My #1 Styling Trick for Holiday Tablescapes
I’ve had some really exciting and fun projects this year. Clients have kept me insanely busy, which has left me little time for anything else. This has resulted in my breaking the cardinal rule of blogging the past few months, which is the importance of consistent posts; thus, leading to my official induction into the “Blogger Hall of Shame”!! As I have mentioned in past posts, I don’t believe in posting unless I have something useful to say. These last few months of being knee deep in construction dust, hunting for the perfect chandelier, as well as researching the latest trends is the stuff that keeps me inspired, feeds my soul and allows me impart my knowledge on to you. Putting together inspiration boards for fictitious rooms doesn’t lend one the experience to convey the practical application, or the wisdom in designing, as well as how to avoid possible pitfalls.
Below, I will give you my best tips (as well as my #1 tip) on holiday styling. Let me first give you a brief background on my (accidental) career in holiday decorating. Decorating homes specifically for the holidays is a niche. A lot of people who just decorate for the holidays work in retail merchandising and do things like store windows or holiday displays. In my case, this is a niche I NEVER meant to get into!!! From September through January, I am usually swamped with clients calling in a panic needing to get their powder room, dining room and/or family room done before they host the holidays. During this time, I would usually put a few decorations on their mantle or create a beautiful, but simple centerpiece and be off on my way. Little by little my clients would add something to the list; for one client it was decorating her foyer, another it was decorating her tree, on and on, until one Christmas Eve I was at a client’s house setting her table (this included ironing her linens!!!….which is something in my everyday life that I hate to do). To my surprise, I always had a blast doing it and it was a really nice deviation from what I do the rest of the year. I also love to entertain, which allows me to look at my holiday decorating in a practical way. I know just how much decoration a table can handle while still being functional.
Below, I will deconstruct my tablescapes to help you execute decorating yours beautifully (and stress-free).
So, my #1 styling trick for holiday tablescaping is: USE SOMETHING UNEXPECTED as your centerpiece! There is NOTHING more interesting than using an item for something other than its intended purpose. Below, I used a window shutter as the base for my centerpiece. It is the perfect base for my modern farmhouse centerpiece. It looks really sophisticated with the muted gourds, greenery, burlap ribbon and candles. I also like to use a raw wood cheese boards (as seen in the 3rd and 4th images), cloches, cake stands etc…. as centerpieces. Below, I used a throw blanket as my table linen. I’ve used scarfs as runners as well. I happen to love showing my wood table at then ends, so not having the throw blanket covering the entire table was a bonus for me.
Another tip for successful tablescaping is to vary your linens. I have very few “rules” in design; however, I NEVER, NEVER, NEVER match my tablecloth and napkins. Is it wrong if you do? No. However, it is such a missed opportunity to inject style and visual interest to one’s table. If you are not confident with pattern mixing, choose one pattern and one solid, as I did in the first image. If are confident, try mixing in another pattern. In the second image, I added in a gray ticking stripe napkin. I love the depth that mixing patterns gives to a table.
In the pictures below, I was presenting to a local women’s organization on how to tablescape for the holidays. This is one of my favorite tablescapes because it is not fussy, yet still sophisticated. I used tons of mercury glass and my favorite pattern of the season, the black and white buffalo check (which I got from Pottery Barn). I LOVE a black and white table! It is so extremely versatile; if you look to the bottom right you can see all of the different colored napkins I brought to show these lovely ladies how many colors and patterns you can inject with this color scheme. Every color pairs well with this scheme.
Finally, 90% of the time I create a long linear centerpiece as opposed to a round centerpiece. Every guest should have something beautiful to look at. Sticking a vase in the center of the table only allows a beautiful view to the two guests sitting across from each other in front of the vase. When I’m done, I walk around to every seat at the table to ensure everyone, when seated, has something pretty to look at. Creating a long linear centerpiece also aligns with my philosophy of having a separate food table when hosting 6 or more guests.
When in doubt (or pressed for time), fresh flowers and candles are always my go-to. Group the flowers and candles in alternating groups down the center of the table for a simple, but elegant table. However, I highly recommend keeping a flower-less centerpiece in your closet for when you don’t have time to stop for fresh flowers and you are having last minute dinner guests.
I hope this post has inspired you to try something new for the holidays. Most of my resources are listed below.
On a final note, in order to reach those who do not use social media, I will be posting weekly a “Insta-post roll” to keep you in the loop of what trends I’m loving, my client before and afters and just general musings.
Wishing all of you a Happy Thanksgiving!
List of Resources:
Both throwblankets: Buffalo check, First one is not available but here is an alternative
Raw wood cheese board base (under tray in black and white tablescape)
Candle sticks, large, medium and small
solid gray napkins, ticking stripe napkins