Setting a Festive Fall Tablescape With 5 Simple Tips

Chris and I are passionate entertainers. We love to spontaneously invite friends over for dinner, like tonight. Chris loves to host eager eaters with his new recipes, and I love to set the table. As the air turns crisp and leaves begin to blanket the streets, our focus naturally drifts to a tablescape more fit for fall. Fall provides such a moody backdrop to layer in all kinds of autumnal touches, an ideal setting to celebrate the season with family and friends. Over the years, our table styling has gone through lots of transitions — but some “rules” feel tried and true. Read on to discover some fall tablescape ideas, but don’t be afraid to weave in your own touches.

This post is sponsored by Anthropologie.

fall tablescape

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1. Embrace the Fall Color Spectrum

setting a fall table

When picturing autumn, vibrant shades of red, yellow, and orange often come to mind. Yet, these colors ascend to a whole new level when paired with complementary hues. For a standout Fall Tablescape, consider marrying two hallmark autumnal shades with their complements. For instance, the golden hues of yellow become even more captivating when paired with lilac wine glasses. Similarly, this marmalade tablecloth takes on a deeper, smoldering effect when offset by these blues spruce appetizer plates. Not to mention lavender dinnerware beautifully offset by gleaming gold flatware, steely taper candles, and an amber vase. The right color combinations can truly transform your table!

2. Layer in Botanical Elements

fall tablescape ideas

Sure, there are design principles around pairing botanical prints with geometric prints and large-scale with small-scale. But I think layering in the botanicals — especially when there’s a color transition — is a not-so-subtle nod to fall. Our walls are climbing with cool blue ferns, so spreading out a tablecloth of burnt orange stems mimics the warming colors outside: the weather is getting cooler, but the colors are getting warmer.

If you’re wallpaper-less, no worries. Try pairing a floral tablecloth with leafy napkins. Or set the table with harvest-themed plates and opt for candlesticks you might find growing in your garden, too. Let the bounty of the season inspire your fall tablescape!

3. Swap in a Festive Appetizer Plate

fall appetizer plates

If the only tabletop piece you swapped out of your day-to-day tableware was the appetizer plate, then you’d be set for the season. This is what we call working smarter, not harder, and it’s the No. 1 trick up my sleeve for transitioning the tabletop for any holiday, season, or occasion. Consider this a pedestal for your place cards. You can serve meats and cheeses to start, some warm olives, or a nice salad. But everyone will be Oooing and Ahhing over the canapé plate. It’s a show-stopper.

4. Opt for the Gold Flatware

gold flatware

Okay, if swapping out the salad plate is my No. 1 trick, then pulling out the gold flatware is a close second. Gilded forks, knives, and spoons just feel fancy, and there’s a set for every budget. They make Sunday dinner feel like a special occasion. I’m a big advocate for “Don’t Wait,” so we get good use out of ours, and I swear every time I set the table in gold, our girls are even better behaved.

Don’t overthink matching the serveware. It’s a bonus if it happens because mixing metals can be rather chic.

Also, just take it from me — even if it says “dishwasher safe,” fill the sink with soapy water and wash them by hand, followed by a good wipe down with a dry cloth. They’ll gleam much longer.

5. Set up a Serve-Yourself Drink Station

drink station

Okay, this might sound strange, but setting your fall tablescape goes beyond just the dining table. I love to create a drink station moment on a sideboard that keeps the autumnal theme going. Here, I set up self-serve juice glasses and a pretty pitcher, and I stocked the Grecian bust vase with dusty lavender stems that match the rose-colored napkins. Guests can help themselves to sparkling juices while I light the taper candles and put on a perfect fall playlist.

While the idea of crafting the perfect fall tablescape might seem daunting, it’s all about incorporating a few details that capture the essence of the season. Happy hosting!


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