A Valentine's Day tablescape should reflect the personalities of the diners as Valentine's Day rather than a one size fits all affair. So why not tailor your tablescape colour palette to match the preferences of your special someone?
While the timeless charm of pink and red is a solid choice, alternative options like greens and whites, rich jewel tones, or soft pastels can create a striking and personalised feel. Steering away from a generic approach ensures that your Valentine's Day table setting doesn't feel cliché.
How to create a Valentine's Day tablescape
Pick a theme and select colours that resonate with you and your diner(s).
Choose materials, textures, accessories and personal touches to complement the theme.
Sketch out a rough plan allowing enough space for table essentials so you know how much space you have to play with.
If you have a small table with limited space, consider using the space above or around the table as well.
I always use flowers or foliage, even if this means foraging them to keep costs down.
Source your table decorations. If the budget is tight, opt for a pared-back ‘less is more’ approach with perhaps a statement floral centrepiece or rustic homemade decorations and accessories.
Layer up your table decorations, placing items at varying heights for interest. Tall candles are a great way to add height as well as atmosphere and can set a romantic mood.
Add some personal touches, like a handwritten place name or menu, hand-picked flowers placed on a napkin and wrapped in ribbon or arranged in mini-bud vases around the table.
How to choose materials for a Valentine's Day tablescape
For a Valentine’s tablescape, the more thoughtful the better. Handwritten place cards can be created from pieces of card or more unusual materials like wallpaper offcuts, handprinted paper, fabric remnants, leaves collected on a romantic walk or even on the back of romantic photos. Candles can be stood in hot water to make them malleable and then shaped into hearts. Foraged flowers can be dried and scattered over the table to make table confetti. Table confetti can also be handmade from petals or paper. Use texture to create depth and interest to the tablescape - velvet is luxurious and romantic - velvet ribbon is ideal to tie up the napkins and cutlery and bows have been a big trend recently.
How to keep a tablescape functional
There are a few ways you can ensure that even the boldest of tablescapes is functional for you and your dining companion;
Don’t overcrowd the table with decorations, leave space for plates and glasses.
Consider an above-table decoration like a flower cloud or clip-on table stand to add the wow factor if table space is limited.
If buying new tableware, avoid anything that is obviously Valentine's-themed. That way the candles, glasses, napkins, crockery & cutlery etc can all be used again.
How to personalise a Valentine's Day tablescape
You can incorporate personalised touches into your tablescape by introducing meaningful decorations and accessories. Include your diner’s favourite flower(s) in an arrangement or flowers that have special meaning - perhaps from a wedding bouquet or button-hole or shared name. Add thoughtful touches that show you’ve thought about the diner(s) and your relationship together, like a meaningful colour (perhaps linked to a wedding theme, football team, family tartan, or friendship group) that can be reflected in napkins, flowers, tablecloth or candles.
A nice way to personalise a tablescape and romantic evening is to set the theme around a place you’ve visited together (perhaps a first date location, honeymoon destination or girls’ holiday) the food, drink, music and decor can all be focused around this place to create a magical dining experience. Alternatively, why not set the tablescape decor around a place or country you plan to go to together or base it on a memorable event you’ve shared.
How to create a Valentine's Day tablescape on a budget
DIY flower or herb ice buckets are very cheap to make but create a focal point for the table. Using a linen bedsheet as a tablecloth can save money and create a luxe look. Shop at charity shops to find preloved tableware to adorn your Valentine’s table. Mix and match old china for a vintage afternoon tea theme (this could be picked up at boot fairs cheaply). Set the scene with music and appeal to all senses. Go foraging for flowers and foliage for free.
As with most types of seasonal decor, there will be a flood of extravagant displays on social media beforehand with huge budgets spent and lots of unsustainable, over-the-top gestures. My advice is not to be put off by this or feel the need to compete. Valentine’s Day (or Galentine’s Day) is all about celebrating and appreciating the special people in your life, and thoughtful touches and personalisation far outweigh grand, expensive and wasteful gestures with little thought or effort. A few foraged flowers in empty jam jars placed on a candlelit tablescape created with love and adorned with thoughtful touches will always be a winner. For 17 ideas for Valentines decor click here.
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