Top tips for festive table styling
Sharing a meal with friends or family is a lovely ritual at any time of the year, and especially at Christmas. If you’re hosting this festive season, why not get creative and make your table-setting a memorable part of the experience for your guests. Creating a beautiful table setting doesn’t have to cost a fortune, nor does it have to stick to tradition; the aim is to set the mood for a cheerful celebration.
Have a think about themes and styles that suit your personal taste (remember, simple can be sophisticated) and dress up your table and home to match. Whether you’re planning a traditional Christmas dinner, an al fresco grazing table at the bach or a romantic dinner for two, working with the spirit and mood of your dinner is a great place to start. Pick one theme — think classic, natural with lots of greens, luxe white-and-gold or rustic and cosy — and stick with it. This will help to achieve a cohesive look and guide your decision-making when it comes to pulling everything together, from the menu to the finishing touches.
Below we’ve gathered some more ideas for creating a seasonal setting that will create a stunning backdrop for your Christmas feast:
Make an entrance
Get your guests into the spirit from the get-go with a festive wreath hung on your front door, a simple garland in your entranceway, some ambient music and a glass of bubbles (for the adult guests) on arrival. If you’re feeling crafty, you could make your own Christmas wreath with soft craft wire moulded into a 20-30 cm circular shape, threaded with fresh or dried foliage and flowers like eucalyptus, jasmine or Pohutukawa, red or gold ribbons or Christmas baubles.
A festive lantern, a selection of candles or a bowl of seasonal fruit placed on a hall table or console will also add a good dose of ambience on arrival. For a little romance, try a cheeky spray of mistletoe hung above your front door.
When it comes to setting the table, layers are a great way to add interest and texture. A crisp, white tablecloth will work beautifully as your first layer, or neutral linens can work well too, especially if you’re going for a more rustic theme. Next, add a long table runner in a contrasting colour like red, gold or silver, or even a soft classic stripe, or opt for matching placemats at each place setting.
Even if you’re planning to eat buffet-style, laying out your favourite crockery at each place setting is still a nice formality. Start with a large charger plate first, then add a dinner plate and a side plate or soup bowl on top. You can’t go amiss with crisp white crockery, but at the same time, don’t be shy about experimenting with mismatched plates and serveware; with a little creativity, vintage or contrasting plates stacked neatly can add a fun, distinctive look.
Next, add a linen napkin to each place setting either on top or to the right-hand-side of the plates, embellished with a napkin ring (we love the Momento Star Ring in gold) or even a sprig of rosemary snipped from the back of the Christmas tree or a fragrant cinnamon stick. For a more relaxed look, tie a homemade place-card for each guest onto the napkins with red and white twine, or place a mini candy cane on top.
Splashing out on gold cutlery will add an extra bit of on-trend luxe to your Christmas table, but polished silverware will work beautifully too — just don’t forget to give your cutlery a good shine-up before laying them out neatly at approximately 2cm from the edge of each dinner plate.
Dress to impress
Make the hero of the table a centrepiece by arranging some lush seasonal flowers and foliage in two or three vases along the centre of the table, alongside some elegant tall candles. Christmas baubles or seasonal fruit (that you can eat another day) stacked in tubular glass vases are also easy to put together and can add a little pop of colour to your table setting if it’s mostly white, red or metallic.
For beautiful ambience at night, try draping a few garlands of faux mistletoe entwined with LED lights along the centre of the table, or a series of tealights in small glasses or tealight houses. Christmas lanterns or pretty ornaments perched on rustic sections of wood are also a fun and easy way to dress the centre of your table.
Christmas crackers are a classic Kiwi addition to the festive setting and are always good for a few laughs. For an extra special touch, a tiny keepsake like a Christmas ornament or a small message of encouragement for each guest will make for a memorable gesture if personalised and placed on their setting.
Now all you need is wine and water glasses (these sparkling metallic star glasses are a joyful addition), placed to the top right of each place setting, and you’re ready for a fabulous Christmas at home.