Festive Table Styling - How to Dress your Christmas Table

Posted on November 20 2019

Festive Table Styling - How to Dress your Christmas Table


How to Style a Christmas Table

For families across the globe, the Christmas table is the centre point of numerous festive celebrations. Whether you prefer a traditional style of red and green foliage, or a more modern look, creating a successful display is a fine art. Read on for top advice from designers and stylists and learn how to dress a Christmas table with flair.


dark christmas table

Image: Culture South West


Christmas Colour Pallets

A Christmas colour scheme can be interpreted in many ways. Sources of inspiration can range from the holly and the ivy, to a frosty morning to a crown of jewels, but take into account the existing elements of the room, as advised by Tor Vivian of Tor interiors:  “... it is important to use materials that reflect the interiors – enhancing, not detracting, from your home.” Designer Paolo Moschino and Philip Vergeylen swear by their traditional red tablecloth; 'Our table is always red, green and silver. Each Christmas we wash and starch the same French linen tablecloth, which we bought years ago from Guinevere Antiques. It is an important tradition.' Using a deep colour will add richness to your scheme.

On the other hand, if you want to achieve a more modern look, try using a crisp white tablecloth, or forgo the cloth altogether. This can be an easier choice if you’re not very confident with creating colour combinations. Building on a neutral base makes the process much easier, whether your aiming for a sophisticated or more playful look. Experiment with textures throughout your display- rustic wood, greenery, and metallic elements are all great additions to a Christmas table scheme.


colourful festive table setting

Image: Kasia Fiszer Ideal Home


Using Nature as your Festive Centrepiece

Adorning your Christmas table with greenery is a festive favourite that has stood the test of time.  Designer Suzanne Sharp is a big fan, but has a word of caution when it comes to styling, '… you should never have too many dense or tall arrangements of flowers on the table, as your guests need to be able to look through them. The cosmos are particularly good because they are in tiny, fine glass bottles that are easy to shift out of the way when you pile heaps of food on the table.' There are many different options for displaying plants, keep them potted like Niloufar Bakhtiar-Bakhtiari of NBB Design, or use wreaths or garlands. Popular materials include pine, eucalyptus, berries and clementine’s, but freshly cut flowers can also work beautifully.  

Don’t forget to decorate above and around your table too. Paolo Moschino and Philip Vergeylen say 'Never limit decorations to just the table. Our house is filled with amaryllis and we cover the chandelier with greenery from the garden and top it up with pretty bits and pieces from New Covent Garden Flower Market.' Add decorations to all areas of the room to achieve an immersive festive atmosphere.

festive table foliage

Image: Neptune



Create a DIY Festive Centerpiece

There are countless Christmas makes that can be used as creative centrepieces. Not all of them need experienced crafting skills, there are many ways you can repurpose old decorations or bits and pieces you already have at home. For example, try piercing a clementine with cloves to add some colour (and a gorgeous smell!) to your Christmas foliage. Other simple ideas include filling a vases with baubles, creating candle holders or wrapping empty boxes with paper and ribbon. Pinterest is an endless source of inspiration for DIY Christmas decorations.

colourful christmas table

Image: Homes and Property 


Choose Your Arrangement

Take expert advice to style your table like a professional. “I really believe in collections of things,” says interior designer Sims-Hilditch. “Rather than putting one wooden Christmas tree on a mantelpiece, make a collection of five different things – put a wintry scene in an old gilded picture frame, put a white angel in front of that, and add a cluster of fir cones and a glass candlestick. It’s a little piece of theatre.” Or use Tim Gosling's method: 'Visually, I like to have a strong line down the centre of the table that provides an architectural element; a dense arrangement of decorations through the middle always looks great. The key is quantity - if you're going to do something, do it with panache, style and commitment.'

table garland

 Image: Ideal Home


More is More

'Christmas is all about exuberance, magic and chaos,' says Tim Gosling. 'If you try to do things that are too controlled or tasteful, then you're missing the point.' Layer your most treasured items to create a full, richly varied display. Don’t be too precious, interior designer Virginia White gets her children involved too, 'My girls are great table setters and there is a competition to see who can do the maddest, smartest setting.' If you have a festive heirloom, include it in your display. Don’t be too matchy-matchy Christmas is a chance to let go.

gold christmas table

Image: Lux Deco

Luxury Tableware

Dig out your favourite plates and glasses to make a statement on your Christmas table. Mix family heirlooms with modern pieces for an eclectic look. If you choose to buy new, take the advice of Joy Lagmay, designer at 1508 London “I’ve seen a lot of rose gold used for place settings, which goes really well with the green of fir – those colours are very luxe and rich... Keep the table setting simple rather than over-decorating every element. You could have simple white china adorned with a Christmas placemat, or cutlery wrapped in a decorative napkin ring.”

luxury tableware for christmas

Image: Lux Deco

Add a Personal Touch

Create unique, personal place settings like Joy Lagmay; "Make calligraphy name cards for the table (it’s best to get in a bit of practice before the big day). You can also do this on gift tags for presents.” Add a token present to each place, either a beautifully wrapped little present or a luxury Christmas cracker. Creating a fabulous festival table is all about the pretty little details.

festive table setting

Image: Papier


Make sure you include a rug!

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dining room rug

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