Martyn Lawrence Bullard's 3-step formula for a maximalist table-setting – it's perfect for fall

It's all about mixing colors and layering pieces, according to the designer

martyn lawrence bullard
(Image credit: Left, Getty Images, Tommaso Boddi / Right, CB2)

When it comes to maximalist design, no one captures this style quite so well as celebrity interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard. Known for his eclectic design taste that channels bold prints, rich colors, and luxe materials, Bullard certainly knows how to create maximalist and ultra-sophisticated homes.

That's no different when it comes to creating dinner table setups, with the expert designer channeling a vibrant approach that results in personalized and creative table settings. 

Taking to Instagram, the designer shared a video that talks through his top tips on how to set a table, and it's providing us with plenty of inspiration for the coming months as we anticipate the season of festive dinner parties. 

'The art of setting a dinner table really is an art and it lets you be very, very creative,' Bullard begins the video with. We're in agreement, and so to help you capture this experimental approach to dining table styling, we've summarized Bullard's best tips below for you to follow, as well as rounding up some Bullard-inspired dinnerware items to help you on your way. 

Layer the dinnerware

Dinnerware undoubtedly forms a key part of setting the table, so it's a good starting point when it comes to choosing the overall tone of the table. 'I always like to mix things up a little bit, particularly with my dinnerware,' the designer explains.

Bullard's preference is to create a layered look with dinner plates, mismatching the colors and sizes of plates which adds interest. Whether you prefer a pared-back look or a colorful and maximalist look, you can experiment with layering different styles as much or as little as you like to suit your preferences. 

Opt for colored glassware

Bullard opts to style his table with glasses of varying colors, including a vivid green which pairs with his abovementioned dinner plates, and a rich purple option which he explains provides 'a bit more character' to the setup. 

Follow Bullard's advice and experiment with playful colors with your glassware, or if you prefer, keep things classic with uncolored glass for a timeless look. 

Finish the look with napkins

Lastly, setting a dinner table can really be enhanced by napkins, as explained by Bullard: 'Napkins are a really inexpensive way to change this up. You can buy many colors and refresh the look of your table constantly.'

Bullard opts for a purple set of napkins which compliments the matching glassware, creating a bold and vibrant look. The use of rich colors on the table, such as those used by Bullard is a particularly fitting choice for this time of year: the upcoming winter months are the perfect time to embrace the warming and deep shades associated with fall decor ideas

If you're more drawn to an understated look, opt for neutral-colored napkins that are versatile to pair well with many different design styles. 

Whatever style of tableware you opt for, remember to experiment and see it as a way to channel your own creativity. As Bullard says: 'It is always fun to be creative and it just somehow makes dinner taste so much better.'

Looking for some more table styling ideas? We've rounded up our top fall table decor ideas to give you some more inspiration for creating stunning table settings this fall. 

Paint & Color Editor

Emily is H&G's Paint & Color Editor, covering all things color across interior design and home decor. She joined the team in the summer of 2023, having studied Fashion Communication at university before working in various creative roles ahead of making the leap into interiors. She lives in Glasgow where she loves admiring the city's architecture, frequenting her favorite coffee spots, and sourcing vintage furniture for her tenement apartment. Emily's interior style is inspired by the simplicity of midcentury design, mixed with more playful modern pieces that inject small (but bold) doses of color.