by Kit Wertz
A tablescape is a term used to describe a cohesive collection of objects and usually some type of floral element on a dining table, mantle, sideboard, nightstand or coffee table. I like to think of it as “landscaping my table.” The word is used most often by event planners and interior designers to show off their knowledge of what goes well together. For a fun quick tutorial on how to create a professional looking coffee table from a very likeable designer, check out this tabletop tips video from Elaine Griffin of HomeGoods. I also enjoyed this blog entry on how to create different tablescapes throughout the house like a pro from houzz.com.
Tablescape Guidelines for a Dinner Party
There are a few rules that can help you create a good-looking table for a dinner party where all the guests are seated at the same long table.
- Make sure each guest is close enough to the decoration that he or she can admire it or even touch it.
- Allow enough room on the table for all the china, silverware, glassware, bread baskets, butter dishes and salt and pepper shakers.
- Follow a cohesive color theme throughout the design, but don’t go overboard on color. Try to keep it to within three or four main colors.
- Vary the heights of the elements on the table. It’s best not to have a flat table. This may end up being achieved by the different glassware heights if many types of wine are being offered during the dinner or luncheon. If not, it may be more interesting to add hurricane candles along the length of the table connected by a table runner, greenery and flower arrangements and even baskets of fruit. You could even add a few tall candelabras along the length of the table at different heights.
- As with any dinner party, make sure the flowers you choose to design with do not have an overwhelming scent. Save the Casa Blanca Lilies for the entryway arrangement and stick to non-fragrant flowers on the table.
- Keep in mind that dark flowers often get lost in a dark dining room. So, think about lighting them from above if the client is insistent on a dark or jewel-toned theme for a nighttime event.
Steps to a Great Tabletop
1. Start with knowing the size of the table. If it’s long and narrow, make the flower centerpiece(s) long and narrow.
2. Add a runner that is neutral or complements the theme – whether it be the flowers or napkins or place setting. If you are working with a round table, you could add a square napkins to the middle of the table under the centerpiece to add some color.
3. Depth on the table can be achieved with greenery and berries.
4. Gain warmth with pillar candles in cylinder vases or hurricane lamps if the table is long. Add votives around a round centerpiece for a round table.
5. Add different elements to the table that reflect the season or the theme. If this is a beach party, add some seashells. For Thanksgiving, add acorns or mini pumpkins. If it’s Christmas, add pinecones, holly and red berries.
6. Use tableware that matches the mood of the party. Use fine china and crystal for a formal dinner party and opt for disposable bamboo plates and mason jars for a casual backyard summer dinner.
Flowers as Tablescapes
As floral designers for weddings and events, we specialize in the flowers on the table. Many times the event planner and bride get together on the other items that end up on a table. These usually include wedding favors, photos of the bride and groom in exotic places they’ve visited before getting married, votive candles and the occasional collection of rose petals.
Hydrangea and Orchid Tabletop
Other floral tablescapes can be the entire centerpiece as we did for a wedding in the cellar room of the St. Regis Monarch Beach this past summer. We used boxwood, hydrangea (in water vials) and orchids for this design. Candles at different heights along the table would have been a welcome addition to this design but were not requested by the bride.
Peacock Themed Tabletop
Last month we created floral designs for an intimate luncheon and the color theme focused on peacock feathers. Since there were 17 guests seated around a long, narrow table, we suggested three low and long floral designs so that each guest would be able to enjoy the flowers. The guest of honor sat in the middle of the table, so she had the best view of the middle arrangement.
As you can see, the turquoise napkins brought out the turquoise in the peacock feathers in the floral designs. The client added her own party favors for each guest which were gold and turquoise wrapped notepads with peacocks on them. We used flowers that brought out the colors of the peacock feathers – dark purple Hydrangea, dark purple Trachelium, Brunia berries, seeded Eucalyptus, dark pink Spray Roses, silvery Succulent Rosettes and magenta Hanging Amaranthus.
If you want some new inspiration for your Thanksgiving table and don’t want to go with the usual orange and brown look, check out the
Pantone colors for fall 2012 and our Flower Duet Fall 2012 Decorating Colors Pinterest board which we created for ideas on what to use as part of a cohesive theme using this fall’s colors. I love the fact that the colors in peacock feathers are included in the fall colors and you can guess that’s why Pier1 featured so many peacock-themed decorative items this fall.
Here are some flower ideas you can use that encompass the fall colors:
Brown and Pink Floral Color Theme
Fall 2012 Colors: French Roast, Titanium and Pink Flambé
Flowers used include Hot Princess Roses with Galax leaves glued to the container for the dark browns and touches of silver titatnium are found in the succulent rosettes and dusty miller greenery.
Brown, Gold and Green Flowers
To get a brown flower any time of year, just pick off the yellow petals from a sunflower and you have a lovely brown center left. In the fall, you can find golden amaranthus which is beautiful and isn’t available any other time of year. Tie this together with some bright green amaranthus or green Kermit mums and you have a lovely earthy combination for fall.
Chartreuse, Lavender and Rose Colored Flowers
Chartreuse flowers are hard to come by, but you can find them in these buds from the Star of Bethlehem flowers which are combined with lavender spray mums and mauve colored roses.
Silver and Tangerine Colored Flowers
Peach Finesse garden roses have an orange look and can be used to mimic the 2012 color of the year “Tangerine Tango.” These look great paired with silver flowers like Scabiosa pods and Dusty Miller.
Hot Pink, Silver and Rose Colored Flowers
Fall 2012 Colors: Titanium and Pink Flambé and Rose Smoke. Berzilla berries, magenta hydrangea and mauve roses make this fall 2012 combination enticing on the dining table.
Brown and Tangerine Orange Flowers for Thanksgiving Flowers
Fall 2012 Colors: French Roast and Tangerine Tango. An orange and cream-colored mini pumpkin is the main focus in this floral design for Thanksgiving. Since it uses elements of dark wood as the contrasting accent, it falls in perfectly with any fall decorating theme.
by Kit Wertz
South Bay Design Studio, Los Angeles Flower Mart Tours, Huntington Library Art of Floral Design Classes
Flower Duet offers a variety of services including custom floral designs for weddings, corporate events, birthday parties, Bat Mitzvahs and Bar Mitzvahs, retirements, sympathy designs, hotel installations, restaurant installations and more! We also teach flower arranging at our design studio in the South Bay of Los Angeles and at The Huntington Library in San Marino. We offer custom private lessons, flower arranging parties, workshops and flower tours throughout the year. Each class, workshop, party and lesson reflects seasonal flowers and the current hot floral design trend.
We Love Our Floral Design Students
We have a wide variety of students who attend our classes. Many of them are wedding planners who want to learn the basics of floral design just in case they need to fix a centerpiece or boutonniere during a wedding. We also have a lot of budding floral entrepreneurs, many of whom just bought a floral shop and then realize, they need to learn the ropes – and quickly! For these students, we offer a custom set of classes which accommodates each student’s individual needs.
2013 Class Schedule for Flower Duet’s Design Studio and Showroom, Torrance, Calif.
All classes follow optional tours of the Los Angeles Floral District on Saturday mornings. Tours take place in downtown LA from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and workshops are held from 10 a.m. to Noon.
January 19, 2013
Winter White Using Tropical and Traditional Flowers
Flower Duet will show students how to achieve an elegant white bouquet to brighten up the January home by combining traditional flowers like calla lilies and tropical flowers such as orchids.
February 23, 2013
Students will learn to create a hand-tied wedding bouquet and boutonniere in this wedding-trend focused workshop. Flower Duet will cover ribbon techniques and how to make flowers last a long time when out of water for the big wedding day.
March 23, 2013
Large Scale Floral Design
Using seasonal elements such as branches and flowers, Flower Duet will show students how to create a 4ft tall design that would work well on a bar or in an entryway. Students will learn how to force flowering branches to open, how to arrange them in a vase and how to use proper proportion for each element in the larger vase size.
April 13, 2013
Loose Hand-tied Bouquet
Students will get a fresh take on this traditional look and learn which flowers to choose for a design like this, how to condition the flowers to last a long time, which flowers to use in the design first and how to ensure the blooms look organized, yet flowing.
May 11, 2013
Mother and Daughter Class for two $150
Spend the morning with your daughter on Saturday before Mother’s day putting together two designs: One in a cute moss-covered handbag and the other in a complementary vase design. Light refreshments served.
May 18, 2013
Monochromatic May Floral Centerpiece
Students will create a low centerpiece in a 6-inch glass cube vase in the pavé style. Flowers will be similar in color, but varied in texture to add interest to the design.
June 8, 2013
Learn to create an elegant bouquet while balancing large blooms like Peonies with smaller accent flowers and very little greenery.
July 20, 2013
Hydrangea Garden Party Bouquet
Learn how to design with Hydrangea, keep it lasting a long time in a vase, how to revive Hydrangea that’s wilted and which flowers to use in a composition bouquet for a garden party look.
August 17, 2013
Sumptuous Garden Roses
Flower Duet takes on popular Garden Roses in this workshop for all lovers of roses and perhaps a few brides-to-be. This flower is readily available in late summer, but still offers many challenges to the flower arranger.
September 21, 2013
Fall Dahlias come in so many amazing colors, textures and sizes, but offer some problems to the would-be floral designer. Come to our workshop on Dahlias and learn the tricks of the trade.
October 19, 2013
Event Design Workshop on How to Tablescape
Whether you are designing for a large scale head table at a wedding, small brunch or a cozy dinner party, we’ll give you tips on how best to combine flowers and greenery with other elements to set the right mood for the celebration. You’ll go home with a piece of the tablescape that you created.
November 16, 2013
Gilding for the Holidays
After a quick tutorial on how to guild fake gourds and pumpkins, Flower Duet will guide you through a hand-tied bouquet that can be adapted for a festive tablescape.
November 26, 2013
Thanksgiving Dinner Centerpiece
Join Flower Duet for a holiday class creating a seasonal centerpiece arrangement for your Thanksgiving table that combines fruit, vegetables and flowers in the design.
December 7, 2013 morning
Make Your Own Wreath
Mix and match evergreens with other California greenery to create a full and unique holiday wreath from scratch using a wire wreath form and lots of varied greens we only see during the holiday season.
December 7, 2013 afternoon
Special Occasion Holiday Centerpiece
Create a floral design using evergreens and flowers in floral foam suitable for a holiday table. We’ll also show you how to add accent pieces to a buffet or dining table to complement the design.
Casey Schwartz of Flower Duet has appeared on Public Television’s Creative Living with Sheryl Borden the past two seasons and returned to Portales, New Mexico to film another set of five shows for the 2012-2013 season.
This month, we feature a video on how to combine tropical flowers with traditional flowers for an elegant winter bouquet.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel: fashioningflowers so you’ll know when we’ve uploaded a new show of our own!
Beautiful Winter by Edle Catharina Norman
This book just came out last month and to be honest, we have not had a chance to review it yet in person; however, the sneak peek looks amazing!
Here is a snippet from Amazon.com: “As autumn turns to winter, why not bring a touch of nature indoors by creating a charming bark wreath bursting with red roses or a twig globe entwined with delicate amaryllis? In Beautiful Winter, author and florist Edle Catharina Norman shows how to use seasonal materials and flowers to put together 53 entrancing and easy to assemble home projects.”
This holiday season is all about metallics. Last month, for our floral design tool, we talked about how to make your own Mercury Glass vases. This month, we cover the metallic paints that are especially made for the florist. DESIGN MASTER PAINTS offers several series of Metallic Color Sprays, each having unique properties for their function and finish. All are fast-drying and can be recoated at anytime. This type of paint can be used on dried greenery like seeded eucalyptus, magnolia leaves and holly. It can also be used on about any type of container so you can really “class-up” a plastic container with a little paint!
Use on these surfaces:
- dried flowers
- foam board
- gift wrap
- paper crafts
- papier mache
- silk flowers
- terra cotta