When you’re spending hours in the kitchen preparing a huge holiday meal, my philosophy is to simplify your table setting as much as possible. I prefer a more casually elegant setting when I’m entertaining at home which to me feels much more inviting and unstuffy. I put this table setting together last year for an editorial and thought I’d revisit it with these never-seen-before outtakes to illustrate some useful tips and and inspiration for setting your holiday table. (Photos by Marietta Leung)
Don’t spend a fortune on fancy dinnerware!
I don’t believe in the idea of having extra-fancy china and silver that only gets used whipped out once or twice a year. Instead, I buy pieces that I love and use them all year round, adding in a few festive touches to make my place settings feel extra-special for the holidays. You can also mix and match your tableware by incorporating pieces from different sets. These dinner and salad plates (both from Canvas) are actually from two different sets and I mixed them together to pick up on the key colors in the tablecloth. If you want an all-purpose staple that you’ll never tire of, go with an affordable yet classic looking white bone china set like this one or this one and then switch up your smaller table accents by adding stylish napkins, glassware and a creative centerpiece to give your table a fresh new look from season to season.
Opt for an Unexpected Color Palette & Keep Your Centerpiece Simple
The colors in this table setting were inspired by the fabric from Serena & Lily that I used to make a tablecloth. It features soft blue and green hues mixed with rose gold and metallic touches. Definitely not the traditional autumnal colors that come to mind when you think of a holiday table setting. This proves there are absolutely no rules – use whatever colors you love! If you choose softer colors for your dinnerware and table linens like I did, keep your table from feeling too light and spring-y with a seasonally appropriate centerpiece. Here, the plum colored antique hydrangeas add a rich hue that feels like Fall. When it comes to flowers, the most efficient choice is a large bloom like hydrangeas which already have a nice, full shape so you don’t need to spend much time arranging them. Just stick them in a pretty vase and give them a little zhush. Nothing makes a table table setting come more alive than a beautiful arrangement of fresh flowers!
Placecards Will Elevate Even The Simplest Place Setting
Place cards lend an air of formality to your dinner table and are a great way to personalize your presentation for your guests. And a seasonally appropriate place card holder, like the gold pear motif ones I used are a beautiful touch but you can also make your own. (This DIY place card holder is lovely!) My handwriting is absolutely awful so my favorite trick for making pretty place cards is to use printables! You can find them at a paper specialty store or even Staples! I use pretty (and free!) fonts from Dafont to create beautifully scripted place cards using my printer.
Make it Sparkle
The warm, flickering glow of candlelight is an easy way to add instant ambiance and a festive touch to your dining table. It’s even more fab when your candles are placed inside shimmering mercury glass votives. I love clustering groups of votives together for a dramatic impact. The rose gold flatware and gold tone place card holders are another idea to help elevate your tablescape.
And there you have it, some simple ideas you can steal to help you create your own effortlessly stylish holiday table!
Items Featured: Tablecloth Fabric, Serena & Lily / Dinner Plate, Canvas similar here / Salad Plate, Canvas / Goblets, HomeGoods, similar here / Rose Gold Flatware, similar here & here) / Hemstitch Linen Napkins, Sferra / Vase & Votives: Jamali Garden / Pear Place Card Holders, similar here.