Tablescaping Ideas And Tips To Wow Your Guests This Christmas

Make your table the centrepiece of your home at Christmas

Tablescaping Ideas And Tips To Wow Your Guests This Christmas

by Natalie Knowles |
Updated on

Decorating our homes is one of the most important parts of getting ready for the festive period. Whether it's putting up your Christmas tree, hanging fairy lights and baubles, or going all out and making a wreath for your front door – setting up your winter wonderland is all part of the magic. The art of tablescaping has soared in popularity in recent years and can totally elevate all your festive foodie treats. The trend is based around making your dining table the focal point of your event. Some even set their table for the big day weeks and days in advance, transforming ordinary dining spaces into magical and memorable settings to entertain guests.

Coming up with tablescaping ideas is the perfect opportunity to dazzle dinner guests with your creativity and express your personal style. It involves selecting cutlery, dinner plates and accessories around your chosen theme. From garlands and runners, to table ornaments and lighting, A Modern Kitchen has got all the ideas and inspiration to set you on your way.

Best Christmas Tablescaping Ideas At A Glance

Best Christmas table garland: Long Pinecones And Stars LED Light Garland – View on Etsy
Best Christmas table runner: Extra Long 220cm Cotton Christmas Table Runner – View on Etsy
Best Christmas table centrepiece: Pinecone Candle Holder Centrepiece – View on Not On The High Street

Even if you don't fancy setting up your table for weeks before (we all lead busy lives right now) or would prefer to opt for small touches instead of grand displays, we've still got some great ideas to get into the tablescape trend. Candles, gold cutlery, and fabric napkins are budget friendly ways to add some theatre to your dining table. John Lewis advises: "Mixing and matching tableware is fun for place settings – just keep to a common theme to create a rhythm in the mix up of plates and glasses."

In this guide we have curated a collection of dinnerware and tableware that's goes for a refreshingly authentic take on modern entertaining, inspired by Wabi-Sabi Welcome: Learning to Embrace the Imperfect and Entertain with Thoughtfulness and Ease by Julie Adams. Make this Christmas a pleasure for yourself and a warm and welcoming occasion for your guests. For more festive tablescaping ideas and know-how, scroll to the FAQs below.

Best Christmas Tablescaping Ideas

Best Christmas table garland

Be merry and bright with this Long Pinecones And Stars LED Light Garland. It's handmade so its length varies around 160cm, which is ample to run the length of a family-size dining table. It's versatile too, and could be strung up or wrapped around bannisters.

Customer review: "Beautiful item that’s even better in real life. Super swift delivery as well with eco-conscious and appropriate packaging. Very happy indeed."

Pros

  • Handmade
  • Versatile decoration
  • Creates a cosy ambience

Cons

  • Needs 3 AA batteries (not included)

Best Christmas table runner

Extra Long 220cm Cotton Christmas Table Runner
Price: £17.01 (was £18.90)

www.etsy.com

It's all in the details and this Extra Long 220cm Cotton Christmas Table Runner provides a festive backdrop to dinnerware without being too overpowering. Imagine layering this up on a textured table cloth, natural placemats and chunky plates and bowls. Finally, accessorise this handmade, 100 per cent cotton table runner with pinecones and festive sprigs – simple, Scandi and on-trend. This fabric is 220cm long and 30cm wide.

Customer review: "Really lovely table runner – great length and delighted with it. Look forward to using it Christmas Day😊."

Pros

  • Elegant design
  • Machine washable
  • Handmade

Cons

  • Only one length available

Best Christmas table centrepiece

This classic and traditional Pinecone Candle Holder Centrepiece holds three pillar candles and has a sturdy artificial metal frame. This handcrafted table decoration is L60 x W40 x H16cm so its best suited to a larger dining table. It features pinecones and fir that are flocked with snow.

Pros

  • Classic and elegant
  • Traditional
  • Looks expensive

Cons

  • No customer reviews

Best Christmas table candles

These eco-friendly Winter Warmers Beeswax And Soy Blend Twist Candles come in a range of cosy colours including Burnt Amber, Autumn Olive, Deep Pink, Winter Sun, and Mist. They are 100 percent biodegradable and the burn time is approximately 4-5 hours. Standing 19cm high they make a simple and elegant table decoration in a freestanding candelabra.

Pros

  • Simple and elegant
  • Eco-friendly
  • Range of colours to complement your theme

Cons

  • No product reviews

Best oasis floral foam

Ideal Bricks Oasis Floral Foam
Price: $40.15

Make your own fresh flower Christmas centrepiece with this Ideal Bricks Oasis Floral Foam. Whether you choose to gather holly sprigs, pinecones and fir branches for a traditional display, or craft a winter wonderland from ivy, white berries and eucalyptus, it adds a creative and personalised touch to your dinner table. Floral foam can be reused year-on-year, but note that it can dent and crumble.

Customer review: "Been using Oasis for flower arranging for years. Always a reliable product and Amazon sell a good size pack at a reasonable price."

Pros

  • Creative
  • Reusable
  • Can be cut to size

Cons

  • Customers comment that it can arrive dented

Best Christmas table decorations

Each place setting is personalised with a name of your choice and there's an option to have a stand included. These handmade cherry hardwood veneer signs look expensive and make a wonderful keepsake for loved ones. In addition, these Personalised Wooden Christmas Name Place Setting have received hugely positive reviews on Etsy.

Customer review: "Absolutely beautiful Christmas table decorations for our family table. I am very impressed, excellent value and they look far more expensive."

Pros

  • Value for money
  • Looks expensive
  • Personalised
  • Reusable
  • Positive reviews

Cons

  • There is a delivery charge

Best Christmas table napkins

A special meal deserves special tableware and The White Company excel in tasteful table linens that you'll want to reserve for the best occasions. These Snowflake Napkins – Set of 4 have exquisite detailing embroidered onto the cotton and linen blend fabric napkin. Each napkin is 45cm square. With complementing linens and accessories available, you can create a sophisticated and luxurious tablescape.

Customer review: "These are going abroad to someone relocating to sunnier climes. But they still celebrate Christmas so I wanted something both seasonal but also useful and memorable."

Pros

  • High quality
  • Sophisticated
  • Reusable
  • Machine wash
  • Matching table linens available

Cons

  • Will get stained

Best Christmas table napkin rings

Christmas Wooden Reindeer Napkin Rings
Price: £5.77 (was £9.94)

www.etsy.com

All-natural and handmade, these Christmas Wooden Reindeer Napkin Rings have Scandi simplicity and a rustic elegance. Made from wood that's been smoothed and treated, it's easy to wipe clean and will not stain. Guests will find these napkin rings unusual and tactile. They are available to buy in packs up to 12. The napkin rings measure two inches wide and one inch high. The inner diameter is 1.38-inch. Also, gift wrapping is available.

Customer review: "Super nice napkin rings. I am very satisfied 👍😃."

Pros

  • Handmade
  • Tactile
  • Reusable
  • Stain-proof

Cons

  • Very few reviews for this specific product

Best Christmas table plate

There's plenty of room for turkey and trimmings on a Emma Bridgewater Christmas Toast Roast Turkey Plate. This is iconic cream earthernware, made in Stoke-on-Trent. Every piece of tableware uses traditional skills and craftsmanship to fire, decorate and glaze. A display of Emma Bridgewater seasonal china would look equally captivating on a sideboard and dresser as well as on the Christmas table.

Pros

  • Iconic British craftsmanship and design
  • Collectable
  • Matching tableware available

Cons

  • No customer reviews

Best Christmas table cutlery

Babisill 24 Piece Stainless Steel Cutlery Set
Price: £97.99 (was £102.99)

www.wayfair.co.uk

If there was ever one time of year to use your finest flatware, it's Christmas. At the dinner table nothing says celebration more than fabulous gold cutlery. We particularly love the smooth contemporary curves, brushed matte texture, and elongated handles on this Babisill 24 Piece Stainless Steel Cutlery Set, Service for 6.

Customer review: 5 stars

Pros

  • Sumptuous gold for a special occasion
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Contemporary design
  • Available in other metallic colours
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Do not use acidic detergent as it can damage the surface

Best Christmas table glassware

These appealing Moreton Wine Glasses – Set of 4 are made from chunky glass that's mouth-blown and made from recycled soda-lime glass. Evoking ancient styles of glassware, yet completely contemporary in terms of drinkware trends, these wine glasses can be complemented with matching tumblers and a striking carafe. Each glass is unique in its texture and colour variation. They are also generously sized, with 270ml capacity and standing 12cm high and 9.5cm in diameter.

Customer review: "Gorgeous design and good size."

Pros

  • Unique
  • Contemporary
  • Made in part from recycled glass
  • Matching drinkware available

Cons

  • Hand wash only

Best inspiration for contemporary entertaining

Wabi-Sabi Welcome

Rrp: $30.00

Price: $19.49
Alternative retailers
Target$19.49View offer

Lastly, just because Christmas entertaining can create all kinds of pressure and expectation, this wonderful book offers a different philosophy to hosting that's refreshing and applicable to any event with guests. Wabi-Sabi Welcome: Learning to Embrace the Imperfect and Entertain with Thoughtfulness and Ease is by Julie Adams and invites you to keep things simple yet meaningful. It's all about creating an authentic and relaxed dining experience for you and your guests. It's a soothing read and a coffee table book to inspire.

Customer review: "This book is a gift. As much as I love buying books online and for my Kindle, I happened upon this one serendipitously at a bookstore. Flipping through the pages, I knew I needed to have it. It is not just about entertaining; it represents a way of life. A life where simple, gentle, natural beauty is valued above glossier pursuits. Inspiring. Wonderful photos and some good recipes too. The book itself is beautiful and bound in such a way that the pages lay flat. This is definitely one to own in its physical format. Highly recommended."

Pros

  • How to make entertaining relaxed yet wonderful
  • Contemporary tips for hosting
  • Coffee table book to inspire

Cons

  • Not exclusively about Christmas

FAQs: Tablescaping Ideas

What is tablescaping?

Tablescaping is an activity involving the setting of themed dining tables in artful, decorative ways for social events, and in a variety of categories for competitions. The art of tablescaping is normally seen at weddings, birthdays, professional events, and of course, Christmas, but it is also becoming a more regular occurrence in homes.

Helpful tips for christmas tablescaping

A Modern Kitchen gives top styling tips on decorating the table using a welcoming and eco-friendly theme to add that unique and special touch that will make guests feel cosy and relaxed this Christmas.

Make a personalised table setting to add an extra special touch

Having winter-themed, personalised place settings for each guest really does add that extra something to the table.

When Christmas comes around, it's the perfect opportunity to get creative and make a truly personalised, DIY table setting. Consider using fabric napkins with hand-painted pinecones for each family member or friend joining the table. This will not only add a personal touch to the table but also bring everyone together as they sit down to enjoy the occasion.

Add multiple layers to the table

Laying the table for dinner or a festive brunch can be a truly creative experience and adding layers of colour, pattern and texture gives the table a truly unique and memorable vibe. Consider the tableware and ensure that all the pieces work perfectly together and when used alone.

Decorate with seasonal flowers

The perfect way to bring the feeling of Christmas to your table is by adding a beautiful festive flower oasis to your table. Whether you have a large dining table or a small accent table, adding flowers can create height while also bringing natural elements into the theme. Whether it’s a traditional red, green and gold arrangement of holly and painted pinecones, or a winter wonderland of mistletoe, ivy and white roses, it’s bound to enchant guests.

Use special fabric as a tablecloth

Create an epic backdrop for your Christmas table with an opulent tablecloth. Don’t spend a fortune on a fully finished tablecloth, instead just buy lengths of fabric to use instead as it is just as good and often half the price. You could opt for rich damask prints, geometric shapes, or even abstract art to surround your meals for added visual appeal. Everyone will want to upload a snap of their dinner to Insta.

Be creative with your tableware

If you're looking for an easy, yet special way to present your desserts, why not swap out your bowls for a pretty wine glass instead? A classic combination of fresh raspberries, meringue and cream can make a pretty spectacular dessert when presented in a wine glass. The best part is that there's no baking necessary! All you do is layer raspberry and crushed meringue with a creamy topping until the glass is full, top with some flaked chocolate and voila – a fancy yet fun dessert is served. It's a great way to add an unexpected twist on an Eton Mess.

Here's what you need to think about when it comes to perfecting your tablescape.

Best Tablescaping Ideas

Colour scheme

Traditionally a festive colour scheme is rich green and red. However, there's a colour scheme to suit all décor and tastes. Have fun with rainbow colours or exude sophistication with black and gold tableware. This year, Marks & Spencer's Christmas table ideas range from Rustic Luxe in natural tones, to Family Fun with colourful nutcracker soldiers.

Lighting

Lighting candles is a lovely way to set the festive ambience and you may not even want to light them as they just look too pretty. Battery-powered candles and lights are also popular, as are candle holders.

Garlands and runners

Table garlands typically run through the middle of your table and are usually artificial. That's not to say you can't use real plants and flowers, but it may be a fire hazard, if you're also having real candles do take care. Having a beautiful garland centrepiece is sometimes all you need to create a festive tablescape and you can 'theme' the rest of your table around it, including cutlery, glasses, crackers and napkins.

Ornaments

Ornaments can help make your festive tablescape personal to your family or theme. Quirky items are a must for Christmas, with many choosing special ornaments, handmade crafts and even family heirlooms to help bring a sense of originality (and fun).

Personalised napkins and cutlery

Personalisation is sometimes all you need to make Christmas special. And creating personalised napkins and name tags will go down a treat with your guests. Simple changes such as adapting the colour of the napkins or using gold cutlery will also transform your dining space and make it seem more of an event.

Dinnerware

As Christmas dinner is made up of several courses, Matalan suggest: "Stack soup bowls on top of matching dinner plates for a fabulous feel and use different textures and finishes to create interest". In terms of glassware, have tumblers for water alongside Champagne flutes or wine glasses. Arrange flatware from outside to nearest the placemat, starting with small forks and spoons for the starter. Next, it's the main course fork and knife. You could have the dessert fork and spoon placed horizontally above the placement if there's plenty room.

Natalie Knowles is a Homes & Garden Product Writer for A Modern Kitchen, specialising in kitchen appliances. When she's not testing coffee machines, she flexes her creative flair as an artist.

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