How to Set an Asian Table

Check out these 7 tips for incorporating Asian elements into a meal and how to present it.


Asian-influenced tabletops can have a variety of looks — from calm and serene to vibrant and exciting — and the key to all of them is composition. Asian tabletops are all about balance, color, placement and the simplicity of the objects. Here are some ideas for setting various moods with Asian elements:

1. Use deep reds and golden highlights to set an opulent Chinese-inspired tabletop. A gold platter with Chinese inscriptions adds drama when used as a charger under red lacquer plates, with the golden hues repeated in the amber stemware. And the centerpiece could be composed of a small group of stone figures flanked by small bunches of red roses.

2. For a serene mood, try a soothing muted green and move the party into the living room. Incorporate a coffee table for serving, and sit on pillows for a casual and fun gathering.

3. Look for geometric shapes, unusual colors (from bright to muted), bamboo linens and placemats, and natural textures such as reed and silk that blend into a balanced presentation. Few elements are needed to get an Asian feel; put glazed ceramic plates over bamboo placemats and use black iron lanterns for festive but simple centerpieces.

4. To create a festive mood, look beyond the dining table. A reproduction Chinese cabinet is a wonderful backdrop for a buffet table decorated with vegetation. Cabbage can overflow from a wrought-iron vase while a row of miniature pineapples stands at attention underneath.

5. Use ordinary rice in a tray with the plates set on top or in a vase with flowers or fresh vegetables. Or line an oblong wooden bowl with rice and place votive candles on top to use as the centerpiece.

6. Wrap the outside of cylindrical glasses in plastic for protection, moisten spring-roll wraps and drape them around the outside of each glass. Once dry, remove the wraps and place a votive holder inside.

7. Place a seaweed wrap between each plate and charger for decoration. Moisten udon noodles and wrap them in a small circle to use as napkin rings once dry, and tie individual name cards to pears with raffia. Rest a pair of chopsticks on a tiny pepper next to each plate.

Next Up

2 Simple Holiday Table Settings

We’ve dreamed up two fun ways to deck out your table this season: One vintage, one modern.

10 Glam Metallic Table Accessories Perfect for Your Holiday Parties

Dress up your holiday table with brass, silver and gold for a luxe look that will wow your guests.

Make Chandeliers and Table Settings Sparkle

Use unusual items and colors to decorate chandeliers and tables for the holidays.

8 Tips for Setting a Beautiful Table

Make meals an event by creating a memorable tablescape.

How to Make Hand-Painted Plates

Give inexpensive white dinner plates a high-end, custom look with a stenciled design and ceramic paint. Not only is this project great for the holidays, but also for weddings, anniversaries and birthdays.

How to Make Tissue Pom-Poms

Make these simple tissue pom-poms to dress up a spring tablescape or hang them from a chandelier for a vibrant look.

How to Make a Recycled Glass Tray

Turn an old storm window and a handful of red sand into a stylish glass tray.

How to Make Tie-Dyed Plates

Paint clear glass to create unique dinnerware.

Creating A Glamorous Holiday Table

Add a touch of holiday glamour to your dining or entry table.

How to Dip Dye Porcelain Dinnerware

Add a modern touch to your vintage china with color blocking to add a fun element to any tablescape.


Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.