When your table is surrounded by the people who mean the most to you, a feeling of fullness comes to your heart. Full of love. Full of joy. Full of contentment. So often, we feel like our lives are rushed, chaotic, and unpredictable; but something happens when we’re sitting around a table with loved ones. Time slows down. Connections grow deeper. And your heart seems fuller. Reflect this feeling of fullness in how you set your table. A full table seems alive, filled yet not crowded, and ready to be shared. How do you achieve this aesthetic? You might be surprised to find out that an elaborate centerpiece isn’t at all necessary. Instead, consider using this simple & effective #HostfulHack for achieving this look – no centerpiece required.
#HostfulHack: To create a full tablescape without an elaborate centerpiece, consider the decorative serveware you choose and the food that fills it.
When choosing the food that fills your table, there are so many ways to bring in the essence of a special occasion or season. In fact, when we choose our menus, we consider the colors and scents so that our recipes do more than just speak to our sense of taste. So, let’s take a look at how food and decorative serveware can create a full tablescape design and speak to multiple senses.
#HostfulHack: Create a Full Tablescape – No Centerpiece Required
When there’s no centerpiece, an easy way to create a complete tabletop is through decorative serveware. Choose pieces that fill up physical space, like large serving bowls and platters, so that it creates a sense of wholeness as guests gather around. We always recommend investing in quality, neutral hues so that you can use the same pieces year round. Simply switch up the table throw, candles, and other tabletop components for new, inspired looks.
Serving a Deeper Purpose
Using decorative serveware on your tablescape design serves a deeply social-emotional purpose, as well. The intimate social experience of sharing a meal with others creates closer bonds through a communal experience. So, by simply going family-style with large serveware pieces for your next gathering, you’ll manifest deeper relationships – all by passing a dish to a loved one.
A Full Tablescape Through Food
What’s a gathering without food? Growing up, we always looked forward to Nana’s homemade meatballs and Mimi’s cooked carrots. Food is intertwined with so many of our cherished childhood memories. So, of course, we know food speaks to the sense of taste, but there’s so much more to this essential part of your tablescape design. How exactly does food elevate the dining experience in ways other than taste? We’re so glad you asked.
Pulling in the Colors of the Season
When choosing the recipes for your gathering, consider the colors of the food. Each season has its own color identities. Winter is deep and rich. Spring is pastel and light. Summer is vibrant and fresh. And, as we enter into fall, we’re looking to the earthy colors of foliage. Look to the foods that embrace these colors and the spirit of the season.
Soft & Muted
When choosing seasonal colors for any occasion, opt for soft hues to avoid having a discordant feel in your design. Instead of primary red, choose a deep maroon or a blush hue. Instead of a true orange, a peach or persimmon will convey the season without causing a clashing color palette. Going soft & muted with color choices will add to the overall harmonious look and feel, translating over to your gathering’s atmosphere.
Scents of the Season
What scents come to mind as you think of childhood gatherings during the fall season? Perhaps your imagining the sweet scents of pumpkin and apples, or maybe the spiciness of cinnamon and nutmeg. Reflect on these memories and choose recipes that embrace the scents of the season. When guests enter your home, they’ll immediately be transported back to those simpler times of childhood family gatherings. Plus, having seasonal scents helps set a festive tone. Encourage loved ones to forget their day-to-day worries and truly engage and be present. (It’s hard to not let go of stress when you’re breathing in the fresh scents of baking apples and sweet pumpkin!)
An Inspired & Fresh Atmosphere
With scent, we often rely on candles or essential oils to speak to this sense. Let’s go fresh this season by choosing foods that will fill the air in your home organically from nature. Consider spices along with fresh fruits and vegetables to help set the atmosphere as guests arrive. Then, incorporate candles as an added component of visual interest, such as seasonally-hued taper candles for an added bit of elegance.
Small Items With a Big Presence
Now that you have seasonal food items and spacious decorative serveware filling your table, now it’s time to add a few small touches to complete the space. As a base, we always recommend starting with a table throw as the foundation to your tablescape, but there are many items that don’t take up much space at all, yet add a boundless amount of warmth and ambiance to any room.
Let’s talk about the beautiful simplicity of candles.
If you’re wanting to add more to your tablescape, consider adding candles or tea lights. These items instantly create a sense of coziness to your table, conveying a message of relaxation and harmony to guests. Taper candles easily add a touch of classic sophistication and come in a variety of colors to meet the season. Tea lights offer a casual yet stunning glow to any design. Finally, pillar candles are a great option when needing a bit more space to be taken up on your table top. The choice is yours, as any of these candle options will provide an elevated feel with minimal effort.
So, when it comes down to it, having no centerpiece is actually no problem at all. Creating a full tablescape can easily be done through other means, such as food, serveware and simple additions such as candles. Regardless of the items you choose to fill your table with, remember that our goal is to feel that fullness in our hearts and souls, as well. Look back on your favorite memories of friends and family gathering together. What made it so special? Were you present? Did you let go of your day-to-day stress? Did you make a point to reconnect with a loved one and nurture those bonds? Those choices add up quickly and create that fullness we all wish to feel inside our hearts, no matter what is on your table.
Commonly Asked Questions
With Elaborate Centerpieces, Where Do I Place the Food?
We’ve shared about how food & decorative serveware can physically fill your tablescape and also how food choices can fill your home through scent and colors. However, you might find yourself in the opposite situation if you have an elaborate centerpiece. Where exactly should you place the food when you’ve created a beautiful, but vast, centerpiece medley? Luckily, you have a few options that’ll still create a communal experience.
Option #1: Utilize Your Corners
When your centerpiece leaves little room in the center of your table, consider using the corners of your table for food placement. These underused areas of your table are the perfect place to set your serveware, allowing for the communal experience of enjoying a shared meal with loved ones.
Option #2: Utilize Other Dining Room & Kitchen Fixtures
When placing food in the corners isn’t an option, consider using your dining room buffet or adjacent kitchen peninsula as a place to display your decorative serveware and food. Generally speaking, the closer the food is to where the heart of your gathering is happening, the better. So, choose a place that’s close enough that if someone needed seconds, the location of the food doesn’t take them out of the room where the conversations and connections are taking place.
What if I don’t have a buffet or kitchen peninsula available? If a peninsula or buffet isn’t close enough to the dining room table, a simple folding table is always a good choice! To add a touch of elegance, drape the folding table with a linen in a soft, seasonal hue. You can also incorporate some items from your centerpiece medley onto the folding table (or buffet and peninsula!) to keep a cohesive, flowing feel to the space. This could mean placing the same type of flowers or candles on these extensions of your tablescape design, or simple choosing similar hues to pull together a feeling of wholeness and completion.
The Art of Letting Go
Here’s a hard truth: no matter how much you plan, organize, and do, something will not go as planned. Something will not look how you had hoped it would look. Something won’t be ready on time or organized in the best way. But don’t fall into the trap of telling yourself that you’re failing or subpar. Don’t feed yourself the lies that you lack some sort of skill set or that you don’t have the items needed to host. Instead, in these moments, practice the art of letting go.
Let go all of the pressure, of all the balls you’re juggling. Accept that some are going to fall. Your inner self doesn’t need a negative lecture. On the contrary, she needs self-love. Give yourself a break. Embrace the fact that no matter what is on your tabletop, the heart of your special occasion comes from the intangible. Being present. Nurturing connections. Tapping into the immeasurable love you have to give, and the openness of your heart to receive love back.
So, centerpiece or not, allow your tablescape to reflect the fullness you feel in your heart and soul this season. And, if you’re feeling a little half-full right now for whatever reason, know that inviting loved ones into your home will fill you right up.
Give love. Receive love. Become full.
Hap-Bee Hosting, friend!