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How to set a table {HomeGoods photoshoot reveal}

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How to set a table. Sounds kind of silly right? I remember growing up as a kid and my great grandmother insisting that the forks go on the left and reciting Emily Post’s etiquette on how to set a table and furthermore, teaching table manners.-ha My great gram was all about being proper especially at the dinner table. This tablescape below is one that I created last year while working for HomeGoods on one of their photoshoots. You can read and see more of those projects here. My goal was to create a buffet styled table but still looked sophisticated.

How to set a table {behind the scenes homegoods photoshoot}

#1 Linens. When setting a table, I always start by either using table runners or placemats. I suppose you could use both but you would need an extra wide table to avoid overlap. Overlap is fine (runners and placemats) as long as it doesn’t look cluttered. I personally use one or the other. For this table, I used two different styled runners. You can see, they also act as my placemats as well. My tabletop was a rustic wooden tone so I wanted to use a neutral table runner and the tan runner with lace trim was perfect. The burlap runners also added additional texture to table and I loved how they looked layered on top of the tan runner. Kind of fun right? I kept things simple using basic white napkins with a slight ruffle on the end. Once again, adding another layer of texture to the table.

#2 Layer your dishes. For this table I wanted pops of color so I used the coral colored dishes to create contrast with the aqua colored dishes. Each place setting had it’s now design. Meaning, I mixed and matched patterns. The four basic dish colors that I tried to stick to were coral, aqua, yellow and white.


Once you have your basic solid dinner dishes, try finding patterned smaller plates to layer on top of the larger dinner plates. Don’t be afraid to mix stripes, dots, scrolling accents and flowers together.

#3 Use a variety of bowls in different shapes and sizes. Serving bowls are great for fruit, bread, pasta and salad.

How to set a table {behind the scenes homegoods photoshoot}

#4 Use something unique to store silverware in. Many times I will use vases, glasses or jars. Of course,if you are setting a more formal table, place your silverware at each place setting. We tend to be really casual when it comes to our dinners so buffet style works for us.

#5 Fresh flowers. Flowers in simple vases down the middle of the table is a great focal point for any table.

How to set a table {behind the scenes homegoods photoshoot}

#6 Mix in any family heirloom pieces or special china that you may have. I remember when I was creating this table, I found these adorable little spoons and unique bowls I grabbed a bunch as they were perfect for serving condiments, olives or cheese spreads.

How to set a table {behind the scenes homegoods photoshoot}

#7 Glassware. I tend to use fairly basic glassware when setting a table but this time, I found these amazing mason jar glasses that worked perfectly on this buffet styled table.

7 steps to set a table. How to set a table

How to set a table doesn’t need to be complicated or difficult. If you are looking for more tablescape ideas, be sure to checkout my other Hopefully you found some tips and tricks in this post that you can use next time you are setting your table. After writing this post and seeing the food in the bowls, I am hungry!-ha. Looks yummy doesn’t it? Thank you to HomeGoods and photographer Adam Krauth for letting me use these photo’s.

Disclosure: I am compensated by HomeGoods to design these spaces at that offsite studio but not required to share them on my blog. I do because I  love how the spaces turned out. All opinions and words are 100% my own.


Meet Jessica

What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.


  1. Those bowls are great and I love the runners used as placemats. How cheerful!

  2. Jessica this is amazing and I love how you mixed in different plates. It’s fun and pretty!

  3. Stacey from Maine says:

    Love all these little projects , so inspiring .

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