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Creating Your Perfect Holiday Table

5 minutes read Nov 23,2020
Creating Your Perfect Holiday Table

The holidays are fast approaching! Stores are advertising sales, planning is in full swing, and the holiday cheer can't be contained. In your home, you're likely planning your own holiday celebrations. And if you're hosting an event, then it's time to consider how you'll decorate your holiday table.

Decorating can be a challenge and setting a full formal table can be even more difficult. But with a few pointers, you'll find the process much easier. That's what the following tips are designed to do, and we hope they help you on your holiday quest!

Mini Christmas Tree Decorations

Tips for Decorating a Holiday Table

Decide on a Theme and Centerpiece

Before you go on a buying spree, be sure to decide on a theme. This could be modern farmhouse, snowy forest, California Christmas, or something entirely different. But the theme will determine the types of decorations and the color palette.

With a theme in mind, consider your centerpiece. For Thanksgiving, a cornucopia or display of pumpkins and gourds may work well. For Christmas, decorative mini pines, holiday villages, or ornamental gift bags are all good choices. Remember that the centerpiece must be focused enough to anchor the table without overpowering everything else.

Add Accents of Color

When used excessively, colors dominate and distract from a holiday table. This leads to a busy, cluttered feeling. But when employed wisely, colors can add the perfect accent. As such, focus on a neutral base, including blacks, whites, and earth tones, and employ pops of color to brighten the décor.

Candles on Holiday Table

Set the Mood with Lighting

We've all heard the term "mood lighting." But it's a real thing! Lighting has a huge impact on the atmosphere of the holiday table. And here's a hint from formal restaurants: less is more when it comes to lighting.

That's right, a bright dining room is not ideal for a formal dinner. Instead, use candles (natural or electric) and dim lamps to create a soft, warm glow. Additionally, if you have a fireplace, this is the time to let it shine.

Employ Patterns for a Pop

Previously, we talked about using color to add an accent. However, you can also employ patterns in a similar way. While extensive use of patterns will feel dated and busy, a touch of pattern, such as a checkered ribbon or striped napkin, can be a great accent. Patterns break up solid tones and add an eye-catching touch.

Decorative Pumpkins on a Table

Use Decorations, But Don't Go Overboard

Decorations are an essential part of a good holiday table. During Thanksgiving, pumpkins, gourds, and squash, along with dried or faux leaves, are great decorations. Around Christmas and New Year's, you may prefer pines, garlands, ribbons, stars, and winter berries. The exact decorations you use will depend on your theme and centerpiece, as mentioned above.

But here's the thing with decorations. A little can go a long way. Decorations are key to the cohesiveness of the table, but too many decorations will make things cluttered. Pick a couple complimentary decorations and utilize them sparingly as part of the centerpiece.

Vary the Heights

A major beginner mistake is forgetting that diversity is beautiful. Differences are far more pleasing to the eye than repetition. As such, don't forget to vary the heights on your holiday table. Use tall and short candles, decorations, and centerpiece additions to improve the overall look. As an example, surrounding a large, tall candle with a base of shorter candles can create a pleasant cascade effect.

Folded Napkins on a Thanksgiving Table

Learn to Arrange and Fold Properly

And now we arrive at the details. Don't go too heavy on the holiday table decorations without forgetting the basics of good design. Take some time and learn how to properly fold napkins and arrange dinnerware. The extra bit of work will really add a heightened air of sophistication to your holiday table.

Here's a tutorial on folding napkins. And here's another article on setting a formal dinner table.

Give Glasses Extra Attention

Along with arrangements, don't forget to polish and shine! If you're using silverware, give it a bit of polish or at least a light rub before placing it on the table. For glasses, take the extra time to shine them up and remove water spots. Formal glasses need particular attention, as they often gather dust in the lengthy periods between uses.  

There's a lot of information to process, but these tips should help you on your way to decorating the perfect holiday table. We wish you all the best this holiday season, and if you appreciate this post, pass it along to another person!  

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