There is no other day in the year more appropriate for setting the most divine tablescape.
It's worth planning your table some weeks in advance of the big day for enjoyment and to achieve a well put together, show-stopping table.
It's important to bring your own creative touch to your Christmas tablescape but in this guide, we'll go through some of the key considerations to give table a professional look that is also utterly delightful for your guests.
1. Layering & Height
Layering adds depth and interest through colour and patterns.
Ways to add layers & height: tablecloths or runners, placemats, charger plates, glasses, velvet ribbons, foliage and flowers in bud vases, candles. Taper or cone candles, and tea lights work well together to accentuate the height between table and the tip of the tall candles.
All items should then balance in consideration to their composition to be pleasing on the eye.
Ways to add texture: moss; foliage; dried flowers; tying herbs or flowers to napkins; velvet ribbon tied to napkins; metallics, patterns and colours on linens; the type of glasses; tea light holders. A mix of antique and new can also add dimension.
Beyond the table, create ambience and interest with cushions, sheepskin rugs and candles on mantelpieces and side boards.
Ensure everything flows and ties in together: the room decor, menu, the atmosphere (relaxed, smart, rustic, etc). Also consider the type of dining event: guests and the time of day. I would add novel elements for children and extra glam for a friend's dinner party.
For example, if you are serving a spiced dessert you could tie cinnamon sticks to your napkins to bring the menu and table together. If your menu is quite deconstructed, don't make your tablescape overly formal, for example, non-linear arrangement of your bud vases and relaxed floral arrangements.
If you're hosting a formal black tie dinner party, be sure to make your tablescape especially "wow". Equally, for an informal family supper, keep the decoration slightly more relaxed.
All elements should complement one another - linen colours, decorative items, candles to your room decor. Whilst it's good to not be too "matchy matchy", it's a good rule of thumb to use each tone or colour at least twice to tie everything together.
3. Consider Your Room Decoration
Go with your natural style and echo the decor in your dining room with your table setting for cohesion. Then, consider the Christmas style or feel you want: rustic chic, contemporary, maximalist, alpine, Scandinavian? Having a clear vision from the start will make things easier.
3. Varying Colours & Tones
One dominant colour plus two to three other complementary tones or colours work well for the best Christmas tablescape. For example, a core colour of burgundy complemented with a pomegranate pink and a metallic such as bronze; or white with two shades of green. For a minimalist look, use white, varying greys and a touch of black for depth.
Use each colour at least twice, unless it's greenery, for a co-ordinated and professional look.
4. Include the Children
Why not get the children involved? Could they bake and decorate some gingerbread men biscuits to present each guest as a favour (if they did portraits this could be especially hilarious), or help with foraging in the garden or spray painting?
A sure way to make your guests feel especially welcome whilst simultaneously saving "hostess stress" (trying to co-ordinate seating guests and making the final supper preparations).
Personalisation can be done in a number of ways: monogram napkins, calligraphy placecards, mini Christmas favours with gift tags or gingerbread men portraits.
Just like good room design, think about the focal point of your table.
A centrepiece arrangement of flowers or foliage in a pedestal bowl looks fantastic on a circular table. Centrepiece's also look great on rectangular tables, but be conscious of height to avoid preventing conversation.
Alternatively, depending on your style, a display of decorative items looks fantastic. A collection of bud vases; novel decorations; a bed of moss or cedar branches layered with candles; a row of poinsettia buds in oasis; baubles - be creative!
Not a must have but certainly a worthy addition. The easiest way to add is to spray paint items such as walnuts, apples or foliage, or through candles.
Ultimately, there's no true right or wrong way: the most important factor is to make guests feel welcome and provide delight. Always consider function too: eating & talking. Leave enough space on the table for placing plates and condiments and that guests can see each other across the table. I prefer bud vases over large centre pieces for this reason.
Budget is also worth considering. You do not need to go the florist and spend a lot on flowers. Utilise your garden and craft shops. For example, think about spray painting objects gold: walnuts, pine cones or even fruit to dress your table. Forage holly as a layering piece, cedar trees and moss. Use Poinsettia buds to put in bud vases or into make a centrepiece with some cost effective oasis.
Check out our lookbook, and Pinterest and Instagram which are fantastic sources of inspiration using search terms such as #ChristmasTablescapes, #ChristmasTableSettings, or other related hashtags.
There are some great interior influencers with a variety of aesthetics who post tablescapes such as @MrsAlice, @SerenaFresson, @FionaLeahyDesign, @@thehoppyhome, @kittengraysonflowers, @aesmeflowers, @hillhousevintage & @laurahammett.interiors. Let us know in the comments if you have any favourite tablescape inspirations!