6 Go-To Pieces to Set a Table like a Designer

share /

Design Tips & Trends

Having a beautifully set table can seem unachievable when you have a busy life/kids/job. In fact, it can feel overwhelming even knowing where to begin when it comes to styling the space you eat at every day.

But having a DIY designer table is more than achievable for you, and it doesn’t need to feel like a huge task to add to your to-do list. It can literally take minutes to transform your table into a space you love to look at – as well as eat on!

It all comes down to my 6 go-to pieces, and today I’m going to break everything down for you in a few simple, easy to follow steps. It’s a process I use over and over again in my own home and in my clients’, and to make it even easier for you I’m sharing the exact go-to pieces I use on repeat.

The Pieces

I have a few go-to pieces that I use in every table setting. I’ll vary a few things per the occasion, season, etc, but these are my basic items I pull from:

  1. White plates

  2. Linen napkins

  3. Wood chargers

  4. Simple glassware

  5. Simple Candles

  6. Fresh greens


Why The Pieces Matter

There are a few reasons why I have a core set of basics:

  • It stops decision fatigue

  • I can invest in quality pieces that I’ll use over and over again, rather than buying cheap disposables or things I don’t love

  • They look GOOD

Setting a table shouldn’t feel like a chore. In fact, nothing in your home needs to feel that way. Cultivate what you have.

Change With The Seasons

Where I tend to vary my selections is the napkin color choice and what I add to the tablescape as far as accents. For example, sometimes I’ll add small pumpkins or pomegranates for fall, colorful flower stems in the spring or summer. For special occasions I’ll also sometimes add a table runner.

Tip: Get creative with runners! In the past I’ve used cut fabric, a curtain and a blanket.




When it comes to setting the table, you have a few options for placement. Here a few of my favorites:

  1. Charger, plate, napkin tied on top of the plate, silverware to the side of the plate by itself

  2. Charger, plate, napkin folded to the side with silverware placed on top

  3. Charger, plate, napkin folded on top of the plate will silverware placed on top

I usually decide which option to go with based on how much space is available at the table. I also consider things like will there be large dishes on the table, will there be name place cards  or menus.

Sometimes my decision is simply based on the time I have available to set the table, and that’s fine too!



Ready For The Vision?

Do you have a space in your home that feels more ‘okay’ than ‘omg I love it’?

Whether you’re so busy you just can’t see straight, or you just can’t be bothered to try and find the right pieces for your space, I can help you with my signature offer Give Me The Vision.

It’s the closest thing I have to interior designing your space as if it were my own, and you’ll save literal hours of your life without having to worry about where to find a rug that looks good in your room. If you want to learn more click here to get started.

Hey there, I'm Michelle!

Interior Decorator in Austin, TEXAS

As the founder and lead interior decorator here at Cultivate Your Space, I'm here to bring you the vision your space—from the baseboards to the ceilings—even if you have no idea at all what your decorating style is.

My job isn't just to design a space you love. I want your living space to be a source of peace, comfort, security, and joy...not just somewhere you lay your head each night.

Most Austin interior decorators only focus on how your space looks—but not me. I care about both how your space functions AND how it makes you feel.

Curating with intention

A guide to Finding Your Personal Interior Design Style

Do you need to buy new decor but aren't quite sure what to call your design style or what to even search for? Download this free guide and discover your signature style, even if you don't have an eye for design.

reader faves From the blog