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Eclectic Tablescape Ideas for Your Next Dining Adventure

It’s all about the unexpected.

eclectic tablescape
With a still ongoing pandemic and temperatures reaching below zero (at least in some parts of the country), 2021 has further solidified our focus more inward and towards our homes. Chances at social occasions have literally halved—if not completely disappeared—but that shouldn't stop us from bringing some of the usual outward verve into our homes and directly onto our tables.

It's possible that at the mere mention of “eclectic" some of you might start to twitch and panic, but we get it. Nothing seems more of a challenge for the decoratively fearful than trying to mix together high and low objects in different colors, textures, patterns, shapes, forms, and styles. For those afraid that a presumed lack of taste and underdeveloped degree of chicness might jeopardize the final outcome of the table, you have to remember that in order to curate an unconventional yet sophisticated dining arrangement, you have to think outside the box. Don't feel intimidated by going a little overboard with your style and color choices. Unpredictable items such as funky vessels for florals and succulents, odd shaped porcelain and ceramic bowls, and playful plates like lettuce ware can be easily utilized to keep things interesting and unique. “I love to mix vintage objects like “barbotine"—fruit shaped ceramic tableware—with designer candles or Murano vases with crazy flowers," says Violaine Carossino, French set designer and interior decorator at Casa Viola in Paris.

Some quirky, tongue-in-cheek attitude is definitely advised when designing an eccentric table-setting, and a natural penchant for bright hues can go a long way. “The choice of colors is super important,” Carossino confirms, “also my plates are selected according to the [colors of] food: pasta with pesto verde? I would choose pink plates so the colors will be more accentuated.” And while there is no universal rule on where to begin when setting up your over the top tablescape, a good place to start could be either from the fabric of your tablecloth, which as Carossino recommends, it is “the conductor and everything will be decided according to it as it creates the basis of the tablescape,” or a theme you have in mind or simply one or more decorative pieces you are particularly drawn to. “Just find a loose theme and start from there,” suggests British Creative Consultant and Designer Matilda Goad. “I have an ever-growing shelf of lucite holders but you could also look out for delftware, lustreware, colored glass, cherries, swans, bobbin or even just a particular color to group together,” Goad continues. Your grandma’s old and dusty collection of Chinese pottery could come in handy in this situation, and it may take on a new life if paired with your contemporary MoMA Design Store glassware set.

In that regard, always keep in mind that all the accessories you use don’t have to match perfectly. In fact, the less they do, the better. A play of heights with candlesticks and colorful tapered candles can create for example a wonderful and assorted effect. “One of the best ways to create a striking table is with candles, they are so uplifting. I like to collect beautiful candleholders, it doesn’t really matter about them all matching,” adds Goad.

Play around with elements that wouldn’t traditionally populate the dining area, build contrast with unexpected linen patterns and geometric designs, change up the plates between place settings. Ultimately, you want to make sure that you are having fun in the process and that you are working towards a varied and dynamic tablescape. To help you dive into eclectic tablescaping, check out our top picks below for some inspo.

Shop Eclectic Table Picks:

Linen Napkins

Celina Mancurti

Glass Candlestick Holder

Gary Bodker Designs

Concha Patmos

Carolina Irving & Daughters

Pallina Pitcher

Mario Luca Giusti
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