In a modern-day family household, dining tables are often one of the most versatile furniture items, rarely used ‘just for dining’. They double up as work bench spaces, whether it’s for creating a COVID-friendly home office, folding laundry or doing crafts with your little ones.

While they are very universal in terms of their practicality, dining tables are often one of the most overlooked furnishings when it comes to their styling potential.

It would be a shame not to decorate that beautiful & large bench space! Even if it only lasts a few days before your kiddos decide to turn it into an impromptu ping-pong table again.

We’ve put together a list of 15 decorative items you can mix & match to create the perfect dining table centrepiece. Enjoy!

1. Cutting Boards

Wooden serving boards are an inexpensive way to tie your decorations together, creating a cohesive feel. That way your eye sees the display as one single centrepiece as opposed to numerous individual décor items.

black and white dining table with wooden cutting board as a base underneath the decoration

2. Trays

Placing all your decorations on a tray does not only serve a visual purpose, but it’s also incredibly practical. If you need to use the table for something else other than dining, simply grab the entire tray and place it elsewhere without disrupting your display.

decorations on a tray

3. Plates & Bowls

As you’re scrolling down, we dare you to keep an eye out on the number of plates & bowls in each picture. Feel free to have a quick look now, we’ll wait.

Have you noticed anything specific?

We talk a lot about the Rule of Three when it comes to styling (although it’s more of a guideline than a rule), yet all our crockery is displayed in pairs of two. Why is this?

An Odd number of objects creates visual interest, an Even number creates a sense of balance.

With plates, we want to make sure they feel warm & welcoming, which is why we’ve chosen the balanced approach. Empty plates & bowls on the table are a subtle indication that there may be food coming soon, which evokes just the right amount of anticipation in your guests (or in our case – potential home buyers).

dining table styled in blue with plates and bowls

4. Napkin or Tea Towel

An easy way to add soft & warm texture to disrupt the coldness of other materials commonly found in kitchens or dining areas (stone, glass, metal, etc.) is to decorate with a napkin or a tea towel.

We love folding the cloth napkins and securing them with a ring to create an elegant & classy look.

If we choose to decorate the centrepiece with a tea towel, we usually leave it folded on the crockery or we drape it over the cutting board.

napkin with a ring

5. Cookbooks

Used either as a base for the décor or leaned against a vase for an additional element of height, cookbooks make a beautiful, colour-theme-setting feature piece of the display.

6. Greenery

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we’re going to say this.


Every dining table we style needs to have something green, whether it’s a bouquet of flowers or a simple array of leaves. Apart from adding freshness & vibrancy to the overall look, greenery is a great way to separate each zone in the living areas of the house (coffee table, dining area, consult table, kitchen, etc.).

More on choosing the best greenery here.

greenery on dining table

7. Empty Vases

Every table needs something green, but not every vase needs to be filled. We love the look of a matching pair of vases, one with plants and the other one empty.

The idea behind this is to diversify the height of each element, making sure the centrepiece resembles a triangle shape when looked at from a distance.

dining table with decorative vases

8. Fruit

Whether you decide to decorate with fresh fruit for a healthy snack or the faux kind to avoid nasty fruit flies, the pop of colour is guaranteed to liven up the space.

fruit on the dining table

9. S&P Shakers

It’s not a dining table without some seasonings! Spice up your dining table centrepiece with some decorative salt & pepper shakers.

salt & pepper

10. Wooden Utensils

No, they are not just for the kitchen.

Displaying some wooden utensils like salad spoons, tongs, or a cheese grater on your dining table is perfectly acceptable, if not encouraged. Similar to what we talked about in point 3, nothing feels more inviting than a served table with everything ready to go.

wooden utensils on a dining table

11. Decorative Bottles

Using an expensive bottle of alcohol or a ‘fancy’ brand of water is a simple, yet effective trick for adding a sense of opulence to the look. For glass water bottles, we use a brand called ‘Antipodes’ which retails for approximately $30 per 6 bottles (pictured).

For styling with alcohol, we like the look of some good-quality whiskey bottles combined with short glasses and a faux lime for extra splash of colour.

decorative water bottle on a dining table

12. Drinking Glasses

Going hand in hand with the previous point, drinking glasses make for a lovely dining table decoration.

Make sure they match the style you are going for (elegant = wine; trendy = whiskey, etc.) and the number of plates & bowls on the table (if any).

13. Empty Jug

The awesome thing about displaying empty jugs is that everyone who sees it connects it with a different memory. Some people imagine it filled with a fresh juice, others may go down the iced tea path or maybe even the sweet and tangy sangria. Either way, their sense of taste will be tickled just by the look of it!

14. Candle Holders

Dinner by candlelight, anyone?

It’s not only romantic, but also incredibly elegant, which is why we use it in properties we’ve decided to dress in the traditional home design.

15. Salad Dressing Bottles

Move aside store-bought salad dressings, it’s time to make space for much better-looking cork-top glass bottles.

Oh, and the best thing about them? You can leave them completely empty, and they will still look absolutely ah-may-zing!

vinegar and oil bottles on a dining table

Now that you’ve seen some examples of the dining tables we’ve styled, let’s summarise it into three rules to create the perfect dining table centrepiece!

  1. BUILD A PYRAMID – Choose decorations varying in height, forming a triangle shape. To contribute to a good depth perception, position the tall items at the back and the short ones at the front. Triangle + depth = pyramid.
  2. COLOUR-MATCH – Nothing feels more disruptive than mismatched colours or styles. Ensure that your decorations are cohesive with the interior style you’ve chosen for the room, as well as the furniture and wall colour.
  3. MIX THE TEXTURES – Get adventurous with mixing different textures & materials to create a visually interesting centrepiece.

Thank you for reading!

You can follow our property styling adventures on Facebook, Instagram or Youtube, we post heaps of styling tips & tricks and behind-the-scenes footage. We hope to see you there!

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