Credit: Maddie Roux

While gift-giving might be top of mind (see our first gift guide here), organising festive and new year celebrations can often come second. There’s curating the perfect menu (keeping in mind gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan dietaries), the guest list and finally, a venue. Hosting is no easy feat, and with our obsession for aesthetics, the tablescape has become just as important as the food.

Tablescaping, for the unacquainted, describes the setting and decorating of the dining table according to a theme. The perfect tablescape exudes personality and ambience to an otherwise plain table, and thanks to the creative powers that be on the internet, it’s now a viral sensation. Foodie influencer and NON ambassador Jessica Nguyen knows all about this affinity after finding fame in lockdown for her delicious recipes and aesthetic home styling.

Credit: Maddie Roux

“I’m a big advocate for tablescaping, and whilst others may think it’s frivolous or gratuitous to spend time dressing up a table, it’s absolutely not,” Nguyen told GRAZIA. “To me, tablescaping sets the intention and mood for your meal.”

In the lead-up to Christmas day lunch, we tapped the creative for her take on the viral trend and asked how we could emulate the perfect tablescape at home. Here is her step-by-step guide.

The Tablecloth

A tablecloth is the fastest and easiest way to transform a tablescape. I love a fun print or patterned tablecloth for the table and will shamelessly recommend my tablecloth collection I collaborated with Kip & Co on.

Kip & Co x Jessica Nguyen Check Linen Table Cloth, $159. SHOP NOW

If you don’t own any tablecloths, even a picnic blanket or flat sheet from your linen cupboard will work!

The Glasses

Glassware is important for the table… I love having coloured glassware that is mismatched to add interest to a table. Plus, I rarely have a full set of glasses these days, there’s always one missing from a set, a sign of many good drinks and parties. A lot of mine are sourced from all over, including op shops and places I’ve travelled to, but here are some of my favourites that you can purchase to add to your collection.

Fenton & Fenton Champagne Flutes, $120. SHOP NOW
Aeyer Cascais Cup set, $79. SHOP NOW
Maison Balzac Large Goblet Sets, $89. SHOP NOW

The Bar Cart

I always like to set up an area for the drinks, where there’s water and a bucket for cold drinks chilling and maybe a few spirits and cocktail equipment for people to help themselves. It could be a table, a bar cart or the sideboard. If you set this up in advance, it naturally gestures to your guests to top themselves up.

Fenton & Fenton Wild Child Bar Cart, $890. SHOP NOW

The Drinks

A welcome drink is key to the perfect dinner party and I always have a few bottles chilled in my fridge ready to go, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic to cater to everyone’s needs. I always have a few bottles of NON ready as my non-alcoholic drink option as the bottles are beautifully designed and will look good on a table, the shape lends itself to looking like a wine but most of all the flavours and tastes are unique and pair wonderfully with food.

NON Drinks The Everyday Set, $90. SHOP NOW

The Serveware

Every table needs fun yet functional platters to serve the food on. I love this playful Prawn Platter from Maison Balzac as well as their bamboo platters which are made of sustainable and biodegradable bamboo. They are really lightweight and portable making them perfect for summer picnics and entertaining.

Maison Balzac Bamboo Ocean Platter, $119. SHOP NOW

The Condiments

Spicy Serum
Le Creuset Salt Mill
Le Creuset Pepper Mill

The Apron

When you’re the host prepping food and setting everything up, an apron is something I wear to make sure I don’t get anything on my outfit beforehand. I love this apron and have been wearing it for over five years now.

Cargo Crew Boston Denim Bib Apron, $45. SHOP NOW

The Flourishes

Flowers and candles will always set the mood (editors note: if you’re Sydney based we love Poho Flowers for a tablescape), but don’t go overboard with them because it really should be about the food and drink. Flowers will play into the theme or aesthetic you’re going for and the lit candles in a holder will provide ambience. If you’re not a flower person, you could even use things like branches, foliage or even fruits and ingredients that tie into your theme or menu.

Maison Maison Balzac Pomponette Vase, $159. SHOP NOW
Maison Balzac 5 Chandelles, $35. SHOP NOW
PDaddi Candle holders, $222. SHOP NOW


Summery lunches are filled with seafood for me. So I love a fresh seafood platter, some easy to whip up baked scallops and maybe a retro prawn cocktail elegantly dressed in martini glasses and for drinks, I’d pair this with: