10 Tips For Designing The Perfect Holiday Table

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ONE: Select Your China

When decorating a holiday table, I suggest selecting the china first before deciding on all the other table elements. This is similar in concept to designing an entire room. Choose the large elements first, which will give you much more room for expanding the design with the smaller design details. Consider mixing and matching china, and I love using a mix of old and new china. Vintage items mixed with contemporary pieces will give your table a unique and personal look. Look for items with similar colors and patterns with a similar scale. Try shopping at flea markets, antique stores, or even garage sales for vintage china and unique serving pieces, and this will add personality and pattern to your table. This is the time to pull out any items that were passed down from previous generations. Reproduction china will give you that vintage look without having to hunt for each piece. New, inexpensive plates, and dishes, will modernize the entire look when pattern and scale are adequately mixed. Find all of the serving pieces you will use and be sure you have enough for each table setting.

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TWO: Choosing Your Color Scheme

After choosing your china for your holiday table, now you can begin to create a color scheme. Try using complementary color, a monochromatic color scheme, or just a pop of color. Work off the colors of your china, and don’t be afraid to be daring with color selections. This cobalt blue, red, and gold color scheme is one that I really enjoyed creating for my own home. In addition, this selection of colors allowed me to showcase my beautiful blue and white china collection.

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THREE: Designing Your Centerpiece

You are designing your centerpiece! Here is where you can have some fun! Play with various items, check to see if the size and proportion of your centerpiece or arrangement work for the size of your table. Use groupings of things; this looks great, especially on a long rectangular table. If your table is round, a collection of items of varying heights or one center vase of flowers will look beautiful!

Pull in the colors from your table color scheme. Use fresh flowers or even a bowl of ornaments to coordinate with your decor, and it will look great. I hope you have fun creating your centerpiece!

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FOUR: Add Something From Nature

Add something from nature- So many natural elements can be used as part of your holiday table decoration. A touch of nature adds an organic element to your decor. I have used everything from pinecones, fruit, vegetables, branches, tree bark, and every nut, berry, and greenery variety that I could find in my area to enhance my table. Some of these elements add fragrance as well. Fruit combined with greenery can make a great centerpiece. Small arrangements of flowers or greenery at each place setting can add a touch of nature to your table. Add paint, ribbon, candles, be creative; remember to clean everything thoroughly before bringing it in from the yard. A little goes a long way with natural elements. Stick with one or two items in multiples.

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FIVE: Add The Glow Of Candlelight

Add the glow of candlelight, as this is a great way to illuminate your holiday table. Candlelight bouncing off glassware and china will create a soft glow and add sparkle to the holiday table. Vary heights and sizes for a more interesting table. Several candles of the same height will give a more contemporary look. Carefully place candles as not to interfere with chandelier decor and table greens. Anchor your candles by securing them to the base. A dab of hot glue to your candle holder or other base will secure them nicely. This will prevent taper candles from tipping. Also, buy quality candles as the wax will melt a little more evenly.

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SIX: Use Place Cards

Use place cards. This is a great way to make your guests feel welcomed at your holiday table. When my children were little, I always involved them in creating place cards for everyone. A simple fall leaf can be transformed into an elegant place card with a marker. Have fun and get creative. Everyone will be thrilled to see their name at their place setting.

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SEVEN: Table Linens

Table linens include tablecloths, napkins, runners, and placemats. When you mix them properly, table linens can pull together the entire look of your holiday table. When choosing these items, it is essential to size them properly to your table. Measure your tabletop, and be sure you find a tablecloth that is bigger than your table. I like quite a bit of overhang on a tablecloth, be sure the overhang is even on all sides of your table. If you use a runner, be sure it is long enough for your table, these should overhang as well. Mix patterns and fabrics together, but be sure to keep your china as the focal point. Use unexpected fabrics for your table, a beautiful wool blanket, a scarf, some crisp, simple dish towels. These items can make an attractive, unique choice for table covers, placemats, or napkins if the colors coordinate.

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EIGHT: Decorative Details

Add personality to your table by adding decorative details, heirloom salt and pepper shakers, ornaments, unique items that pull together the entire look of your table. I have a large selection of napkin rings and display pieces in my collection that often show up on a holiday table differently depending on the overall plan. It can be fun to incorporate meaningful items from family members, like great grandma’s crystal bowl filled with candy, flowers, or ornaments. Just be sure it all ties in together in theme, color and proportion. Too many different things together will look cluttered and messy. Layer your table carefully, and just like putting on jewelry, if you are not sure, remove a piece. A little decorative detail goes a long way when mixed with the other elements of your table.

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NINE: Glassware

When talking about a beautiful holiday table design, we can’t forget about the glassware. I believe that glassware is one of the essential details of your whole table design. Whether you are doing a simple table setting for a casual gathering with just one piece of glassware per table setting, or a formal dinner with numerous pieces, this adds sparkle and dimension to your table design. If multiple pieces of glassware are being used, I like to vary the heights as much as possible but keep all glassware pieces proportioned to each other, creating movement and balance across your table. Choose clear glassware or a color that complements your table, and I like to mix colors to create a nice balanced yet interesting look. Glassware doesn’t have to be expensive, and there are so many options to choose from when purchasing. Think about your china colors, and coordinate your selections with items that you already own. Sometimes I use different things at each place setting, so don’t be afraid to mix and match. You might only have 3 glasses of one style and 3 of another, but it will look cohesive if you alternate each place setting. Have fun creating a beautiful holiday table!

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TEN: Decorate the Chandelier

If you have a chandelier over your dining table, consider decorating it as part of your holiday table decor. By hanging just a few ornaments or greenery, you can give the chandelier a very festive look and tie it into the overall look of your table. Just use some wire to attach your greenery and some ornament hooks for a few ornaments. Be sure to place the centerpiece first, as this will help you to determine just how much space you have between your finished table and your chandelier.

I hope you enjoyed this series of tips on how to design the perfect holiday table.

Now get busy with your table!

I am wishing everyone a very Happy Holiday!


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