My Tips for Creating a Formal Dinner Party Table

I love to host, plan events (…go to events) and basically entertain. So when it comes to entertaining in my own home, I like nothing more than hosting a good old-fashioned dinner party. I actually really enjoy all the preparation that goes into creating the event, from deciding on the meal plan, sourcing the ingredients and setting up the dinner table.

I could spin-off here and talk about what dinner party recipes I love to cook and how I time manage my day leading up to the evening’s event, but that is a blog post all in itself! In this post, I am going to talk about how I lay my dinner table for a party, the table decor that I like to use and what tips I can share to help you create your own beautiful table.

The first thing to think about when hosting a dinner party is what type of evening you are aiming to achieve as this will very much dictate the layout and style of decor that you use. For example, if you would like a suave and sophisticated evening complemented with a 3-course meal, you may want to lay your cutlery in a more formal manner and decorate your table with a much fuller and dramatic centrepiece. On the other hand, if you would like a more relaxed evening with food sharing platters you may decide to keep the place settings more casual and the table decor to a minimum. I like both and do both but in this post, I am going to share with you my formal table decor.

You can never underestimate the impact that fresh flowers can give to your table decor. They can provide ‘lift’ in the emotive sense and also in the physical sense by drawing the eye to different levels. You can use full blooms to introduce a bit colour to your table or just simple green foliages to add a bit of substance. Here, I have used fresh eucalyptus which I like to place along the table and in glass vases. One thing to ensure is that the natural eye level across the table is not obstructed by any flowers as this can be a real annoyance for your guests when trying to speak with each other!

When sourcing all the items I wish to place on my table (plates, placemats, glasses etc), I approach the design process no differently to how I would a room. It’s all about the styling and what works well together. Varying materials, colours, heights and textures. You could create a mood board specifically for a table setting design! I do however like to work with what I already know I like (if that makes sense?). My kitchen/open plan room reflects my style and taste, therefore, why not use this as the basis to design my table decor? Not only does this make the design process slightly easier, it makes the table fit perfectly in your home style.

For this table design, I introduced my much loved polished cutlery from Robert Welch to match my table legs and kitchen door handles, smoked grey water glasses from Hübsch to mirror the anthracite grey frames of my sliding glass doors and blue bottom wine glasses from HomeSense to tie in with my kitchen island and cushions.

Placemats can form part of the key design of any table setting. They frame the plate and the food on it and can tie in with your colour scheme. Here I have layered two different styles of a placemat, the woven one is from Rural Urban and the slate one is from Robert Welch. I like their varying sizes and their contrasting materials which gives interest and dimension to the table.

Lastly, one of my must-haves for a table setting is mood lighting. I love to bring in a bit sparkle, charm and ambience to the room. This can be achieved by either placing tealights in small glass votives along the table, adding tall candlesticks with candles in or by introducing a small wired string of LED’s. Around the room, I also like to have further candles and various floor and side lamps on.

These salt and pepper mills are from Robert Welch (linked here). I have had them a while now but they still sit proudly on my dining table.

I hope you found this post interesting and can take something useful from it.

Thanks for reading!



  1. Leah (happy_when_organised)
    June 14, 2018 / 4:39 pm

    Love this post , i’m a big fan of dinner parties, i think some friends/family think I go over the top, but when I go to dinner and someone has made a big effort, i think it makes the evening more special. Love your elegant table settings.

    • justalittlebuild
      June 14, 2018 / 5:04 pm

      I totally agree with you!

  2. J
    July 22, 2018 / 6:01 am

    Hello, where is your beautiful table from? Thanks!

    • justalittlebuild
      July 22, 2018 / 7:31 am

      Hi, it’s from Modish Living x

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