How To

Dining Table Decor Guide

When your dining table isn’t being used for a household meal – or, perhaps one of its many other activities, such as studying, board games, wine and cheese nights, or catching up on the day’s work – it’s the perfect vessel for a little styling. To truly give your dining table the honour it deserves as the centrepiece of your dining room, add your favourite decor pieces and create a stunning tablescape that looks good and shows off your style, 24/7.

Of course, it’s not as easy as just collecting items in the centre of your dining table. We asked our team of knowledgeable stylists for their go-to dining table decor ideas – here’s what they had to offer…

1. Start with size

The first step to establishing the most stunning, droolworthy dining table setting is to work with what you’ve got. There’s absolutely no point in styling a small dining table like it’s a mammoth twelve-seater, just like a huge amount of real estate can’t be treated like it’s tiny. Size is a huge contributor, and will affect both how much room you take up on the table, and the size of the homewares items you choose.

If you’re working with something with room for six seats or less, you’ll want to keep your table decor minimal and on the smaller side as to avoid overwhelming the table. On the other hand, you can go a little bigger with an 8-seater dining table or larger. Of course, if you have an extendable dining table, you might also have some wiggle room when it comes to styling. As a rule of thumb, though, try not to take up more than a third of the table in length (unless you’re using a table runner as decor) or in width.


2. Material matters

As you embark on this journey, you might be wondering: does the material of your dining table affect styling? The answer is a resounding yes, but not in a way that’s unmanageable. The material of your dining table will simply have bearing on the types of decor you choose, but the way you play it is totally up to you.

For example, if you have a polished concrete dining table, you could decide to lean into the industrial look with shades of black and grey, metals, and sharp, edgy shapes. On the other hand, it’s totally chic to embrace the ‘urban jungle’ vibe with greenery or flowers – but linen napkins in a soft pink might feel pretty out of place. Keep material in mind when styling, and some things will just fit where others fall away.

A round table’s curves pair perfectly with organic circular shapes in your decor choices.
A round table’s curves pair perfectly with organic circular shapes in your decor choices.

3. Consider shape

A round table’s curves pair perfectly with organic circular shapes in your decor choices.
A round table’s curves pair perfectly with organic circular shapes in your decor choices.

Another element of your dining setting that can dictate the way you style it with decor is shape. A round dining table provides a completely different canvas to a square dining table, or an oval-shaped or rectangular one. One thing that may change based on the shape of your dining table is the shape of the objects you select. Inherently, the curves of a circular surface will encourage more fluidity, whereas something angular like a square table will suit sharp lines and blocky shapes. However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule – mix it up however you like to really inject your personality into the space. A hot tip is to always try to style from the centre axes, using the very middle of the table as an anchor and working your way out.

4. Pair with your chairs

Finally, the last element of your existing furniture that should contribute to how you style up the space is your dining chairs. They’re not separate entities, but rather, your dining table and chairs form a set that should be considered on the whole. Let your choice of dining chair be reflected back through your styling decisions. For instance, if you’re working with upholstered chairs, opt for soft material decor (think napkins and table runners) in a similar or complementary shade. If the vibe is totally mid century modern, a geometric trinket or a bold jewel tone might tie things together. Whatever your style, let it seep into your choices from here on out.


5. Select a colour palette

Now, it’s time to start styling. A key thing you’ll want to determine before you begin picking and placing items is the colour palette you’re working with. Intrinsically, your dining space will likely have its own established colour scheme, with primary colours and accents. Dining table styling is a great opportunity to bring in some of those lesser-used shades and use them to make this chic corner of the room pop. Try to select around three colours, one of which is a neutral – this will likely be the colour of your table, such as black, brown, white or grey. Don’t stray too far beyond this number to avoid overwhelming the space. After all, you’re working with a very small surface area, and don’t want to draw the eye away from other focal points in your dining room.

Functionality first: you can take the approach of using only what is needed, keeping it simple with a singular vase to allow plenty of room for your servingware and food.
Functionality first: you can take the approach of using only what is needed, keeping it simple with a singular vase to allow plenty of room for your servingware and food.

6. Functionality first

Functionality first: you can take the approach of using only what is needed, keeping it simple with a singular vase to allow plenty of room for your servingware and food.
Functionality first: you can take the approach of using only what is needed, keeping it simple with a singular vase to allow plenty of room for your servingware and food.

A common mistake many make when styling their off-duty dining table is incorporating irrelevant or impractical decor items that don’t have a place in the dining room. Always be sure to take a functionality first approach – not only will it make your styling ten times better, but it’ll ensure you have the things you need to hand when it’s time to dine. These pieces will really add value to your tablescape, and will fit with the overall mood of the room. Consider practical decor items such as napkin holders, candlesticks or individual candles, vases and flowers, and table runners – each of these can then be rearranged and used immediately if you have guests over or are simply sitting down for a family meal.

7. Play with height

When you begin to arrange your carefully-selected items on the dining table, it might feel a little weird. Where do you begin? Which item is the ‘hero’? Should you lay them all out individually, or stack them up? Well, we know that the first rule of thumb is to start from the centre of the table and work your way out, and horizontal symmetry is another go-to directive – always try to have your items, however they’re arranged, displayed evenly on both sides. But, another handy hint here is to really use height and levels to your advantage.

Playing with height will give your dining table styling the depth and dimension it needs, something that’s difficult to achieve otherwise. So, when you’re selecting the decor bits you want to display, try to curate a mix of shapes, sizes and heights to meld together. To create a stack, start with a few flat items, such as books, and then add height with a vase, candle holder or tall trinket item. As you figure out what works for your tablescape, try to disregard the need for vertical symmetry by placing higher items on one side of your table’s centre axis and lower ones on the other.


8. Add greenery

With your layout nailed down, and those essential, must-have items in a place of pride on your dining table, it’s time to add the finishing touches. One great way to liven up your dining table when it’s not being used – a tip that works with absolutely any style and design aesthetic – is to add some greenery through potted plants or flowers. Grab your favourite vase or pot (perhaps one in a complementary colour from your palette) and bundle together your favourite blooms or a leafy green plant that brings life and joy to the home. You’ll love the pop of brightness it adds.

Personal pieces can bring joy to your decor. A dinner set that's been in your family for generations? It deserves a permanent spot on the table!
Personal pieces can bring joy to your decor. A dinner set that's been in your family for generations? It deserves a permanent spot on the table!

9. Sentimentality matters

Personal pieces can bring joy to your decor. A dinner set that's been in your family for generations? It deserves a permanent spot on the table!
Personal pieces can bring joy to your decor. A dinner set that's been in your family for generations? It deserves a permanent spot on the table!

The last touch should be something sentimental or meaningful, if you have a relevant item and are so inclined. Your dining table decor will feel so much more ‘you’ and representative of your family with a personal piece incorporated. This might be a photo frame, a trinket from your travels, an object from someone’s childhood – there are really no right or wrong answers, as long as it’s not too bulky and fits the ‘decor’ bill. Add your sentimental touch onto a stack or as a juxtaposition to the more functional items like candle holders and vases.

10. Incorporate your surrounds

With your table setting looking stunning, there’s one thing left to do – give your dining room’s surrounds a little spruce to tie everything together. Where your dining table sits in the room shouldn’t feel disconnected from your table setting, or out of place stylistically, but instead, should feel like an extension of your curated tablescape. Take a look at the immediate area and make tweaks so that everything feels super cohesive.

For instance, if you’ve chosen a wooden dining table with bright, fun accents, can you swap out your wall art and its frame behind the dining area to incorporate these colours and materials? Perhaps a marble lamp base will tie together your marble dining table, or you can change the knobs on your sideboard to a complementary black tone to match your black dining table and minimalist setting. Add a gorgeous rug on the floor that brings in the colours from your existing palette. Whatever style you’ve established, and whichever design elements you’ve so carefully selected, try to reflect them back in subtle ways throughout the dining table so that everything feels like it’s part of the same whole.

The final step? Take a deep breath, step back, and admire your handiwork. Although it might seem like an inconsequential thing, creating a gorgeous dining table decor setting isn’t easy work, but truly pays off. It’s an unmatched way to bring some flair to your dining room when the table isn’t being used, and to show off your unique personality and style.

Here at Brosa, we’ve got hundreds of stunning furniture styles just waiting for you, including dining tables and dining room decor. Shop our range today with Australia-wide shipping, including white glove service, and flexible payment options available.