Whether it’s a small gathering with 10 tables or a large-scale event with more than 50 tables, your table décor always says something about your event. Details definitely matter and people will notice the difference between a half-ass design and a thoughtful preparation. Something like a typical centerpiece of brightly-colored flowers can look dated and uninspired. In 2011, designers are taking table design into several new directions. Below we explore some of our favorite trends of the year that can make your next event a modern and memorable affair.

As the world strives to become more eco-friendly, event planners are taking a “green” approach to table design. Table centerpieces focusing on moss-covered logs, mini trees, and manicured grass are becoming more prevalent in 2011 events. Lush green plants and foliage bring an effortless elegance to a relaxed setting. Designers are experimenting with organic accents such as sage, moss, ferns, and ivy, in combination with synthetic accents such as botanical-printed napkins, floral-printed table runners, woven place-settings, and woodsy furniture, all for that comfortable earthy environment.

Expanding on that idea, there also appears to be an abundance of  plant protection and preservation themes. Ideal for eco-related charity events, the plant museum concept aims for an appreciation of mother nature on a level that seems almost post-apocalyptic, as if all of Earth’s ecosystems have died and plants must now be viewed as protected exhibits. It incorporates ideas like plant-filled terrariums, flowers floating in water-filled orbs, and glass-cloche-covered floral arrangements. Orbs hanging from trees also seems to be a common occurrence, either filled with additional plant life or LED lights as a creative way to incorporate lighting. Whatever form it’s executed as, vegetation behind glass can illustrate a fragility and purity that’s somewhat refreshing at the dining table.

Adding to that delicacy, it seems the orchid is still reigning high this year as the flower of choice in regards to floral trends. With their long stems and variety of vibrant colors, orchids have long been a favorite among event planners for adding splashes of dramatic color. Whether potted or in a fancy vase, orchid plants generally can grow fairly tall, catching interest by adding volume to tables. Submerged orchid pieces are also a great way to make color splash without having to worry about the frailty of the plant.

Finally, it seems that animals have also made it onto the dinner table in a way other than the main course.  Designs featuring animal sculptures like of owls or horses, animal parts such as antlers or furs, and animal productions such as ostrich eggs and birds’ nests, are becoming increasingly popular to achieve that outdoorsy feel. Animal prints are also popular, with outrageous zebra and leopard patterns in non-organic colors serving has tablecloths, runners, and napkins. Additionally artificial representation of animals is also big, like fake painted antelope heads hung in the surroundings, flowers arranged into Rose-parade-like animal formations, and photos of animals on encompassing walls.