Should Your Dining Table Always Be Set?

Whether or not you wish to set your dining table when it is not in use depends on many things.

topvew close up luxury tableware set with silver spoon and crystal glasses interior decoration background,Should Your Dining Table Always Be Set?

We may include affiliate links and curated AI content to highlight top design styles.

When we look at home living magazines and television, the dining room table can seem like a window into the stability of the home.

However, only you can decide what makes the most sense for your home and lifestyle.

Things to Keep in Mind Before You Choose How to Set Your Dining Table

  • You and your family may not be the formal type, and you might not want to have the table set all the time.
  • You may also have pets, especially cats, who occasionally climb on the table to prove they can.
  • You may also be sensitive even to the potential for dust that might get on your dishes while you are not using them.
  • If you have young children, you might worry about dishes breaking if you always leave them on the table.

Many home interior magazines will show beautiful dining table spreads that might tempt you to want to do something similar.

No matter what you decide, it’s important to consider your personality and lifestyle to make the best choice for you.

What Does a Set Table Mean to You?

Get our FREE 7 design style cheat sheets
Subscribe for home design tips & inspiration
Get your free gift: Downloadable design style cheat sheets
Thank you for subscribing!
Beautiful Easter table setting with festive decor indoors. - Should Your Dining Table Always Be Set?

A set table means different things to different people. So, it’s important to consider your household’s priorities.

Does it mean being ready for a meal? Do you prefer having a nicely decorated centerpiece on the table?

Perhaps you want to be prepared to have someone over for coffee or tea, maybe you’re getting ready for the next holiday, or you might just want to keep things as simple as possible.

The Mealtime Dining Table

Beautiful Christmas table setting

For some, it means having the dining table look as if everything is ready to sit down for a meal with plates, silverware wrapped in napkins, and beverage glasses in place either right-side-up or up-side-down.

Coordinating serving dishes may be in the center of the table, so the only preparation at mealtime is to fill them in the kitchen and put them back on the table.

If you choose the “full service” option, avoid settings likely to break or chip between meals.

The Center of Attention

A table at a Jewish home set for the Shabbat meal

For others, this means that the center of the table is always decorated, possibly with plants, flowers, or a fruit basket.

Some people like to keep unlit candles or upside-down wine glasses for the adults in the household or regular guests. The sides of the table are kept clear until someone needs to grab a plate.

This less formal setup makes the table look nice while allowing for functionality, such as quick snacks or doing homework or paperwork.

Tea (or Coffee) Time (Or Wine Time)

Folding table with cups and white tea pot and chair with pillow against black brick wall in kitchen

Many people want their table to look ready for company or as if they are ready to sit down and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, or even a glass of wine, without much preparation beforehand.

Having a tea or coffee serving set in the middle of the table with coordinating cups and saucers is a great way to give a welcoming touch to your dining table.

This is a great option if you host book clubs or other recreation with a few friends occasionally.

Getting Into That Holiday Spirit And Staying There

Festive table served for Christmas party with lamps hanging over meal and decorated firtree against black wall

Another possible look for your dining table is to get some inspiration from whatever holiday is coming up next and base your centerpieces on that.

Some prefer a seasonal theme over specific holidays. For instance, in October, Halloween fans might decorate with ghosts, witches, and zombies.

If you prefer autumn, a cornucopia or fall-colored flowers can be your centerpiece.

Elegant atmospheric beautiful dinner table setting for thanksgiving or wedding celebration, fall countryside style, pumpkins as decor

In winter, you can choose holiday decorations that reflect your family’s traditions or winter symbols like snowflakes, penguins, and snowglobes. Crafty family members might display their creations.

Christmas table setting with candle holders and fir trees in kitchen

Spring can be celebrated with flower buds, young animals, and rain gear, reflecting the season’s newness.

Warm and spring dining room interior with easter accessories, round table, vase with green leaves, cake, colorful eggs, rabbit sculpture and personal accessories

Summer centerpieces can include fresh fruit, vibrant flowers, and bright colors. Holidays like Memorial Day and Independence Day feature small flags and patriotic decor.

Independence Day -inspired table  feature small flags and patriotic decor.

Speaking of patriotic celebrations, check out these creative 4th of July decor ideas and quick and easy patio decor ideas to get ready for the celebrations.

A Simple Style

table set in the backyard

Just because you have a dining table doesn’t mean it has to be ready and look great all the time.

Many use their table for multiple purposes, so minimal decor is often preferred. During the pandemic, dining rooms have turned into temporary schools, with planters of art supplies replacing kitchen utensils.

Keeping just one vase of flowers or a basket of fruit in the center can simplify things, and using placemats can help prevent clutter.

White wooden rack with books, decor and fresh plants standing in grey dining room interior with flowers on hairpin table

To prevent random clutter, it’s important to have a good system in place so that everyone gets their mail in a spot away from the table.

If a nearby area is usually clear, like a coffee table or breakfast bar, you can temporarily move a vase, planter, or basket there during mealtime to make the best use of the table.

Extra cabinets or mini fridges in the dining room can also reduce trips to the kitchen.

What if You Don’t Want to Follow the Rules?

When deciding on decor, it’s important that your home continues to feel like your home.

No matter how pretty that beautifully set table looked in the magazine, if it doesn’t fit in with the way you and your family live your lives, then it is not going to work long term.

At the end of the day and various times in the middle of the day, it’s more important for the table to be functional and the tone in the house to be inviting, even if it’s a little messy or cluttered at times.

Stylish wooden dining table and chairs in room

Many people don’t want to go to the trouble of having their dining room table decorated or set up constantly.

Some even only decorate their dining table when expecting company, and that’s okay. You can even let your child set up a tea party or display their latest toy masterpiece.

If the cat has declared himself the centerpiece, just make sure the table gets sanitized before you have a meal.

Whether you live in an apartment or a high-end house, your home needs to feel like your own. Aim for a good impression without compromising your personal style.

Get our FREE 7 design style cheat sheets
Subscribe for home design tips & inspiration
Get your free gift: Downloadable design style cheat sheets
Thank you for subscribing!
Share with a friend -

3 Comments

  1. I think keeping a table set is low class and in poor taste. Not only that, all of those place settings simply collect dust and need to be cleaned before use anyway. Just get a nice centerpiece, already!

  2. I don’t think it is tacky. I think it is old fashioned thought. On tje other hand people can do what they want. I find it tacky to see mail and junk on a table. I love pretty things. If it is a beautifully set table everyday, wonderful!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *