Five simple, elegant table decor ideas for your next soirée.


Anna-Kaisa Walker

As one of Toronto’s most sought-after floral and event designers, Lisa Gray of Sweet Woodruff does more than arrange flowers—she creates stunning tablescapes that showcase her modern-yet-romantic aesthetic. Brides swoon over her lush, garden-inspired creations, but it doesn’t take a wedding-sized budget to recreate some of her favourite ideas at your next dinner party. She shared a few tips on easy, stylish table decorating.


1. Pick one flower and stick with it

Forget those ready-made bundles of mixed blooms. “My favourite DIY is just a single variety of flower in vase,” says Gray. “It could be anything you find at the grocery store, like tulips or mums.” To make them last longer, the chief requirement is a good, sharp pair of shears for trimming stems and removing any leaves that might be under water.


2. Make your decor part of the meal

Fruit is one of Gray’s favourite ways to add an organic, rustic element (and perhaps a post-dinner snack). “I love them strewn down the centre of the table,” she says. “It’s an accessible way to bring colour and still look really elegant.” For fall, try Bosc pears with their brown and mustard yellow tones, or Granny Smith apples for a pop of green. Gray loves using persimmons and stem-and-leaf clementines around the holidays, and even orders whole branches of them.




3. Grab your clippers and head outside

Gray has used sprigs of crabapples, oak twigs with acorns attached, and simple bunches of evergreens to great effect. Try a small spray at each place setting for an understated look, or cluster vessels in groups of uneven numbers (a design principle that’s said to create more visual appeal).


4. Invest in textiles

The backdrop of your table scene, the right fabrics for the table is key. “I love a minimal tablescape with really fine linen, especially true linen in that oatmeal-flax shade,” Gray says. But you don’t necessarily have to spring for a fancy tablecloth. “Some loosely gathered cheesecloth can look great as a table runner,” says Gray. “It’s also easy to dye.”


5. Keep it simple with candles

Gray favours plain white candles, especially classic tapers, surrounded by simple greenery and moss. “It looks really minimalist, clean and Scandinavian,” she says. She likes the ones from Yummi, a family-owned company that manufactures their non-toxic candles in Toronto.