Dining table styling for wonderful weeknight dinners

26 October, 2020
dark timber chairs dining table styling

A little extra effort with your dining table styling is a great way to bring the magic back to weeknight dining at home.

It’s been a strange year, and everyone’s routine has changed. Feeling comfortable and happy at home goes a long way to helping us all cope with challenges, big and small.

So after work or family commitments, eating a yummy meal at a table set beautifully is a great way to finish the day. It brings the family together. It is a focal point for conversation. And it will look great and make you feel great too. 

Our founder and interior stylist Lauren Keenan is sharing her tips for taking your dining table styling up a notch. Also in this episode of At Home with Lauren Keenan, we talk to chef and Marley Spoon co-founder Olivia Andrews about mid-week meal inspiration and the booming popularity of meal kit delivery services.

Stream the show here now or subscribe in your favourite podcast app like Spotify, iHeartRadio or Apple Podcasts so you never miss an episode. 


Lauren is a firm believer that you should enjoy your dinner at the dining table. And if you can’t do it every night, then even just a few nights a week is great. 

So here are Lauren’s tips for stepping up your dining table styling to create a fun and special mid-week dining experience at home.

Select a beautiful tablecloth and placemats.
Setting the table is a big part of creating a fun vibe and anchoring the meal around the dining table. 

“My most important tip with dining table styling is to create layers. Start from the table-top and work upwards. Start with a tablecloth and / or placemats – either one or both is a great start,” Lauren says.

For tablecloths, Lauren favours linen and recommends brands including L&M Home, I Love Linen and Kip & Co

“You could go for a classic linen tablecloth in a nice grey or dusty blue. A linen tablecloth may cost a little more, but it is something that you will have for a long time and will get better with age. The range from Kip & Co has a little more personality and I like their Night Jungle tablecloth which is perfect for summer.”

For placemats, look for something that is a little thicker and protects your table. That’s especially important when it comes to hot plates if you’re not also using a tablecloth. Lauren recommends the claro placemat from The Decor House. They come in a range of colours and is big enough for your plate, cutlery and glassware.

Get creative with your plates and glassware.
Every kitchen needs a classic white crockery range, but alternative earthy ceramics add texture and make it feel that bit more special.  

“There are some really gorgeous ceramics available these days that are quite special. I spoke on the podcast recently about Batch Ceramics, which has some lovely pieces that do cost a little more but you will be getting an heirloom type piece.

“If you have children or live with someone who’s a bit heavy handed, then think about a more cost effective option. Places like Country Road, Robert Gordon and even Kmart do some affordable pieces that will definitely do the job.

“I also think it is nice to serve at the table. That way you get to enjoy seeing the plates as part of the table setting.”

Coloured glassware is still a really strong trend and it’s very accessible and easy to style at home. And there are lots of different styles you can choose from depending on the look you want to create. For example, if you want a vintage vibe maybe opt for a pale pink or green glass in a goblet style. Or if you prefer contemporary coastal style then look for a simpler squat design in a pale blue or amber. Places to shop include Temple & Webster, Maison Balzac, Casa e Cucina.

Add the finishing touches with some flowers or greenlife and candles.
Choose a small vase so you can still see over the table. And tea lights are great for a casual feeling but if you would like a little more glamour try some tapered or shaped candles. 

“Make sure your candles are unscented. You don’t want the scent from your candle getting confused with the lovely aromas coming from your kitchen. Maison Balzac, The Decor House, Candle Kiosk all have very fun options.”

Turn the TV off and put some music on.
Music sets the mood, while TV can be a distraction. There are lots of great dinner music playlists on Apple Music and Spotify. So pop on your favourite tunes and get to Masterchef and The Block after you’ve packed the dishwasher. 

Enjoy your meal!
Take the time to enjoy your food and the lovely table you’ve created. Have a conversation with your partner or the kids. And once you’ve got your dining table styling kit, you can roll it out when you like!


Lauren and her husband Scott have been ordering meal kits for mid-week dinners for around five years. It’s a great way to get healthy and tasty food in easy to prepare packs. And it means you don’t have to think of what to cook every night.  

We spoke to Olivia Andrews from Marley Spoon about the shift to online grocery shopping and the boom in meal delivery kits during the pandemic.

“We had to employ around 150 new staff members in a matter of weeks. It was great that the business was booming and it was growing exponentially. But we needed to make sure that the quality and standard was there and the boxes were delivered on time,” Olivia said. 

“A lot of the trends coming out of the pandemic have been growing for years and it’s accelerated during this time. Meal kits have been incredibly and increasingly popular in Europe and the US. The shift towards online grocery shopping is really just starting in Australia.”

Olivia has produced a new book called Step-by-Step with Marley Spoon. It features the top 100 Marley Spoon recipes according to their 1,000s of Australian customers. 

“These recipes are user tested and we know that they are winners through and through. They feature six-step shots like our recipe cards so you can really use it as an instructional guide. Everyone’s got their favourites. People love all types of Asian cuisines but we celebrate a variety of cuisines at Marley Spoon.” 

Olivia Andrews from Marley Spoon is an experienced food professional. She cooked in Gordon Ramsay’s Michelin-starred restaurant in London. She has worked across a range of well-known food cooking shows and magazines. And Olivia is a cookbook author and TV presenter.


With Christmas coming soon, you may be thinking about how to style your dining table for the festive season. Our interior stylist Lauren Keenan has tackled this topic in a previous podcast episode with fellow interiors expert Annie Bloom from Visual Empire.


Here are the links for Lauren’s Lovely List recommendations in this episode:

  • Buy exclusive Australian-made homewares at Victoria’s Atley.co 
  • Find more Australia-made furniture and homewares in the updated offering from retailer Freedom Furniture.  

This episode of the podcast is supported by leading Sydney real estate agent Ercan Ersan, who you can trust to connect you with the property that’s right for your lifestyle. 

If you’ve been listening to us for a while, you might have noticed our new podcast artwork!

Our award-winning interior design podcast is now in its fifth year. Lauren and Producer Scott are helping you to adapt to new ways of doing things during the pandemic. And we want to keep helping you create a home you love.  

Upcoming guests on the podcast include Grace McBride from Spend with Them. It is a not-for-profit shining a light on businesses affected by recent bushfires and the economic impact of the pandemic.   

Get in touch if you have a topic you want us to talk about on At Home with Lauren Keenan. Rate and review the show on Apple Podcasts. And subscribe in your favourite podcast app like Spotify or iHeartRadio so you never miss an episode. 

If you want to hire Lauren to help create your perfect home, whether it’s building, renovating or just updating your favourite room, email lauren@laurenkeenan.com.au.

Find out more about the services offered at Lauren Keenan Home. And check out Lauren’s portfolio of work for some inspiration. Thanks for listening!

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