A few small tweaks can seriously up your tablescape style and functionality.
1. Overcrowding the Table. If your table is on the small side, cramming it with extra plates and utensils will just make the meal uncomfortable. Adjust your place settings to suit the occasion (hint: you only need one glass if you're serving a casual lunch), or utilize smaller plates to give everyone a little more space.
2. Not Providing Proper Utensils. Serving steak but only providing your guests with a butter knife is a rookie mistake. Take stock of everything on the menu before you start cooking so you don't end up in a bind come table-setting time.
3. Using an Obtrusive Centerpiece. Not being able to see the people you're breaking bread with kind of defeats the purpose of a dinner party. Before you put the finishing touches on your table, try sitting down and testing the height of your centerpiece. If you can't see over or beyond it, swap it out for something shorter.
4. Not Protecting Your Table. Your lovely tablecloth, runner and matching placemats obviously add beauty to your dining room decor, but they also help defend against inevitable wear and tear. Just make sure to measure your table before going out shopping to ensure they fit the table just right.
5. Bringing in Fragrant Flowers and Candles. While fresh blooms and lit candles are undeniably beautiful, their scents can sometimes be overpowering, and when it comes to dinner, you want your food to be the most fragrant thing in the room.
Keep these mistakes in mind though, and your next family dinner or dinner party will surely be a success.