Bright colors, fresh flowers, and leafy green accents define spring table designs. In decorating a table, some designers keep to traditional styles, while others prefer to break the mold — either way, when careful thought and a strong sense of design are turned toward a tablescape, the resulting layout is a source of delight for any spring gathering. See 14 standout table designs from Dering Hall designers, and read their advice on setting a chic table this season.
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This maximalist dining room by Dane Austin Design showcases towering candelabras and a yellow and green table setting.
Boston-based interior designer Dane Austin notes that when it comes to setting a stunning table, perfection is less important than comfort. "Table design is all about ease of use in today's fast-paced world," says Austin. "You can never go wrong with a few candles and fresh cut flowers, but be sure to avoid heavily scented selections. The focus should be on delicious foods and great company — so relax and enjoy."
Sabrina Cole Quinn
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For this Hawaiian table design, Elizabeth Drake arranged two sets of fresh, light green anthuriums that waterfall down to green napkins, and paired them with gray-and-white checked napkins. The larger arrangement also features white orchids.
For Elizabeth Drake, one size does not fit all. "Avoid lots of tiny, little things," says the designer, who is based in Chicago, San Francisco, and Hawaii. "Mix up the scale. For example, you can pair large hydrangea flower heads with slim, tall candlesticks." She also recommends that designers expand their color selections. "Take advantage of the wide range of colors available at springtime for cut flowers on the table," she advises. "Keep the linens and china colors white or tie just one color to the flowers. If using colored candles, keep them soft or dark so that they accent the flowers, but don’t compete."
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For an estate in Santa Barbara, Tom Stringer Design Partners matched the floral centerpiece with the floral artwork behind it.
According to John Cialone, partner and vice president at Tom Stringer Design Partners
, a tablecloth isn't always the go-to base for a stylish tablescape. "Whether we are setting for a formal or informal occasion, we enjoy styling with placemats and runners rather than the traditional tablecloth," says Cialone. "A bare table can be elegant, and mix and match is a major plus!" A clever layout can extend beyond the table, too. "Indoor plants near and around the dining table and increased natural light are both impactful and tie in the season," he adds.
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A tropical outdoor dining area by Margaret Costello Interiors is set in a greenhouse.
Margaret Costello makes a case for relying on local flowers. "When I style tables, I prefer to use flowers and greenery from the area where I am," she says. "I bring a little of the natural flora inside." Describing the tablescape above, Costello notes, "This photo is taken in an orchid slat house that is also used as an outdoor dining area, so we styled the table with miniature orchids and succulents in terracotta pots." Costello also prefers to decorate with potted plants instead of fresh-cut flowers, and she styles unique, visually pleasing vignettes across her tablescapes. "Sometimes I will put wheatgrass in egg cups with quail eggs," explains the designer.
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A penthouse dining room by Santopietro Interiors is finished off with a gorgeous table arrangement.
For Alessandra Santopietro of Santopietro Interiors, functionality is as important as beauty. "We want a beautiful table, but it must be done in an inviting way," she says. "For example, I like using low floral arrangements — as we did here, with the gorgeous florals and moss balls — and accessories so that guests can converse. If I introduce candles, I do so in a thoughtful way, so that they are light and airy and don’t impede on the views of guests." Bright colors are also a staple for Santopietro. "It’s been a long winter, so I think everyone is ready to leave behind the darker winter tones and embrace all elements of spring," she adds. "I like keeping my table design playful, and I always bring in personal elements from the host."
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Designed by Stephens Design Group, t his table for a client in Hong Kong was inspired by a garden.
For a high-style spring tablescape, bring in a garden theme, as
Stephens Design Group did for a client in Hong Kong. "The client wanted her table to feel like a garden, with the concept of 'Spring Everyday,'" says Andrew Thompson, managing partner at the design firm. The tablescape suggests that the best spring table designs don't need to happen in spring — rather, spring is a state of mind.
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This tablescape by Cindy E. Barganier Interiors LLC includes cut flowers in glasses.
Simplicity dictates Cindy Barganier's table designs. "When I can use cut flowers from the garden, I do," says Barganier. "I just use a few stems in different size and height vases, and candles if it's a nighttime event." Table linens are another important element for her. "That usually drives my color choices, and it's where I can have some fun," she notes. "I don’t always match the linens to the room — I choose them to go with the theme of the party."
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Outdoor pots are the star of this table setting by Laura Michaels Design.
For spring party hosts that prefer an eclectic look, designer Laura Michaels enjoys mixing traditional and contemporary glassware, and she arranges her flowers in outdoor pots as opposed to traditional vases. "This was a casual luncheon setting, so I added outdoor pots filled with white dahlias," says Michaels of the above image. "I also love to supersize it. I would never set a table without a major centerpiece statement." She also explains her choices in the above design: "Those huge soup/pasta bowls are actually large salad bowls, and the smaller bowl is as well."
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This tablescape by bd home finds pleasure in small details.
The boundaries between formal and casual have blurred in recent years, leading to more opportunities to break out expensive pieces or family heirlooms once used only on holidays. "Use your china or precious tableware," declares Beth Daecher of bd bd home in San Francisco. "There's no reason to wait for special occasions." Like many designers, Daecher sees flowers as a one of a table's highlights, and she even grows her own flowers. "I use whatever is in season at the flower market, or I'll use whatever happens to be growing in my small garden, if it's a casual get-together and I don’t have time to get to the market," she says. "Yellow and orange and pink feel like spring, and if I have linens to match, I’ll incorporate them as well."
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This table design by Rinfret Limited Interior Design & Decoration
LLC is simple and beautiful.
Designer Cindy Rinfret isn't afraid of going overboard. "When styling tables, more is more," she says confidently. "Layer in fresh cut flowers and candles, and add intrigue with unique touches like peacock feathers or miniature animals. Think about what your guests will respond to and make them feel festive. An inspiring table design can be a wonderful conversation starter."
"For spring, signs of life are so welcome and the organic beauty of nature," she advises. "I love to use bird nests as table decor. Of course, the glassware can function like jewelry when you use colored glasses, and unique napkin rings deliver an extra dose of style."
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A conservatory at a country club by Paula Grace Designs – Signature Grace features bursts of fuchsia.
"Spring is about coming back to life, and breaking free from hibernation," says Paula Grace. Her style breaks free from tame, closely clipped bouquets, and dives into fresh, wild flower arrangements. "The flowers should be more organic than tailored," Grace recommends. "Save the tailored look for cold nights with warm fires." Likewise, she suggests stripping the tablecloth from the table for spring and summer; in the winter, the draping edges of a table cloth can provide extra warmth. For her, a spring table design is all about color, even for those not quite accustomed to using it. "You can be demure with pastels or dramatic with magenta and teal," she says.
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A traditional dining room by Gil Walsh Interiors features a detailed, luxurious table setting.
Designer Gil Walsh places significant value on a well-planned table design. "Whether it’s a family gathering, dinner with friends, or special occasion, think of your table as a blank slate that will set the mood of the celebration," she says. She recommends incorporating two different colored napkins in a single ring to give the table extra verve, and personalizing the design with pieces that belong to family members, such as a grandmother's china or a mother's napkin rings. "By adding a meaningful touch to your table, it creates an intimate atmosphere that welcomes your guests into your home," the designer says.
To go above and beyond, all while reflecting the cheerfulness of spring, she stresses the importance of finishing touches like floating candles, brightly colored salt-and-pepper shakers, and spring-themed condiment bowls. She also likes to incorporate slices of citrus fruits into her table designs. "Use it in bowls for decor, sliced to garnish the side of glasses, and to serve for guests to eat," she suggests.
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A dining room in northwest Washington by Kathryn Ivey Interiors is decorated with organic green accents.
Kathryn Ivey's tablescapes are often minimalist, invested in subtle spring details rather than an all-out seasonal celebration. "I lean towards 'less is more' when styling tables, but I approach the styling with a curated eye," she says. "Choose items carefully, like an artist creating a still-life painting. I always notice the objects on tables when looking at design magazines and find it interesting to see a rare book or beautiful small sculpture. I like to use items that tell a story and/or have meaning to the client or space." Unconventional elements can also make the design unique. "I prefer to arrange flowers in unexpected ways," Ivey says. "Maybe it’s an asymmetrical arrangement or a large vase of flowering branches that offers a organic, natural element to a more formal, symmetrical furniture layout."
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Simplicity reigns in this dining space by One Bleecker Interiors.
Designer Allie McMunn of One Bleecker Interiors believe that height makes a major difference. "I recommend bringing in several heights throughout your arrangement to create interest," she says. "This can be done using candlesticks, plants or unexpected pieces like obelisks." When designing a tablescape, McMunn's first thought is flowers. "Bringing in bright, colorful flowers will add an extra layer and make your table feel very spring-inspired," she says.