Tablescaping the easy way: The services that deliver showstopping dinner tables to your door

Showstopping dinner tables are the entertaining trend right now. Love the idea of tablescaping but don’t know where to start? Then cheat! Interiors editor Nicole Gray shows you how…

Maison Margaux Portofino tablescape
Portofino tablescape, £65 per person to hire (excluding tablecloths and flowers), maisonmargauxltd.com

Setting the table for dinner is a routine we are all familiar with. However, setting the table for guests and special occasions requires a different level of creativity. It calls for tablescaping.

Maison Margaux English Meadow tablescape
English Meadow tablescape, £65 per person to hire (excluding tablecloths and flowers), maisonmargauxltd.com

Not familiar with the term? Put simply, tablescaping is the art of dressing your table for a dinner party or special occasion – in the same way you might put together an outfit for a night out. Starting with the tablecloth, you colour-coordinate and theme your way up to the napkins, plates, bowls, salt and pepper shakers and candles, finishing off with a vase of flowers or a bowl of fresh seasonal fruit.

Lay London Earl Grey afternoon tea tablescape
Earl Grey afternoon tea tablescape, from £20 per person to hire, laylondon.com

The main difference between a laid table and a tablescape is the experience. The latter must be a visually elaborate, Instagram-worthy, beautifully styled spread. It is for those who want to entertain more gorgeously at home by elevating the humble tabletop to a thing of beauty. But what if you don’t know where to start? Or simply don’t have the time?

Dress for dinner tablesscape
Treat Yourself tablescape for four to keep, £139 (excluding cutlery, tablecloth and flowers), dressfordinner.co.uk

Bespoke tableware companies such as Maison Margaux, Lay London, Dress For Dinner and lifestyle writer and influencer Alice Naylor-Leyland can bring the glamour of dining out to your doorstep. ‘Rent, host, return’ is the mantra for Maison Margaux and Lay London, with each offering rentable, catwalk-inspired looks for the tabletop.

Lay London English Garden tablescape
English Garden tablescape, from £25 per person to hire, laylondon.com

So how does it work? You select a dining table look, pick your date and party size (minimum orders average at four place settings), then also opt for the ‘lay-up’ service, where companies can style the table for you. Then, once the party is over, the tableware is collected. Easy.

Serena tablescape
Serena tablescape to keep, £340 for four (excluding cutlery and tablecloth), alicenaylorleyland.com

‘People want to create and capture that perfect memory or Instagram moment, and tablescapes play a huge part in that,’ explains Louisa Preskett, co-founder of Maison Margaux which specialises in creating luxe looks for less. The company offers customers a treasure trove of china, glass, cutlery and linens from high-end designers to hire at a snip of the cost of the actual items.

Nancy tablescape
Nancy tablescape to keep, £365 for four, alicenaylorleyland.com

Want something with more longevity? Dress For Dinner sells Treat Yourself boxes whereby a twinkling array of pastel tableware is gift-boxed and delivered to your door for you to keep. All boxes come with handy tips on how to lay out the desired spread.

Maison Margaux Classic Pink tablescape
Classic Pink tablescape, £45 per person to rent (excluding flowers and tablecloths), maisonmargauxltd.com

Alice Naylor-Leyland offers a similar service, with colour-coordinated and seasonally themed tablescapes to buy in boxes packaged to your door. ‘My customers love that they no longer have to think about the table,’ says Alice. ‘They can just relax and enjoy the occasion.’

Lay London Chelsea Blues tablescape
Chelsea Blues tablescape, from £25 per person to hire, laylondon.com

Win! A luxury table spread worth £650

We’ve teamed up with Maison Margaux to give one lucky reader the chance to win a ten-person English Meadow table setting for hire, worth £650, or a £650 voucher towards a future hire order with Maison Margaux. Simply visit you.co.uk/winmaisonmargaux and follow the steps to enter.