With Christmas only a matter of weeks away, in all likelihood you are well and truly consumed by ongoing present shopping, festive decorating and your social calendar, however if you’re hosting the main event this year, it’s probably about time you started thinking about your Christmas table decor too. Whether you’re aiming for high end glitz and glamour or a low key rustic table setting, the look you want can be achieved with just a little imagination and within a budget, too. By focusing on the following five key aspects of the dining experience, you can easily create a stunning table setting and perfect ambience for your guests to totally feel at ease in.
Here are the key elements you need to consider when decorating your table this festive season…
1 Table Linen
Pure white table linen will ensure you effortlessly nail that classic, elegant look. A crisp white table cloth is the ideal backdrop for flickering candles, shiny dinner plates and glittering glassware, yet it can be dressed up or down to suit the mood. For a more informal look, try laying a simple white linen table runner down the centre of the table – this can be very effective if, for example, you have a beautiful mahogany dining table you want to show off, however if you decide to use a full tablecloth, make sure it covers the table fully with enough fabric left to hang down the sides elegantly, too. Alternatively an off white or natural dyed linen tablecloth works well within a traditional, more rustic setting.
Lighting is probably the most important factor in setting the mood at a party, and at the dining table this is no exception. The only difference here is that guests will prefer to be able to see what they’re eating so go easy on the ambient low lighting! Instead, create a relaxed and intimate atmosphere with dimmed overhead lighting or simply some lamps lit at differing heights in the room, set off with a grouping of candles either in the centre of the table or placed along its length. Simple white pillar candles of varying heights set onto a mirrored tray work well in the table centre, but if you prefer a row of candles, opt for authentic or LED tealights set into pretty glass jars or metallic holders. Their flickering light creates a wonderfully cosy atmosphere that will ensure your guests feel that warm festive fuzziness!
3 Place Settings
Make your guests feel that warm welcome this Christmas with personalised place settings. Planning who sits where also has the added bonus of allowing you to play about with the different personalities around the table and creating a seating plan that will work socially as well as practically. For a homely, rustic setting, decorate pinecones with silver glitter spray and set one at each place setting with a name card slotted into the top. If you love your decor au naturel, twist individual leafy stalks of rosemary into mini wreaths and secure with string or twine. These can be used as napkin rings with a little gift or plain parcel tag attached with the guest’s name inscribed. The fresh, clean aroma of the rosemary will be really uplifting! For a more glitzy place setting, attach the name card onto a glittery bauble and hang from a wineglass stem or buy a set of miniature glitter covered stag figurines and prop the name card onto its antlers.
Almost any tableware goes with white linen, but do try to echo the style found elsewhere in your home decor. So if, say, your style is boutique hotel chic, with lots of mirrored furniture and geometric design elements, choose perhaps a black and gold theme or all white with touches of metallic sparkle. Copper is also a big trend this year and there are many copper tablewares around, so if you decide to try it out, team it with blush pink and white accents for a contemporary cool look to your Christmas table setting. If your decor preferences are more traditional country, play about with hints of tartan and a predominantly red and gold colour scheme. Choose dinnerware with a simple gold trim and set it off with elegantly cut glassware. For a laid-back, eclectic vibe, don’t be afraid to mix and match vintage plates and dishes and instead of formally laid out cutlery settings, arrange knives, forks and spoons into large glass jars set along the table for everyone to help themselves and bring out your collection of beautiful vintage glasses and tumblers for festive tipples. Invest time now to scour local charity shops for old dinnerware and glassware that can be reinstated to its former glory.
Simple foliage arrangements of holly and ivy or clusters of red berries on branches can make for stunning displays. The general rule would be less is more when it comes to greenery at the dinner table, as you want to avoid decorative overkill and space is at a premium once all the tableware, candles and food have been set out. White roses can look very elegant at the Christmas dinner table, as can sprays of baby’s breath, but do avoid heavily-scented flowers, as like scented candles, they can overpower and impinge on the mouthwatering aromas of the food being served. If all else fails, a large glass bowl filled with glittering gold and silver baubles can make a very glamorous festive centrepiece, or keep the look homespun with a basket of frosted pinecones.
Remember you don’t have to go out and spend a small fortune on new dinner plates and linen napkins to create the perfect Christmas table. Play about with what you already have and do keep an eye out in charity shops and stores such as TK Maxx and supermarket homeware departments for bargain pieces you can use to enhance your dinner party decor. Most importantly, have fun with it and don’t be afraid to experiment a little. Your guests will want to come back next year too!
Author: Dekko Bird