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How to Make Unique Table Decorations

Updated April 17, 2017

Whether you are decorating the table as a part of everyday decor or for a special party, you can use a myriad of things to make table decorations both unique and lovely. Follow these steps for some ideas about how to accomplish just that.

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  1. Decide the mood that you want to set within the dining area. Perhaps you want to establish a mood that matches the rest of your home such as Victorian, Art Deco, French Classic, Oriental, Contemporary, or anything else. Perhaps you want the table to reflect the season of the year or maybe it should be set for a special dinner, a party, or event. The mood you want to establish will have much to do with your overall design choices.

  2. Decide what you want to use as your table's focal point. You can choose almost anything that you want, but what you choose may have much to do with the mood that you want to establish. Options include flowers, greenery, fruits and/or vegetables, candles, figurines, crystal, or other knick knacks. It is also possible to use more than one type of item on the table, depending upon its size and the focus of your design.

  3. Use a table cloth, table runner, or fabric to the table. These items not only help to protect the furniture's wood, they also add drama and flair for the base of your table decoration. Table cloths today come in a wide variety of fabrics, colours, and textures. Many are stain free and easy to launder. But if you want to show off the beauty of your table, then you might not care to cover it totally with a cloth. Another option is to use a table runner. These long and relatively thin (about 12 to 20 inches in length) items provide a lovely focal point without covering up the entire table. Like table cloths, they come in a variety of fabrics, colours, and textures. Another option is to just use fabric; perhaps one that matches the padding of your dining room chairs, the curtains of the room, or the dining area's wall paper. The fabric can to puddled into the centre of the table or make a wavy design from end to end. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

  4. For special parties or events you may want to add crystals, coloured rocks, jewels, seashells, or even confetti sprinkled about the table covering (cloth, runner, or fabric). While this isn't something that most people use everyday, it can add a festive mood for special events.

  5. Use fresh flowers and/or greenery from your garden or that you have purchased from a store in a vase, ceramic container, or bowl on the table. Don't be afraid to choose taller flowers for tables that are unusually large. These help to add balance and are a bit more contemporary than the standard floral table decor. Be creative with your container choices. You don't always have to use standard floral bowls or vases. Try putting flowers into beautiful goblets, wine glasses, or martini stemware by placing one at each place setting for a dinner party. For more individual ideas, use water or soda bottles with a single flower stem; placed at each table setting or placed in a pattern around the table. Recycle pretty vegetable or soup cans, which can be used in a myriad of ways. Place individual bud vases of flowers at each place setting. Use baskets with a inner bowl or plastic liner. They can be small, placed around the table or at each place setting, or larger, placed in the centre of the table. Use fruit shells like a cored pineapple or a cleaned out melon. Even potted plants (real or artificial), put into a pretty container, can look lovely on a dining table.

  6. Use silk floral arrangements and/or greenery in any of the same ways listed in Step 5. Even bonsai (miniature) trees, placed in a lovel container, can make a memorable and stunning table decoration on their own. You can also add flowers (either fresh or silk) or other items to their base if you want a bigger "wow" factor.

  7. Use fresh or artificial fruits or vegetables on the table. They can be placed in a large basket or bowl in the centre of the table or scattered throughout the table covering. Use the larger fruit items such as hallowed out watermelons or pineapples as the vase or bowl, arranging other fruit or vegetable items inside them. Use a mini fruit tree as the centre table decoration. If you want, you can add flowers (either fresh or silk) or other items to their base for an even more festive look.

  8. Use candles to set an elegant mood. This can be done with standard candle sticks, pillars, hurricanes, or other candle designs or you can create your own. Place candles of varying sizes on a charger dish or piece of china. Fill small glasses or goblets with crystals, faux jewels, or coloured rocks and top them off with a tea light or votive candle. Place floating candles in martini or shallow wine glasses. Use recycled cans or bottles. Use bud vases full of coloured water, topped off with a matching taper candle. All of these can be used as individual decor or they can be clustered together or around the table in any design that you want. Place floating candles in your favourite crystal bowl or china piece. Arrange tea lights, votives and/or pillars on a platter, plate, or flat crystal item. Be creative, mixing and matching colours, scents, sizes, types, or textures of candles to give the table a definitive design.

  9. Use your favourite figurines on the table. For example, if you collect angels, choose a few of your favourite ones and place them in a pattern on the table. You can then add silk flowers and/or greenery around them if you want a little extra "pop."

  10. Choose a few of your favourite crystal pieces as table decor. Fill them with coloured water or coloured floral gel and float flowers and/or candles in them. Arrange them on the table in whatever design you want.

  11. Use some of your favourite knick knacks as table decor. For example, if you collect Thomas Kinkade lighthouses or a variety of crosses, use them for table decor. They can be placed at individual place settings or arranged around the table in any design of your choice. Accent them with fresh or silk flowers or greenery if you so desire.

  12. For parties, use some of the party theme items as table decor. For example, if the party has a tropical theme, use hula girls, leis, or small palm trees as your table decoration. For a children's party with a racing theme, use miniature cars as your central decor. For a bridal shower, use minitature umbrellas in the brides colours, decorating each umbrella with silk flowers or greenery.

  13. Tip

    Keep your budget in mind as you plan for table decor. Make a list of everything that you need in order to complete the table design before heading out to the store. Try to use items that you already have on hand in order to prevent spending extra money. If you are using fresh flowers, be sure to put them into something that will remain watertight. Think about making table decor that your guests can take home with them (for dinner or other types of parties and events). Consider changing the table decor with the season. Customize the table decor for the dinner, theme, or other party or event. If you don't have a lot of money to spend on table decor, choose a single concept that fits within the theme of your house. Be creative since your only limitation is your own imagination.


    Keep candles away from anything flammable. Always place candles in a candle holder, on a plate, or in some sort of container to avoid wax spillage. Be careful of candle scent choices since some can be too heavy or smell offensive. Never leave candles lit while no one is in the room. Check fresh flowers and greenery as well as fruits and vegetables for freshness before purchasing. If you want your tablecloth, runner, or fabric to be reusable, be careful what type of items you sit directly on them. Make sure that tablecloths, runners, or fabric choices are washable whenever possible. Make certain that your table decoration choices cannot be considered offensive to any of your guests. Don't use anything on the table that you are not willing to lose if an accident should happen. Place fruit shell arrangements onto a plate or platter before setting them on the table in order to avoid any juice seepage.

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Things You'll Need

  • Tablecloth, table runner, or fabric
  • Fresh or silk flowers or potted plants
  • Fresh or silk greenery
  • Real or artificial fruits and vegetables
  • Real or artificial potted plants
  • Mini fruit or bonsai trees (fresh or artificial)
  • Crystals, coloured rocks, jewels, or seashells
  • Confetti
  • Tea light candles
  • Votive candles
  • Pillar candles
  • Candle holders
  • Recycled cans and/or bottles
  • Crystal pieces
  • China pieces
  • Ceramic containers
  • Bud vases
  • Miscellaneous stemware
  • Fruit shells
  • Water
  • Food colouring
  • Figurines
  • Knick knacks
  • Party theme decorations

About the Author

Chantel Alise

A business and education specialist for 30 years, Chantel Alise also owned a management and marketing training company. She has written newsletters and training manuals as well as business articles for Enid News and Eagle's Business Journal. She is principle writer for Beauty Biz. Alsie attended Thomas Nelson Community College (Virginia) and Phillips University (Oklahoma).

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