How To Create A Beautiful Christmas Tablescape
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.
Christmas Tablescaping Inspiration
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.
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!
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