In this post: Are you tired of the same old Christmas tabelscapes? This holiday table uses unique elements to create a beautiful Christmas table setting.⇒
This year has been a very interesting one for me.
Among other things, we became empty nesters and moved to a new home that I’ve spent the better part of the year setting up, decorating and beginning some more structural renovations. I’ve had the opportunity to correct some of the design issues I’d wanted to address in the last home and as a result, I’m just beginning to enjoy the fruits of my efforts.
What this meant for the holidays is that I wasn’t ready to change what I’d just completed and opted to use a soft touch, decorating with a lighter hand and selecting things that complement my new decor. The one place, however, where I made an exception is in the dining room for my Christmas dinner table setting.
I don’t think I’ve ever met a dinner table that I didn’t want to set for a beautiful occasion. I think it’s the temporary nature of a tablescape that allows me the freedom to create a fantasy, even if it diverges from my everyday style. Of course I always bring my signature preference for casual elegance, but with tabletop design, I allow myself to use colors and themes that I couldn’t necessarily live with on a daily basis.
I also approach tables the way I used to design fashion collections, beginning with a concept that, more often than not, is driven by color story and, more importantly, pattern mix. In this case I knew I wanted to use tartan, but I enjoy challenging myself to use patterns I’ve used before in new ways.
Last year I did tartan with gilded chargers and rose china, so I knew I was looking for something quite different here. I had purchased the black and cream salad plates for an upscale Halloween table and thought it would be fun to re-use them here.
Once those two patterns were selected, I needed to ground my color story. Steering clear of the red and gold I had done before, I decided to concentrate on mossy green and silver, all with an underpinning of snowy white.
To ensure an air of festivity, I added holiday ornaments, both tucked into the greenery and even popped into a martini glass. The restrained use of red makes it stand out even more and the glimmer of the ornaments communicates holiday cheer.
The clustered napkin set has become a bit of a signature look for my tables. It adds both an opportunity to use color as well as a richness through layered fabrics. Here the lime organza napkin is just translucent enough to see the claret one beneath, and the jewel-like crystal napkin rings are emphasized by the dark colors they gather within. (The very same rings were used on my delicate French blue and white table for a completely different look, underscoring how easy it is to re-use your tableware in very varied ways.)
For the centerpiece, I wanted to highlight my cherub garden statue and around it I placed holiday greens. The greens are, in fact, two large door swags that I simply placed upon the table runner. Snow dusted pine cones add to the Christmas ambiance.
On the sideboard I continued the woodsy pinecone theme, both gilded and natural, gathered in a bowl and flanked by candles and bottlebrush trees.
For whimsy and interest I tucked in these lovely birds and they look right at home amongst the winter greenery.
As a sculptural touch and for another bit of green, I placed faux pears at the center of each place setting. They work perfectly with the napkins and add a bit of height to the plate stack
I’m absolutely certain there’s more glitter on my floor than is left on any of these pieces!
To continue the theme of complexity I chose not to use a tablecloth, and instead used white linen placemats and a stone linen runner. I like a table to look lush and full and the expanse of all white tablecloth can sometimes hinder that look.
I’ve written before about the provenance of my candlesticks, but for those of you who are new here, I’ll repeat their origin. I love to buy candlesticks on all of my travels, and these are probably my absolute favorite. They’re from an antique market in Islington in London, but I was told when I purchased them they originated in Prague. The gunmetal bobeches I found in a sweet little shop in Mougins, France.
I love the chippy look the statue adds to the table, keeping all the bling from getting too serious.
These brass and crystal candlesticks were found on a not-so-exotic trip, visiting my daughter at school in Indiana.
And always, on my tables, Ralph Lauren’s glen plaid goblets…
The goal was to meld varied elements to come up with a cohesive looking table that’s maybe just a little bit out of the ordinary. If some things don’t match perfectly that’s part of the beauty.
After all, what I really want to focus on at holiday time is filling that empty nest up once again!
Christmas Table Setting Resource List
To get the look, click on the items below for direct links to the products. Where actual items were no longer available, I’ve provided similar options.
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