The holiday season is upon us and the calendars are quickly filling up with festive parties, dinners and gatherings. It’s a wonderful time of the year to surround yourself with loved ones to reflect on your many blessings and give thanks. As much as we favor this spirited season, we often lose sight of the why of a gathering vs. the look of a gathering. The pressure of being a party hostess has never been heavier with Pinterest perfect tables storming your social media feeds. Hosting is supposed to be an invitation from the heart and something you too can enjoy. Don’t let styling and decorating intimate you from hosting an event, we have a few simple guidelines that will keep your holiday table trendy and most importantly intentional.
Establishing a color palette sets the foundation of your tablescape, allowing you to create multiple styles and dimensions based on the colors you combine. Don’t let choosing your colors overwhelm you, pick a palette from a favorite napkin, china or glassware. Be inspired by items you already own or that favorite Anthropologie dish you’ve been crushing on. If something inspires you, the rest of the palette will fall into place. Our favorite places to shop for china or glassware are West Elm, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, Anthropologie and local thrift stores or estate sales.
Decide on formality, who are you inviting and what are you serving? Is this a cocktail mixer, potluck Friendsgiving or four course seated dinner? Knowing the who’s and the what’s is helpful in creating a cohesive design and atmosphere. Our go-to is the “high to low” design concept: a combination of high end concepts with affordable styling and decor, i.e. Casual Elegance for a seated dinner, Native American Rustic for Friendsgiving or Sparkle and Spruce for a holiday mixer. Once you’ve made a decision on formality, a concept will follow suit. An overall concept will assist keeping decor cohesive and eliminate the need to constantly add more to your tablescape.
Linens are your friend. A linen can bring your tablescape to the next level and is a simple decor staple but often misused. If you use too many linens or not the right ones together, the table can feel overwhelming. The most common mistake is a tablecloth mixed with a placemat, can you believe it! It’s a simple solution: either/or. Yes, linens can dress up any table but if you have a beautiful wooden table don’t cover it up – let it shine and still be creative with a placemat. OR make a statement with a linen vs. a centerpiece. An interesting print or texture works wonders on the eye.
Be creative with your place setting. Placement is everything and the options are endless. Napkins can alter a table based on the style or direction of it’s placement. Hanging from the table, wrapped between plates, intricate folds or unique napkin rings. Check out Over The Top Linen’s napkin board for inspiration. And not just napkins, flatware and glassware can bring life to the mix. Break out your mother’s vintage cocktail collection, show some love to the thrifted silverware set – all you need is paint and some TLC! Don’t get in a rut, each year and event is an opportunity to try something new!
Place cards are a must, an element that is personal, functional and creative! You can use paper, fabric, nature or food to personalize for your guests. Paper is the traditional option but you can modernize it by making a print with watercolor paints or try your hand at calligraphy. Tie leftover fabric to a chair or to paper for extra flair! For a natural element, look outside your front door – leafs, pine cones, acorns, moss, or spruce can easily be transformed as a place card. Even in your kitchen, pears, apples, pecan shells – edible and effective! You don’t have to break the bank to make a statement.
Less is more. Before rushing out to buy the latest trends in holiday decor – take an inventory of what you have first. Use items in an unconventional way to switch it up from past years. If you do end up spending, invest in an piece that you can use for many celebrations like a nice serving dish or timeless vase/urn. Candles are an affortable alternative, style in varying heights to dress up your tablescape and create an intimate atmosphere. Plus, candles go with every holiday!
See, styling a tablescape isn’t so scary afterall! We hope with these tips you are less intimated and more encouraged as a hostess this holiday season. Above all, remember why we celebrate and all we have to be thankful for. Many blessings for you this Thanksgiving holiday!
iPhone photos by Natalie Dawley / All rentals and linens from Aztec Events and Tents