5 Ways To Decorate Communal Dining Tables
Communal dining is so popular now but have you considered how limited you can be from the available space to decorate it for your special event?
It's not the length of the table that matters but the depth.
Most communal tables for hire, or those which are already in situ at venues, are typically 75cm or 90cm deep, with the "designer" styles measuring 100cm deep.
The average dinner plate is 30-33cm in diameter. Just check out all the other items that a guest at a black tie event has at their place setting in the diagram.
So if you have two people facing each other across the table, their plates, glasses and cutlery will occupy at least 66cm of that available table depth, giving you less than 9cm for vases, table numbers or candles on a 75cm-depth table; or about 24cm of decorating space on a 90cm-depth table.
Here's some decorating solutions to consider.
1. Hire deeper tables
Hire tables that measure at least 100cm in depth as this provides your stylist with up to 34cm available decorating space outside of the guest's table setting area vs the 9cm of a 75cm deep communal table.
Or hire TWO communal tables per "table" to give you up to 150cm-depth of tablescape space.
Just make sure you cover up the join with a tablecloth, runner, mirror, or length of floral/foliage garland.
Rows of long thin tables can sometimes resemble school classrooms so you will either need to choose ones stunning in their own right, such as our rustic dining table, that look beautiful uncovered, or dress them with good quality linen.
2. Space people on one side or alternate sides
If you must use narrow (75cm deep) communal tables, set the table so that guests are seated on one side only of the table so each person has full use of the space in front of them.
(Strictly speaking, only being able to talk to the person on your left and right is not really "communal" and it can look somewhat like a bridal table.)
An alternative option is that the guests are seated on alternate sides so that the table settings look like a zigzag from above.
The drawback with both of these options that it restricts the number of guests your guest can speak to at the table.
3. Vertical floral stands
An extremely popular solution for long tables is to hire gold metal floral stands.
Here, the 100cm high floral metal stands sit on the table, usually one every 3m of table.
The florals and foliage are placed on the top metal plate and flow down.
Guests can see each easily through the "legs" of the gold metal floral plinth and they don't typically take up more than 25-35cm of depth of table space.
They're especially ideal for filling the vertical space of high-ceilinged venue spaces.
Normally these plinths are placed on the table join so that guests don't have to sit straddling the table legs!
4. Cylinder vases
Cylinder vases are a space-saving option for narrow communal tables. They can interweave between glasses, plates, cutlery and linen napkins.
Even the most challenging table in terms of depth, will have enough space for a trio or more of cylinder vases with most being around 10-12cm in diameter.
These look great filled with submerged florals and topped with floating candles as you get both looks in one.
5. Cote Noire
Another clever decorating option are the Cote Noire range of faux florals in cylindrical vases.
They're a ready-made French range of scented centrepieces, offering intoxicating fragrance, and flowers which can be used again and again.
They're an especially good decor standby for boardroom event organisers who need an elegant decorating solution at a moment's notice.
See the advantages and disadvantages of communal table seating