Two Bonadea colourful table settings with blue and pink china

How To Create A Beautiful Christmas Tablescape

Interiors /

Make socially distanced Christmas your most magical yet

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A resplendent silver lining to spending Christmas (and large chunk of November) at home is extra time for festive home-beautifying. We’ll be putting our efforts into a show-stopping table, laden with gold-painted pinecones, sprawling flower arrangements and glowing tapered candles. Plus, we’ve enlisted the help of Gemma Martinez de Ana, founder and creative director of Bonadea for her expert Christmas tablescaping tips.

How To: Christmas Tablescaping

1. Find your inspiration

Seek inspiration from all around you but a Christmas tablescape in particular should be inviting, reflect your personality, and embody your style of entertaining. Draw ideas from the room where you’ll be eating: the textures of your wallpaper and the colour of your walls are all features which can weave into your tablescape.

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Nikki Tibbles minimal pine cone and wood Christmas tablescape

(Tablescape by Nikki Tibbles.

Slow and minimal wins the race in this simple, greenery-laden table by Nikki Tibbles.

Nikki Tibbles minimal Christmas table setting with candles, greenery and wooden table

(Tablescape by Nikki Tibbles.

Add tapered candles to play with height and scale.

Bonadea green, white and red Christmas table setting

(Bonadea: flowers by Matsurika Flowers; photo by Ann Moody.

‘Each place setting should be an immersive experience for the individual with small sprigs of foliage, individual flower posies, and statement napkin rings,’ says Gemma Martinez de Ana.

Burleigh blue and white china three piece table setting

(Burleigh Dark Blue Felicity collection.

Timeless in any tablescape: Burleigh’s classic blue patterned china.

Two Burleigh blue and white china table settings with greenery centrepiece

(Burleigh Dark Blue Felicity collection.

Layering wreaths along longer tables creates texture and dimension.

Wicklewood orange, purple, blue and red table settings

(Wicklewood set of six scallop dinner plates, £225; 24 piece cutlery set, £275.

One for the maximalists: Wicklewood’s colourful Christmas tablescape.

Vista Algre gold candlelit table setting

(Vista Alegre.

‘Statement cutlery or glassware really adds something – try scouting your local antique shops and fairs for unusual cutlery to add drama,’ says Gemma.

Two Bonadea gold and orange table settings with orange and peach centrepiece

(A/W20 Bonadea edit; flowers by McQueen Flowers.

Orange, amber and gold hues weave together in this scheme for a modern take on traditional Christmas colours.

Minimal Burleigh blue and white table settings on bare wood table

(Burleigh Collection One.

‘Depending on the style of your dining table, you may want to use a tablecloth but for a rustic Christmas scheme bare wood works just as well,’ says Gemma.

Vista Alegre red, white and gold Christmas table setting

(Vista Alegre.

Create a magical atmosphere with glassware – choosing crystal-cut pieces that sparkle and glimmer in the candlelight.

Burleigh table setting with black regal peacock china

(Burleigh Black Regal Peacock collection.

‘Build sentiment into your tablescape by adding pieces inherited from family members and making new memories with them,’ says Gemma.

Two Bonadea colourful table settings with blue and pink china

(A/W20 Bonadea edit; flowers by McQueen Flowers.

A two pattern and three colour rule creates all the interest you need for a statement Christmas tablescape like this one by Bonadea.

2. Choose a theme

Don’t be constricted, but having an idea for your overall theme is helpful. For polished tablescapes, plenty of advance planning is important. Equally, if you want something very natural and organic looking, with foraged flora and fauna, you’ll need to allow time to collect all of your materials, so make sure you think ahead.

How to Decorate your Mantlepiece

3. Scale your lighting

Lighting is key but don’t overlook the shape and size of your table. I always recommend candlelight and a nice centrepiece. All too often people put something in the middle of a long table and forget about the guests at the end – so take your seating plan into consideration. Simple things make an impact too, like a brightly coloured runner or series of wreaths running along the table length.

4. Layer up

We’re in an age of more-is-more and Christmas typifies this. Layering is a quick and effective way to add interest and depth – and a shortcut to make the finished product as maximalist or minimalist as you like. A charger or service plate is a must – it elevates the feel of a table and creates that layering effect. Planning something more informal? Create the same effect with a well-chosen place mat – we love our Mirasol placemats.

5. Mix and match

Statement cutlery or glassware really adds something. In my home, we love to add colourful crystal and hand-painted pieces at Christmas to elevate the design. Scout out your local antique shops and fairs for unusual cutlery, which is an inexpensive but effective way to add drama. For me, glassware and cutlery are what transports a table – one of my favourite recent additions to Bonadea is the crystal and 24 carat gold hand crafted bee glasses. They make quite the statement.

6. How to mix pattern and colour

Stick to a maximum of two patterns and alternate them. With colour, you can be more flexible and have three. Depending on the style of your dining table, you may want to use a tablecloth but for a rustic Christmas scheme bare wood works just as well. In our schemes we will often use fabric rather than ready-made tablecloths – it really adds intricacy and fun. I particularly love Pierre Frey fabric.

7. Make it memorable

Christmas is a time when we remember those who will no longer be around the table, so it’s nice to build this sentiment into your scape. You might add a piece inherited from a family member, so that new memories can be formed around an older piece.

8. Lay the table on Christmas Eve

It’s a well-versed approach, but laying the table on Christmas Eve makes all the difference. In some households it’s a real ritual – I love that sentiment; of a peaceful time of creativity, reflection, music and taking stock for the next day. It’s a beautiful time to pause and appreciate the guests you have coming, and time-honoured traditions.

9. Pay attention to the small details

This is the one day a year where you can go all out, so use everything you have. Each place setting should be an immersive experience for the individual with small sprigs of foliage, individual flower posies and statement napkin rings. And, of course, place cards to add a touch of individualism at every seat.

10. Final touches

My one steadfast rule is to lay the plates and cutlery out, formally, in the correct order – it adds a little ceremony and sense of occasion for the final touch. Other than that you can be as creative as you like. And don’t forget the crackers!

Follow Bonadea on Instagram @bonadeaofficial.


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