A stylish dining room table is the focal point of any dining area. While a beautifully decorated dining table creates an inviting atmosphere during social gatherings, it can often be overlooked between cocktail parties and family dinners.
However, understanding how to decorate a dining table, even when it’s not in use, can help create a sophisticated and elegant ambience in any dining room setting.
How to Decorate a Dining Table
The dining table is an integral part of the design scheme for a dining area. However, knowing how to elevate and make the most of a dining table can be difficult.
Dressing a dining room table is an art that goes beyond placing a few decorative items on the table itself. When styling a dining table, it is essential to consider precisely how decorative elements are placed and how they work with the decor of the wider room.
The setup of this dining room, featuring a Dan Dining Table, is centred around the bold lines of the windows, the chairs, the rug and the table itself | Designed by Christophe Delcourt for © Minotti London
From candlelight and fresh flowers to stunning centrepieces and majestic chandeliers, there are endless ways to style a dining table. With this Minotti London style guide, explore six different ways to dress a dining table.
Consider the Table Shape
This round Lou Dining Table is anchored by the hanging lights of different heights and complements the colours and textures of the space | Designed by Christophe Delcourt for © Minotti London
The first thing to consider when dressing a dining table is its shape, as this will directly affect how it is best styled. For example, square tables look best with symmetrical arrangements, while rectangular tables are more versatile and can handle different compositions.
Meanwhile, rectangular tables work well with ornaments displayed in the middle or on either end of the table. One elegant and subtle way to style a rectangular table is by placing a floral arrangement in the centre and candles on opposing ends of it.
On the other hand, round and oval-shaped dining tables offer even more versatility than rectangular ones as their shape lends itself to multiple configurations. Since they don’t have corners, they provide the perfect setting for centrepieces, such as candelabras or tall vases with a bouquet of flowers. Pendant lights above a round table paired with off-centre elements, such as a decorative bowl, create a sense of balanced asymmetry.
Style with a Centrepiece
Centrepieces are a simple yet effective way to style a dining table. Regardless of its shape, they add a focal point to the table and elevate the overall appearance of the dining room.
A centrepiece could be anything from a floral bouquet and colourful candles to bowls of fresh fruit and decorative ornaments, depending on the style of the interior decor.
For example, tall, metallic vases with flower arrangements are ideal for classic interior designs, as they add a touch of sophistication and elegance. On the other hand, a centrepiece made with greenery will give a fresh feel to a room and complement modern and minimalist interiors.
Meanwhile, a centrepiece made with candles can add a layer of lighting to the dining room and set the mood for a dinner party or a quiet, relaxing evening.
Layer Lighting in the Room
A dazzling chandelier may be one of the most prominent features in a dining room but there are many ways to play with and introduce different light sources that will work to set the perfect ambience for any occasion. One may consider layering the lighting with a few well-placed sconces and candles will add depth to the space.
Furthermore, a dimmer on the chandelier will help create an intimate setting for dinner parties, whereas lighting a few candles or switching the sconces will provide additional ambient light and brighten the space.
Classic chandeliers with elegant curves and ornate details work best for traditional style spaces as they lend an air of grandeur to the space.
Meanwhile, a pendant light can be an accent piece as well as a source of illumination. For large dining tables, suspending two or more pendant lights over it will even the lighting throughout the room. Sleek pendant lights that incorporate geometric shapes and clean lines work well in modern interior design styles.
Use a Tablecloth or a Runner
While a clean white tablecloth paired with lit candles on top of a dining table may be a classic way to decorate a dining table for an intimate occasion, table linens are available in a wide range of colours, shapes, materislas and pattens.
These simple table linens are wonderfully versatile and can effectively match a range of interior styles and colour schemes.
Furthermore, a tablecloth works well to protect a dining table while bringing its own unique charm to the setting. A coloured or patterned tablecloth on an elegant, neutral dining table with a glass top or a wooden structure will add colour to the dining room design.
However, for a more ornate dining table, placing a runner over the centre of the table will accentuate the table and add a subtle decorative touch instead of covering the entire surface with a tablecloth. Alternatively, a runner placed over a tablecloth can add an extra layer of sophistication.
Combine Different Decorative Elements
Placing various decorative elements beyond the centrepiece can add a sense of dimension and uniqueness to a dining table. Accessories, such as vases, flowers and even fruit bowls, will work to complement the entire decor.
For example, leafy plants such as palms, dracaenas or lucky bamboos placed in the centre of a dining table, work well with modern interior design styles while tall vases with colourful flowers, such as roses or lavender, placed in the centre and flanked by two candelabras create a more traditional look.
Create a Cohesive Colour Scheme
This Bellagio Dining – Pewter Table works exceptionally well in this space featuring wooden walls, floors and a high console table. Furthermore, it is complemented by the brown and black leather chairs | Designed by Gordon Guillaumier for © Minotti London
While placing various decorative elements on the dining table can add dimension and depth to the room, the key to creating an elegant dining table aesthetic is to make the decor look and feel complete.
A cohesive dining room can be achieved by choosing a colour scheme to match the dining table and chairs, as well as selecting matching decorative and functional elements, such as fruit bowls or candles.
For example, a dining table made of wood with warm tones and chairs in deep brown leather pair well with blues and greens. Leafy plants and bowls of tropical fruit complemented with candelabras look particularly well with this colour scheme.
Meanwhile, a marble dining table creates a white and cool grey colour palette, which can be complemented with brighter and bolder accents. With such a colour scheme, one might consider placing a white vase with red roses in the centre of the dining table. Here, golden candlesticks on each side of the vase will create an elegant and sophisticated aesthetic.
Conclusion: How to Dress a Dining Table
Dining tables come in all shapes and sizes, which means there is no single approach to styling one. Depending on one’s taste, there is a myriad of ways to style a dining table to suit any setting.
To summarise then, here are the six ways to style a dining table which have been covered in this design guide:
- Consider the table shape
- Style with a centrepiece
- Layer lighting in the room
- Use a tablecloth or a runner
- Mix and match decorative elements
- Create a cohesive colour scheme
To discover Minotti London’s collection of dining tables, visit our London showroom or contact our team for more information on the different design options available.