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The Art of Stylish Holiday Tablescapes: My 6 points for a gorgeous table.
As the holidays get closer, I get excited about the joy and fun of entertaining. Some years are quieter than others – this year in particular will be quiet due to my husband planning a routine medical procedure the week before Christmas. It had to be done when he could take 2 weeks off from traveling for work. Oh well – I am already thinking about a Christmas party for next year to make up for it!
But in previous years and moving forward, my main focus of a holiday gathering is planning a beautiful and festive table. It’s a special spot in the festivities – whether you have a buffet or a sit-down, the dining table is always a focal point and a chance to say – “you’re special to me!”
1. Choose Your Palette and Theme
I look for inspiration from what I already have on hand and then build from there. Good decorating is all about building layers + repetition. I am not going to go out and buy all new dishes! But I might look for fresh, colorful chargers, a tablecloth, or napkins. https://www.crateandbarrel.com/ is one go-to source for fresh additions to my table.
I may even do a mock-up of items I have to see if I like the combination – playing around with old and new often creates a beautiful combination you never thought of before!
To start, choose colors that match your personal style and go well with your home’s decor. Neutral colors like beige, cream, and gray can create a soft background. Adding gold, silver, or deep red accents brings a festive feel. Adding natural elements like pinecones, greenery, or wood can make your table look more natural and beautiful.
2. Tableware: Mixing and Matching with Style
Selecting the right tableware is crucial for setting the mood. Opt for simple yet elegant plates and bowls that align with your color scheme. This is the repetition that calms the eye. We’re eating after all! The food should be the focal point ultimately. Yet mixing and matching different pieces can add depth and interest. For instance, pair a plain dinner plate with a decorative salad plate. Remember, luxury is in the details – a beautifully designed serving platter can elevate the entire setting.
I Like Elegant Yet Unfussy Place Settings
I try to make each place setting both beautiful and functional. Layering a textured napkin between plates adds depth, and a hand-written name card is an easy way to make each guest feel special. Keep cutlery arrangements straightforward and ensure that glassware is appropriate for the beverages you plan to serve. I personally like to mix and match glassware – mostly because I don’t have multiple sets of anything!
A tablecloth adds a classic, traditional touch, but just as fun and offbeat can be colorful chargers or table runners, depending on the size of the table.
3. Creating a Focal Point: The Centerpiece
The centerpiece is where you can let your creativity shine. For a holiday seasonal arrangement, most of my inspiration for a centerpiece comes from my backyard – snips of holly berries, douglas fir, a few leftover red leaves on a twig can be enough to warm up the table for the holidays.
Consider a low floral arrangement that encourages easy conversation across the table for a relaxed yet luxurious feel. Adding candles can create a warm and inviting ambiance. A simple garland of greenery with small ornaments may be enough, and I just love the little battery-operated fairy lights to add special sparkle!
4. Lighting: Setting the Mood
Lighting plays a key role in creating the right atmosphere. Candles are a classic choice, providing both illumination and elegance. For a more modern touch, consider using a string of LED lights along the center of the table or around the centerpiece. I usually light candles throughout the home – just a few here and there adds romance and low pools of light that adds to the festive mood.
5. The Art of Layering
Layering different textures and materials can add depth and interest to your tablescape. A glossy red ball stuffed into douglas fir is a wonderful classic contrast! Consider how different fabrics, from the smoothness of ceramic plates to the roughness of a linen napkin, play against each other to create a tactile experience. Wooden chargers sitting under grandma’s fine china add visual interest and unexpected textures.
6. A Final Touch of Whimsy
Lastly, don’t be afraid to add a touch of whimsy or an unexpected element to your tablescape. I might add a little wrapped gift to each plate or write up a novel way of presenting the menu. Or maybe put a holiday cookie on each setting. It’s these surprising details that often leave a lasting impression on your guests.
As you prepare for the holiday season, remember that guests remember the experience and the journey of celebrating with you – not necessarily the food! Embrace the principles of laid-back luxury to create a space that is both elegant and warmly inviting.
Hi, I’m Holley Pokora, and since 2001, I’ve worked with builders, realtors, and homeowners creating beautiful, swoon-worthy spaces that are right for you. Are you ready for a designer home of your dreams? Book a consultation!