How to create a beautiful tablescape this Christmas and holiday season

The weather’s warming up (debatable, depending on your location!) and the reasons to gather and celebrate are growing. It really is a gorgeous time of year to share food and drinks with friends, co-workers and loved ones at home. There are so many ways to make your guests feel special and create a memorable event, even if it’s a humble BBQ! With some table dressing tools and ideas under your belt, you will have everyone talking about your skills. Explore tablescape ideas (yes, tablescape is a real word) with us and how to build beautiful tables indoors and out.

Ok, before we delve into the world of decorating your table and dreaming up ideas you’ve spotted on Pinterest, let’s talk about what tablescape designs are. It’s essentially setting and decorating the table… with some embellishments and elevating it to an artform. Anything can be part of your table décor, traditional or conceptual, seasonal or thematic. It’s arranging common tableware with artistic flair to celebrate a mood or event and it is an activity that should spark joy. Throw in a glass of champagne and it’s even more enjoyable!

What’s the occasion?

Firstly, consider the occasion as the tablescape will help set the tone for the event. A casual Christmas lunch with the family might have a different look and feel to an intimate dinner on New Year’s Eve, for example. Also, consider who will be sitting at the table. Children are gorgeous things but best not to put your finest china as their setting. Have a think about what you will be serving too as this can impact what cutlery, serving ware or glasses you need. Colour, mixing and matching patterns and styles are indicative of a fun and relaxed event whereas a more tonal and pared-back setting is equally as beautiful but more refined in its vibe. Create a bit of a palette or a moodboard and work from there. What do you have that you can use? This will be the starting point. What pieces will you need to buy, forage or borrow to make the table sing?

Layer, layer, layer

We cannot express how important layering is for a successful tablescape. Protect your tabletop from the inevitable spills and pop down a lovely tablecloth. This can either be a blank canvas or a colourful and pattern-filled linen depending on what you’re trying to achieve. If you would rather not use a tablecloth, placemats are an option. Or have both! More is more! Then layer plates, napkins, glassware and cutlery. Finish with the fun moments. The top of the plate or napkin is a good opportunity to play with sculptural objects that really set the scene. For Christmas, you could add a piece of seasonal fruit, Christmas baubles, a gingerbread man or sprig of herbs. For other celebratory events you could add individual chocolates or little wrapped notes or gifts. Fortune cookies, flowers, shells, name tags and pinecones can also work. Take a wander through your local market, florist or greengrocer. What’s in season? You will find so much inspiration here.

Contrasting heights

It’s important to think vertically as well as horizontally to create the wow factor. This is achieved in the centre of the table for logical reasons! A gorgeous arrangement of flowers can work well or clusters of flowers in smaller vessels spread over the table. The latter is often a success as you should try not to obscure the view across or around the table to allow flowing conversation. Candle sticks and holders are also a way to achieve height and ambience as well. Nothing says a party like candles in our opinion and you can’t have too many. Just be mindful of foliage or fabrics and anything else that could become a hazard next to the flame.

Think outside the square

The wonderful thing about tablescapes is that there are no rules. You can often create a beautiful scene with what you already have (but by all means, we have lots of beautiful options if you’re in need of table linen, candles or serving ware!). In a decorative way, if you’re trying to create a fun, light and casual mood, anything goes. A pile of the most beautiful heritage tomatoes in a footed bowl as a centrepiece? Why not. Clashing prints, colours and styles all on one table? Why not. Contrast materials like ceramic, glass and resin for fun. Consider this as an artistic expression, nothing has to be perfect, but it should certainly be enjoyable.

A final piece of advice, apart from relax and have fun, is to be organised. If time permits, practice setting the table before the event then you can see how it feels, how everything will sit on the table and if it needs more (probably more, it’s always more!). Having a run-through before the day will give you confidence and be far less stressful than realising you need more napkins/ cutlery glasses/ candles/ flowers one hour before guests arrive! For more inspiration or to play with mixing patterns and colours head into our store, this is the stuff that brings us joy!

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