Table setting ideas to impress your guests

10 gorgeous options for every occasion, from dinner parties to weddings

Table settings are essential for a large family meal on the big day. Make your dining experience a stylish affair with these fantastic table setting ideas. Make a striking statement with inexpensive decorations, ornaments and a few crafty ideas.

Start with simple low-cost furniture and build a fashionable scheme around it. Explore our selection of design ideas for your dining table – perfect for every occasion.

Menu favours

For cream parchment paper and silver pens, try Hobbycraft.

Sometimes the simplest table setting ideas are the best.

Fill a small paper bag with homemade biscuits or sweets, then peg a pretty hand-written menu card to the bag.

Use parchment-style paper to evoke an old-world theme, and write in metallic pens for a shimmery finish.

Fairytale fun

Give guests drinks miniatures - complete with a decorative butterfly David Brittain

For similar card labels, try Not on the High Street.

Treat guests to a little bottle of their favourite tipple, presented on a mirrored tile and decorated with small butterflies for a magical look.

You’ll find a good range of labels available to buy online, or you could make your own using a hole punch and some plain card.

Chalkboard placemats

Use chalkboards and slate to create personalised place settings Charlotte Tolhurst

For mini chalkboards, try Hobbycraft; or for slate tiles try Topps Tiles.

There was a time when chalkboards belonged on children’s easels or the walls of a classroom, and nowhere else. Today, though, we are hanging them around our homes or creating them bespoke. Here, a simple slate tile works sensationally as a placemat. Chalkboards look great and allows us to scrawl straight onto a surface, making them perfect for table settings.

Simply write your guests’ name straight on to this easy to wipe surface, which you can use over and over again. Get creative by attaching a few pine cones or ribbons with glue.

If you’d like to make your own placemats, visit your local DIY shed and buy a few inexpensive slate tiles.

Use PVA glue to fix a piece of cut-to-size felt to the base of the tile to prevent scratches to your table.

Scrabble name place markers

Such an easy option, but effective Simon Whitmore

Get creative with classic Scrabble board game, Argos.

Use Scrabble letter tiles and trays to spell out your guests’ names for a really personal place setting. Alternatively, spell out out a favourite saying for an added personal touch. Your guests will have endless fun seeing what words they can make from the letters they have been given.

Dinner-party biscuit decorations

Home-baked biscuits are much more personal than shop-bought after-dinner mints Simon Whitmore

For gingham ribbon, take a look at the selection at John Lewis.

Give guests a token of your love by baking little biscuits and placing them on their plates. Remember to make a little hole in the dough to thread the ribbon through after baking. Tie the ribbon around the plates and napkin for a professional finishing touch.

Fresh festive flowers

Use fresh blooms for glamorous table settings Mark Scott

For fresh flowers try Marks and Spencer, or for silk try Oka Direct.

If you’re looking to make an impact, you can’t beat a striking colour scheme. Brass and gold will create a classy, classic feel, while purples, crimsons and blacks will establish a more modern aesthetic. Crisp white table linens and crockery will add freshness and look great when
paired with metallic ornamental touches.

There’s no need to spend a fortune on fancy napkin rings. Buy a length of sheer ribbon and tie a few pretty glass baubles to it with a bow.

Thread a single bloom – such as a rose or carnation – through the knot and then tie the arrangement loosely around a folded napkin.

For the final finishing flourish to your table settings, place a small sprig of decorative berries on every plate.

Simple stone style

Initialled pebbles make for elegant, fuss-free place settings Dan Duchars

For flat pebbles that can be used for crafts, try Etsy.

Evoke a coastal-inspired theme for a spot of alfresco dining come summer.

For table settings with a seaside feel, collect a few flat pebbles and wash them thoroughly. Leave to drip dry.

Use enamel paint and small paintbrush to decorate the pebbles with guests’ initials.

Scatter them on loosely-folded napkins for a casual look.

Keep the rest of the scheme pale and understated for a true nautical look. Capture all the shades of the British coast: a base of white and stone is enlivened by pops of seagrass green. These restful, elegant colours are then paired with rich natural textures to create a sense of the outdoors – think plenty of rustic, distressed wood, soft throws and the odd rope knot.

Cork place-card holders

Make sure your party goes with a bang! David Brittain

For decorative ribbons, try John Lewis.

Collect champagne bottle corks to make fun party place card holders.

Use small cocktail sticks to skewer paper place cards and stick them in the corks.

Tie a small ribbon bow to the stick to keep the place card fixed and for decoration. Choose a colour that coordinates with your table cloth or napkins.

Mini sparklers

Bring drama to your place settings with mini sparklers Nick Pope

For mini sparklers, try Sainsbury’s.

Decorate your table for a party with mini sparklers.

Stick them into large chocolates or desserts for a surprise display, then light them just before guests enter the room!

For the final finishing touch, scatter metallic foil stars across the tablecloth for an extra glam look.

Glitz and glamour

Throw a party with luxury-look place settings David Brittain

For organza bags and placecard holders, try Not on the High Street.

Nothing says party quite like heaps of glitz and glamour – and what’s more glamorous than shiny objects!

Buy each guest a small but luxurious gift – sparkly necklaces for women, cuff links for men – and place them in tiny organza bags bags.

Tie a sparkling bauble to each bag – look for chic beaded and diamante decorations.

Place name cards in smart silver holders.

Complete the luxury look with crisp white table linen with sparkly sequin details.

For more decorating, craft ideas and cleaning hacks don’t miss our dedicated DIY guide.

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