Modern table setting ideas

Whether you set your table only on special occasions (such as holiday dinner parties) or leave your dining table beautifully set at all times, take inspiration from our modern table setting ideas to give your dining space the perfect finishing touch.

Table settings can be used in more places than just your dining table. Place them on your kitchen counter, outdoor patio table or breakfast bar. You can even use them for a special meal around the coffee table.

We have some concepts and tips that will make setting your table simple and stylish. The secret to an eye-catching table setting is the layers; layering a combination of texture, color and accessories creates a rich, beautiful tablescape.


You don’t have to spend a fortune on plates or glasses to create an elegant table. Accessorized the right way, your table settings will look like a million bucks. There’s no need to match; feel free to go with a mismatched theme. 


Linens will set your table apart from the ordinary. Luckily, there is a huge variety of stylish, affordable table linen choices. Keep a box or drawer filled with the different linens listed below in colors, textures and patterns that mix and match. Some holiday-themed linens are also worth keeping in your linen box to add some holiday fun to your table settings.


Bring out the beauty of your table settings by using a centerpiece to create a focal point. The centerpiece will unify and pump up the volume of the table’s theme. Be creative, but remember to keep it low and narrow; tall centerpieces make it hard to see people across the table, and large ones can crowd your place settings.

A good rule of thumb is that you’ll need a minimum of 14 inches on each side of the centerpiece for place settings. Subtract at least 28 inches from the width of your table; that’s how much space is left for your centerpiece area. Some centerpiece ideas include:

  • Flowers
  • Twigs
  • Candleholders
  • Crystals or river rocks


These will give your table a personal touch like no other. Use items that have a common theme or a personal meaning throughout the table and place settings. Some ideas for decorative items include:

  • Objects such as bird figurines or small, colorful vases
  • Unusual napkin rings
  • Holiday-related items such as fall leaves, pumpkins, reindeer or small Christmas trees
  • Place setting name holders
  • Small bundles of flowers or herbs for each place setting


Candles are an easy way to make a bold table statement; that’s why we’ve given them their own category. Use plenty of candles on your dining table. They’ll cast a warm glow and create sparkle if strategically placed near shiny objects.

Choose unscented candles to accompany a meal; scented candles can clash with the aroma of the food. If candles are not practical, use battery-operated candles or strings of light on your table.