How to Style an Instagrammable Tablescape

FALL 2017
By Kristen Bateman for Modern Muse

Few things are more swoon-worthy than a gorgeous tablescape on Instagram. Combine delicious food, fresh flowers, a chic tablecloth and pretty plates and you'll be set for your own picture-perfect dinner party. We spoke to New York–based food stylist Julia Choi to get her five pro tips to elevate your food photo game.

1. Choose a Vintage-Inspired Statement Piece

Whether it's a gorgeous antique punch bowl from your favorite flea market or a chic silver spoon, a vintage item (inspired or the real deal) adds just the right amount of rustic flair and can easily become the statement of your table. "There's something about weathered props that add character and a story to the picture," Choi says. "It also gives a very authentic feel, which I like a lot." We were excited to find a selection of very cool vintage-inspired options at Nordstrom.

2. Mix and Match for a Funky Vibe

Happy #independenceday you guys!

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"Mix and match is one of my favorite techniques when I want to give a photograph a fun personality," Choi explains. "Different colors and textures that don't seem like they will go together somehow mesh into a unique harmony." To get the look, choose eclectic plates from Anthropologie in various shapes, sizes and colors. Don't be afraid to mix patterns or pair unconventional colors together.

3. Go Monochromatic

What #work looks like today

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Place fresh fruits and cute snacks of the same color family on dishes for maximum impact. To make it even more visually stunning, plates can also be matched to a chosen color scheme. "Setting the scene around the natural color of a fruit or veggie is an elegant way of creating a fun image," notes Choi. "What could've been just a fruit or veggie is now way more interesting because it has matching, colored props around it."

4. Channel Retro Vibes with Newspaper

Seems like the weather is finally catching up with what I like to do this time around!

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This might just be one of the easiest ways to create a fun Instrammable tablescape. "I love using the Times," says Choi. "Particular words in the article, colors in a picture — they instantly add a story to a photograph. And, if you think newspaper is just for summer meals of lobster and grilled veggies, think again: "It's also a fun way to add an ethnic twist," Choi adds. "Think Spanish newspapers for tapas, Korean newspapers for Korean fried chicken, etc."

5. When in Doubt, Use Fresh Flowers

Drooling and dreaming of that day I styled and @asphotonyc photographed a #brunch spread for @3pigspate

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"I can't stress enough the role of pretty flowers in a shot," says Choi. "I did a shoot with vermillion-colored hibiscus once. Even just a couple of them in the shot was so striking — it totally made the entire picture!" Take a cue from Choi and choose tropical blooms or even leafy fronds to spice up a typical tablescape. Of course, in addition to real flowers you can also play with contrast and opt for floral-themed cutlery or dishes, found at Pier 1 or in the decor section of Macy's.