If you didn’t know this about me, I adore a well-styled table — especially this time of year! One of my favorite holidays is quickly approaching, but preparing for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or other large gatherings can sometimes be a bit stressful. This may be especially true if you’re hosting a large group. To help make things a little easier for you, I’ve put together a few tips on how to create a simple yet elegant tablescape that you can use as a guide not just during holidays, but any event you’re hosting!
Choose your aesthetic
The first thing to decide is your aesthetic. Will your gathering be formal, informal, or something in between? To determine this, consider the occasion, the guests you may be inviting, and how many, as well as your preferred taste in design.
Next, pick out your color palette. Typically, I’ll go for a lighter background (like my favorite white linens, above), so the focus is on the details. While you can definitely add color, don’t add too much contrast. Instead, keep the tones soft and serene so that the focus stays on the tables cape as a whole - not a single item, like a dark napkin on a white background, which will detract from the big picture. If you want to explore outside of a neutral color palette, find seasonal inspiration, or consider the event or reason for celebration.
Bring out the linens.
Quality linens are definitely a splurge you won’t regret! I never need an excuse to use my mine. In fact, they’re on my table pretty much all year long. Do you want to use a full tablecloth (maybe something with a longer length), or a simple runner? Will you be using placemats? How are you displaying the napkins — will they be folded under the flatware, tied in a knot and laid atop the place setting, folded into a rectangle and layered between a plate and bowl?
Get creative with your centerpiece.
A design trick I love to use while styling for my clients is to layer. Your centerpiece doesn’t have to simply be a vase with flowers. Consider doing something unexpected, like placing a garland of greenery or fall leaves atop a runner. Add interest by weaving pumpkins or pies, pinecones or berries, or other holiday elements through the empty spaces.
Add in the details.
Visual interest is key! Bust out the fancy china or artisan-made ceramic dishware. Make your guests feel extra special by hand-lettering simple place cards with their names. Style plates or bowls of food throughout the table, family-style. Arrange candlestick holders of varying heights, and light candles for a warm and inviting feel. If you’re arranging items in groups, remember to pair them in odd numbers like three (arranged in a v-shape) or five, which looks more aesthetically pleasing than groups of even numbers. Add texture throughout the table with branches, flowers, vessels, placemats or chargers.