How to Design Budget Tablescapes that Look Expensive

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Last week in Tablescapes: Budget Table Settings that Look Expensive, we learned 8 different ways to buy budget tablescape supplies.  If you haven’t read it already, go check it out.  Now, we’re going to learn how to take all those thrifty table setting items and put them together into frugal tablescapes that look expensive (but won’t break the bank).

The first part of creating gorgeous magazine-quality tablescapes on a budget is to start with frugal supplies that look expensive. 

The second part is knowing how to design and arrange your inexpensive materials for maximum impact, as well as extra tablescaping tips and tricks of the pros.  Follow our step by step instructions below to learn how to design budget tablescapes.

Design Your Tablescape First

1.  Decide on which colors you want to use.  Stick to no more than 2-3 colors.

2.  Pick a centerpiece.  Often, the centerpiece you choose will determine what the rest of the table setting looks like.  Choose a vase of flowers, a potted plant, a tabletop mini water fountain, a ceramic statue, a filled basket, a candle holder, or something similar.

3.  Set out all supplies and make sure you have all the pieces you’ll need.  Although you have many options, only choose the items you want to use:

  • Large Plates
  • Small Plates Tip of the Pros:
    Use a beveled mirror circle or square under your centerpiece to add visual depth to your tablescape.
  • Bowls
  • Chargers
  • Centerpiece
  • Tablecloth
  • Table Runner
  • Placemats
  • Napkins
  • Napkin Rings
  • Glasses
  • Tea cups and saucers
  • Flatware (Silverware)
  • Candles and candle holders
  • Flowers and vase
  • Place cards
  • etc.

Tips for Magazine-Quality Tablescapes

Your supplies don’t have to cost a  lot to look expensive.  As mentioned in part 1, make sure you opt for “rich” materials with unique touches.  The key to designing lush magazine-quality tablescapes is to layer your materials.  Linens will be layered on top of other linens, dishes will be stacked upon other dishes, etc. Here are some magazine table setting tips that you’ll want to remember:

1.  Use a beveled mirror circle or square under your centerpiece to add visual depth to your tablescape.

2.  Your centerpiece doesn’t have to be only one item; it can be a collection of items.  Use a grouping of candles, a collection of ceramic figures, etc.

3.  If using a floral centerpiece, use one extraordinarily tall stem of flowers along with regular height stems to draw the eye upward and really make a statement.

4.  Tie the centerpiece into the place settings by sprinkling something complementary around the centerpiece.  This could be flower petals, glitter, confetti, silk leaves, or anything else that matches the decor.

5.  Ivy bowls are inexpensive decorative touch and can be used to hold other items.  Line them with cloth napkins, then fill with favors, silverware, flowers, potpourri and more.

6.  Mismatch dishes with unique vintage and antique pieces to add variety and make your setting interesting.

7.  Use different shapes of chargers and plates.  A square charger and round plate look nice together, just as a round charger with a scalloped plate contrast well.

8.  Use 2 place mats at each setting and layer them.  For example, a rectangular red mat placed normally could be accented by a plaid cloth napkin place beneath in a diamond shape.

Don’t miss our tablescape how to next week, How to Properly Set a Table, with step by step instructions on how to put together a tablescape and proper etiquette for arranging formal place settings

Find more beautiful tablescapes with Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch, Homemaker Mondays at 11th Heaven, and Works for Me Wednesday frugal tips at We are That Family.

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