How to Create a Pretty Table Setup

Way before I started taking whole room shots of my house for Instagram, I was always fascinated with flat lays and beautifully set tables and décor on Pinterest. In fact, my early Pinterest boards consisted of table settings, food displayed on fabulous tableware and latte art (I’m now a little disappointed when my barista does not put an artfully drawn feather into the foam! I used to get upset when they called last orders at the bar, how my life has changed ).

I always wanted to give it a go, but with mismatched tableware and chipped glasses, I thought my attempts would be in vain!

How I want my breakfast every morning! Instagram – @bei.bei.wei

My first attempts at styling

My first proper attempts at décor were pretty woeful. I’d always have a good go at Christmas to set the perfect table, which literally consisted of cutlery, some glasses for wine, Christmas crackers and a centrepiece of flowers or baubles in a vase. I thought that if I added any more decor, it would make it extremely cluttered and no room left for food. Until I found out how much I enjoyed finding and sourcing beautiful tableware and creating a scene fit for a wedding (or your Mum coming over for a roast!) Here are my tips on how to create an Instaworthy setting…

My early attempts at table setting – Instagram – @melaniejadedesign

The most important part, the furniture!

First of all, you need the perfect table and chairs to give a solid base for the look. I absolutely love reclaimed wood dining tables and find rectangular shapes easier to work into a space, especially if you can get extended versions (for that ONE day a year when you have more than 4 people around your table!) I know a lot of people prefer rounded tables as it is easier to fit people around them, but they can often be harder to fit into what is normally a rectangular room. And the more rustic, the better!

I love tables with texture and history ingrained into the wood. Unfortunately, ours was quite cheap and due to having children, the varnish has been scrubbed off, felt tip and glitter added, and it is in very poor condition. So I purchased a wood effect cover from here – Jolee table cloths

A herringbone style table, complete with benches –
A Scandi inspired dining room, complete with rustic table –
My wood effect table cover doing a great job!


Chairs, I feel, are not so easy to pick. I love the contemporary look of the Eames style dining chair and you can get them in so many different colours these days, you really can achieve an original look. I bought my white Eames style chairs from Lakeland Furniture – and they are very child resistant (i.e. crayons, paint and snot to name but a few fluids easily wipe off. Not the fact that the chairs repel children from the dining table.

Although, sometimes I wish they would!!) But these days I am being drawn more towards vintage style chairs, chairs that have been salvaged from skip yards or found in thrift stores. I think mixing these styles provides a unique and interesting look.

A stunning example of mixing vintage dining chairs from the Queen of table styling – Instagram: @sixat21
Eames Style chair – Lakeland Furniture
Ercol style Windsor Chair –
Metal Copper Chair –
A mix of metal and wood –

Decorating the table

Once the furniture is in place, you need to decide how to decorate. Do you go with a tablecloth or runner? Do you add foliage and candles, or keep it simple with the food displayed on beautiful rustic serving boards? And what about placemats?

Personally, I think that if you have a beautiful rustic setting, it would be a shame to cover it up with a tablecloth, so a runner would be perfect to soften up the décor. And if you’re not using a cloth, place-mats are perfect to add texture and colour and of course, protect your table from spillage, (gravy stains I’m looking at you!)

The most stunning table cloth – H&M Home
A linen tablecloth to create a relaxed look – H&M Home
A beautiful navy blue and gold runner – Fox & Ivy
I love this Scandi inspired table runner – John Lewis
Fabulously colourful place-mats, how different is the Peacock inspired mat? – John Lewis
A simple woven seagrass placemat – Ikea


No table setting is complete without complimentary tableware, cutlery and glassware. I’ve recently painted my kitchen dark blue with copper accents and I am absolutely loving the Studio Blue range from Denby Pottery. It’s a beautiful stoneware collection featuring plates, jugs and mugs which are ideal for informal dining.

They have bowls in various sizes, including pasta and cereal bowls and large serving bowls which are perfect for a centrepiece salad. I am also loving gold and copper cutlery at the moment, I think they provide that little bit of luxury, especially if you team it with gold rimmed or stemmed glassware.

The beautiful Studio Blue collection by Denby Pottery
Studio Blue plates, perfect with copper cutlery (and my thumb print on the knife for extra measure 🙂 I didn’t realise until too late!)
Copper Coloured cutlery set –
Gold foil wine glasses – Oliver Bonas

Now the fun part…

Finally, with the all-important tableware and crockery laid out on the table, you can finish your setting with napkins and fill in the gaps with candles, foliage, plinths and serving boards. Napkins can be laid underneath the plates or carefully folded and tied with foliage, ribbon or string. With a lot of detail already on the table, keep the foliage simple with eucalyptus, fern or ivy laid along the centre or placed in a vase. You could also get a little creative by placing foliage in clear bottles and placing candles in the neck.

Plinths are an ideal addition if you are planning to put hot dishes straight out onto the table for people to help themselves. Using mini plinths like these ones from WAB Home are great if you are running out of space. In my eyes, one of the most important additions to your décor is a beautiful rustic serving board. They can be used for any meal occasion… placing a hot pot of tea with condiments and pastries out for breakfast, displaying breads and meats for people to help themselves at lunch or using it as a cheese board at a dinner party.

There are so many wonderful variations out there these days, you do not have to be confined to wood. You can choose from slate, granite, glass or one of my favourite materials, marble.

Heart Print napkins – The White Company
Plinths are a great table addition, use your imagination on how to style it – Instagram: @wabhome
Studio Blue nesting bowls – Denby Pottery
Serving boards are the perfect table accessory!
A very festive serving board – Home Sense
A £3 rustic wooden candlestick from Asda!!
My first real attempt at table styling. I’ll admit, I’ve got a long way to go!! Instagram: @melaniejadedesign

So, there you have it, a few little ideas on how to turn your dining room from drab to fab! You can make it as simple or as fancy as you like, and it doesn’t have to cost the earth. I hope you found some inspiration in this post and thanks for reading!

Mel x


    • Melanie Boyden
      10/06/2020 / 12:46 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  1. Viviana
    01/08/2020 / 6:01 am

    Where an I buy that table?

    • Melanie Boyden
      02/08/2020 / 4:05 pm

      Hello. Which table? Mel 🙂

      • Viviana
        08/09/2020 / 2:27 am

        The one that has this description, I love it and have not found another like it
        “Plinths are a great table addition, use your imagination on how to style it – Instagram: @wabhome“

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