12 Creative Ways to Elevate Your Tabletop Decor Game

21 November 2023 |

We’ve all heard it said that a home is where you can truly be yourself. It should be your safe place to let your full personality shine all day. And you can create that kind of meaningful space by adding special moments throughout your home. 

You may think you don’t have anywhere to add something unique to your home. But we bet you’re overlooking one of the best places to level up your decor game: tabletops. 

To make a statement, you have to be intentional in what kind of tabletop decor you add. Whether it’s your dining room table, an end table in the living room, or your desk, you want it to stand out. Check out these tips for the most effective tabletop decor styling. 

Pill shaped mirror in light gray wool felt reflecting a modern interior

1. Eliminate the Junk 

First, before you start looking for tabletop decor ideas you need a clear space to decorate. In most homes, flat surfaces become holding spots for clutter or knick-knacks. 

If that’s the case for your tabletop, no matter what decor you choose, it’s going to get lost. 

Take a couple of extra minutes to declutter your space. Find new, permanent homes for any items you don’t want to be displayed anymore, or donate items you no longer need. 

Often, the most stunning spaces are the ones where only a few things are displayed. Less is often more.

2. Start With a Solid Base

One way to make your tabletop styling look more intentional is to create a foundation to build upon. Instead of placing all your items on the table surface, add another base layer for more depth. 

A base layer helps all your items feel more styled, and less like they were just set on the table out of convenience. 

On a large dining table, this can look like a tablecloth or a runner. Since tables are hard surfaces, the contrast of fabric can bring in a lot of warmth. On an end table, books, decorative boxes, or trays make the perfect spot for some smaller decor items. 

Pill shaped mirror in light gray felt hung horizontal over a sideboard with pink tulips

3. Add Different Textures

When you start selecting your tabletop decor, think about the textures that you’re bringing to the space.

Texture plays a huge role in how successful art is. A piece of wall art that is full of texture can completely transform a space on its own. The same can be true for a textural piece on your flat surfaces.

The easiest way to incorporate some texture is to use different materials. If your table is made of wood, add a more natural element like wool or felt. The contrast between the hard and soft keeps your eye more interested as it takes in the view.

4. Create Many Levels

Texture isn’t the only way you can bring in contrast to your decor. Creating various levels will also help to add interest to your space. It’s a design secret that will make you look like a pro.

As you’re setting up your decor, don’t keep it all at the same level. If you have a tall lamp, add in some shorter vases or a bowl with a unique filler. If you’re starting with a small bowl, add in a larger vase to switch up the levels your eye moves around.

It’s also important not to put your tabletop decor items in height order. You want to mix them up so they’re not just descending in height.

modern home office space with a potted plant and a small desk beside a cork space divider

5. Build a Grouping 

A tabletop can present a unique design challenge because you may have a lot of space to work with. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to fill the entire space just because it’s there. Stick to creating grouping and keeping your items closer together. 

Grouping your items together will help them look like decor and not clutter as well. The more intentional you can make your decor look, the better. 

It’s also the best way to see what’s working and what’s not for your space. 

gray hex shaped mirror framed in felt leaning up on a wall next to a black and white chair

6. Join Old and New

It’s fun to buy new things for your home. Something about bringing a new-to-you item feels like a little luxury in life. 

But getting all new things for your tabletop decor can leave the whole thing feeling very flat. Instead of going with brand new, consider mixing in some vintage items.  Or you can shop yorur own home, and find decor from other rooms or storage that can be given a new life. 

Our favorite pairing is bringing in a new art or sculptural piece and then layering it with a vintage lamp or bowl. It makes for a unique grouping that is special to yo and yor home. 

7. Bring in Some Personal Touches

The best kind of old pieces to add to your tabletop decor are the personal ones. These are the pieces that make your house feel like a home. When someone visits your home, they’ll get an accurate idea of who you are and your style with these pieces. 

This can be a framed special photo, a memento from a trip, or a family heirloom. Just be sure it tells a story and doesn’t look like visual clutter against your other tabletop decor. 

The mix of art and sentimental pieces is a great way to spark some conversations too! 

8. Include Fresh Elements 

If you’re looking for an instant boost to your home, add a fresh element to your table. Flowers or greenery can be that final piece that brings it all together. 

The one downside to a fresher element is that they won’t last as long as all the other decor elements. But it can be a sweet ritual to change them out when necessary. Just that simple change can feel like a fresh reset and breathe new life into your space every week. 

a round mirror framed with ribbed chartreuse wool felt hangs next to a tiled shower

9. Choose Colors Wisely 

Too often, we only really think about the major colors in the room. We spend a lot of time deciding on the paint color for the walls or the flooring tones. But we forget that the colors of the decor items we place in the room are important as well. 

When you’re working on tabletop styling, be sure to think about how the colors of your items will affect the vibe of the room. 

Choose neutral colors to make a subtle statement that doesn’t take away from the rest of the space. Or you can go the opposite route choosing a complimentary color. That will make your tabletop more of a focal point in the room. The choice is up to you.

10. Reimagine Functional Items

A difficult part about designing a tabletop is that there is often a need for functional items as well as purely decorative ones. Dining tables need placemats or dishes. End tables or coffee tables often need coasters for protection. These kinds of items can completely ruin the look you’re trying to create if they are not considered in the styling or their styles clash with the planned decor.

But reimagining these practical items and making them a key part of the design instead, is the best plan.

The easiest way to do that is to find beautifully made, unique options for these things. Consider both form and function. Taking your time with these selections can make a huge difference. Elevated materials and simple but thoughtful design can change an item from a tool to a decor piece. 

a round mirror framed with ribbed chartreuse wool felt hangs next to a tiled shower

11. Work with the Art on the Walls 

While you’ll be styling the table on its own, it’s essential not to forget what’s going on in the rest of the room. It should all work together to create a beautiful space.

The biggest thing you should think about is the art on the walls near the table. You can help the art make a bigger statement by coordinating the rest of your decor items. 

When everything works together, the whole room makes more sense. 

12. Change it Regularly 

The best part of tabletop decor styling is that it doesn’t have to be permanent. These decor elements are smaller and more mobile than, say, furniture, so they can more easily be changed out. 

Have fun with your tabletop decor and make it a space to express your style in many different ways! 

Even just changing out one element or rearranging the groupings can make a big difference. Don’t be afraid to test things out to see if something might work. If it doesn’t, you can go right back to what you had in a couple of minutes! 

Level Up Your Tabletop Decor With These Easy Tips 

Too often, tabletops become a throw-away spot instead of a statement moment. It’s easy to choose something basic and routine. But it doesn’t have to be difficult to create something more personal and impactful.

The first step can be finding that perfect piece that will inspire and drive all your other choices. Once you have that start, the rest will fall together beautifully. 

At Submaterial, you’ll find just the conversation piece you need to start your tabletop decor off right. From sculptural pieces to coasters, we have something for you. Check out our selection today! 

Three tree shaped design pieces made with wood bases, metal stems and white leather leaves sit on a table with books and art