your own using an easy program like Canva or scrawl the names of your guests in script on a craft paper table runner.

Add Bespoke Lighting

Tablescape with LED lamps

Adam Kuehl for Houses & Parties

To bring a little bit of glow to your tabletop, look no further than petite LED lamps, like the vintage-inspired silk style that dots this scene from Houses and Parties. Design-forward LED lamps are a mainstay at chic high-end restaurants, and they’ll add a considered, luxe appeal to your tabletop, too. Not to mention they’ll act as a flattering IRL Insta-filter that all your guests are sure to appreciate.

Theme Your Scene

Summer tablescape

Courtney Whitmore for Pizzazzerie

If you find your dinner party menu skewing heavily towards a certain cuisine or locale, why not make it your decor north star for the evening? From a French feast complete with frilly china that would make Marie Antoinette swoon to an Americana clam bake styled with individual picnic “baskets”—as seen here from creator Courtney Whitmore of Pizzazzerie—a themed scene can easily elevate any evening to celebration status.

Pick a Playful Element

Tablescape with wavy candles

Madeline Tolle for Mandy Cheng Design

No matter how formal your taste (or menu) skews, it’s always good to show you don’t take yourself too seriously. Keep your tabletop decor feeling fresh by selecting one or two elements to have a bit of cheeky fun with. Here, a stunning and sophisticated dining table dreamed up by Mandy Cheng Design gets a playful twist in the form of squiggly candlesticks in bright fuschia, bubble gum pink, and peach. Love the look? You can snag a similar set from Uncommon Goods.

Max Out with Maximalism

Misette Table

Courtesy of Misette Table

Want to really impress your guests? Subscribe to a more-is-more ethos. Take this personality-packed mise-en-scène from Misette as proof-positive that no print is too plentiful and no pattern too many when it comes to creating a fun scene that is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the stomach. Feel free to spring for new napkins or a standout platter, or simply pair together items already in your collection that you feel have no business going together (trust us, they do).

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