How to create a beautiful Christmas table
This year, spend some time dressing a spectacular Christmas table – it’s a great way to get into the spirit the week before the big day, will show off your Christmas cooking to its best advantage and create a special atmosphere for everyone seated around it.
We’ve designed six distinctive festive looks to inspire you, with tips and tricks on achieving them easily – mix, match and make them your own.
Enlist some little helpers to create this Scandinavian-inspired wonderland, populated with origami stars, cut-out snowflakes, hand-painted baubles and homemade crackers. Stick to a simple palette of primary colours and a few folksy prints, paired with snowy tablecloths and white tapering candles to keep things elegant. Complete the look with gifts wrapped in brown paper and tied with string or red ribbons.
Conjure some Art Deco glamour with this colourful nod to the 1920s – it works well for pre-Christmas parties and New Year celebrations as well as the big day. Keep an eye out for gold-trimmed plates and unusual glassware at car boot sales and charity shops and bring out any family heirloom crockery or silverware. Dust off your cocktail shaker and put your best bottles and barware on display. We used peacock and pheasant feathers in coloured bottles for drama. The smaller coloured feathers are available from craft shops.
Bring the outdoors inside for an inviting table that gives a more relaxed vibe. Forgo the tablecloth and make a virtue of wooden surfaces accessorised with linen napkins and lush foliage. Create a centrepiece that runs all the way down the middle of the table – a mix of pillar candles and succulents in terracotta pots. Add battery-powered fairy lights – look for those made of copper wire for easy manipulation, with bulbs that cast a warm glow.
Here, medieval splendour is the order of the day, with colours inspired by an illuminated manuscript – think jewel tones such as inky blue, purple and crimson with silver and gold. Mirrored surfaces and cut glass or moulded tealight holders, like the silver-speckled ones pictured, will reflect light beautifully. Pomegranates and oranges, fronds of fir and mistletoe sprigs help to create the air of a banquet.
Get thrifty and make use of foraged finds and odds and ends for a pared-back yet warm look. Repurpose winter branches for a graceful, minimalist wreath; string together pine cones or orange slices (dry out in a low oven for 3-4 hours, turning occasionally) for a garland.
Cinnamon sticks and woody herbs such as rosemary and thyme make fragrant place decorations bound with ribbon and odd buttons and use watercolours or a fine-nib pen to paint or draw simple borders or designs on place cards.
This style summons a sense of occasion while being comfortable and understated. Silver doesn’t have to be bling: here the cutlery is matte, and we used a florist bucket as a vase. The flowers and berries are pretty but low-key, supplemented with natural foliage. Experiment with different shades of the same colour: a white plate on an off-white tablecloth with cream napkins gives a relaxed look. Combining different textures works well too: note the vase’s hessian garland contrasted with the velvet ribbon encircling the cutlery.