Tips for creating tablescapes: dazzling works of art for your home

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• June 1, 2013

Accessories are the most important part of any interior decorating project. They are the finishing touch. They make your home. They are personal and reflect your lifestyle. But often it is a bit of a challenge as to exactly what to do with your accessories. Where to put them and how to arrange them. 

Pottery Barn's sawhorse console table is perfect for creating a themed tablescape with candles, mirror, flowers and treasured beach objects. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Pottery Barn's sawhorse console table is perfect for creating a themed tablescape with candles, mirror, flowers and treasured beach objects. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Tablescapes and vignettes to the rescue. They are the most creative, fun and cost effective way to add that perfect design element to your home.  You have seen them in magazines and in catalogues. And with a little planning and a few tips, you can create one of your own or have your decorator help you design one.  As a southwest Florida interior decorator, they are one of my favorite design elements to create. 

Blues, whites and natural elements are the theme of this tablescape from Williams and Sonoma Home. Photo: Williams and Sonoma Home.

Blues, whites and natural elements are the theme of this tablescape from Williams and Sonoma Home. Photo: Williams and Sonoma Home.

What are tablescapes?

Creatively designed table arrangements that showcase a specific object or collection. In addition to tabletops, items such as bookshelves, coffee tables and mantles can be transformed into a unique tablescape. In addition, tablescaping can include the placement of tables to create an appealing focal point within a given area, which is a great way to add interest to a room.

They can be themed, dazzling, all one color scheme or varied colors, subtle or nature-oriented. They should reflect your personality and decorating style. You can do one for every holiday and change them for each season. The sky is the limit in terms of creativity. They are a work of art. Your art.

Tablescaping emphasizes your personal touch through the use of favorite collections or themes. Finding the perfect theme for your tablescape depends on personal preference as well as the current style of your décor.  Objects in tablescapes do not have to match perfectly but they should complement each other to achieve balance.

Where to create a tablescape or vignette ?

You may have a dining room table that is just sitting vacant now that all of the major holiday are over. Perfect for a tablescape. Or a coffee table or end table thathas been gathering odds and ends. Or a buffet that is waiting for its next party. A fireplace mantle or a bookcase that needs a little pizzazz. Perfect for a bit of rearranging into a vignette.  And don‘t forget the nightstands in your bedrooms...each one should be styled with the objects that you love. A few books and a couple of your favorite (small) things. Voila! It makes all the difference.

Coffee table bench from Pottery Barn is tablescaped with collections on a tray. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Coffee table bench from Pottery Barn is tablescaped with collections on a tray. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Tips for creating a tablescape or vignette

• Pick a location and measure the space that you will be designing.

• The location might be a table top that combines a piece of art on the wall with the elements on the table.

• Need ideas? Go through magazines and online catalogues. My favorites: Williams and Sonoma Home, RalphLauren Home, Ballard Designs.

• Gather elements that you already have and arrange them. Take a photo.

• Come up with a theme based on objects that you love.

• Select different objects of varying heights. These caninclude:  lamp, mirror, piece of art, books, collections, photos, vase of flowers, a beautiful tray.

• Leave some space on the surface.  Don’t let it become too cluttered.

• Less is more. Like jewelry, take off the last piece that you put on.

• Decide what you need and go shopping (with your photo and measurements).

• Finalize your arrangement.  Take a photo and send it to me. I will select a few and post them on my blog! 

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Her column, Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog