One thing I love more than decor, design, and the holidays, is entertaining. There is no greater feeling than gathering those you love and spending quality time with them. As a host, you have the opportunity to fully immerse yourself and your guests in a memorable experience. My favorite parts about hosting include the menu, the drinks, activities and games, and the ambiance. I believe that entertaining should be a wholesome experience from start to finish. One element of entertaining in which I truly thrive and feel the most confident in the realm of decorating is through setting the table. Let’s be honest, when entertaining, food is most important. When you’re serving food you worked so tirelessly to perfect, the table on which you serve the meal should be just as enticing.
I am sharing some tips and tricks to make your holiday tablescape this year one to really wow your guests! Whether you are serving a meal this holiday season for a small quarantine bubble, or just enjoying the holiday with your immediate household, your holiday tablescape will ensure the mood and experience are anything but ordinary.
1. Table Runners: I have been experimenting with the magic of table runners and using them in unconventional ways this season. In my tablescape for four, I used the runner vertically on my table as a long placement that served two guests on opposite sides. I love the cohesiveness it brings to the setting and the simplicity of two clean lines running across the center of the table. Using runners instead of a tablecloth also allowed for the wood grain of my table to warm up the space while still providing protection to the table itself. Runners can be used in a multitude of ways; across the center of the table, horizontally across the table as placemats, vertically as I did, or even layered for a dramatic effect. Play around with runners you already own to see what you can come up with! If you’re going to get a runner from the store, grab two, because you can always return if you don’t use it., You’ll be surprised what fun ideas you can come up with when you start to practice!
2. Glasses: The more glassware, the better. When setting my table for four, I stocked each place setting with a red wine glass, white wine glass, and beautiful ceramic cup for water (hydration is key). The look of three glasses for one setting filled the tablescape and gave it a sense of dimension and elegance. This is how swanky restaurants set their glassware, so why not replicate at home? When setting for a more intimate meal for two, I swapped out the multitude of glasses for vintage glasses that make an impact all on their own. Having to only buy two made it manageable and fun to shop for!
3. Napkins: Cloth. Napkins. They are a must. I typically source mine from Home Goods or Target to get the most bang for my buck. Folding and placing between two plates, or under a bowl, will add so much to the look and feel of your tablescape. Adding napkin rings can enhance the effect, or you can fold in various ways!
3. Dishes and Serveware: Now, we aren’t made of money. We can’t go out and buy a full set of holiday China (although I wish and tried to convince my partner). China actually isn’t always necessary anyways! My tip here: make use with what you have. We own grey and navy dishes for everyday use. When I saw that Crate & Barrel released a red color in the dishes we own and love, I knew I needed to have them. I didn’t run out and buy a place setting for eight. I used what I had and built on it. I already own four grey dinner and salad plates, so I invested in four red dinner and salad plates and voila! I now have a holiday place setting for eight! It is more than acceptable to mix and match your dishware. Mixing colors and textures creates interest and gives the space a collection that you can use throughout the year as you please for each and every time you entertain. When serving for two, try adding in an elegant charger. I used two washed black wooden chargers from Target to add in texture and a moody pop of color on my table setting with the dishes I already own for me and my partner. This took our everyday look and elevated it to the next level.
4. When in Doubt, Go Green: Fresh greens, especially during the holiday season, complete any space. I picked up some fresh garland from my local grocer and ran it down the center of my table. It looks elegant, smells incredible, and is bound to automatically wow your guest with little to no effort.
5. Centerpieces: Again, make use of what you have. Take a shop around your house. Gather up some candles, your favorite vases, or even that fun garland you usually put on your tree. Collect what you can find and play around with it! You don’t need to go out and purchase all new goods to make a statement. Put a vase here, add some candles there. If you hate it, take it all down and stick with the garland. No table was ever set perfectly on the first go.
6. When in doubt, let them drink: If you’ve reached the end of this post and you still don’t have an impressive tablescape, don’t fret. Fill your guest’s glasses with drinks and they won’t even remember which candlestick you pondered for three hours prior to their arrival! No, but in all seriousness, if you’re looking to impress, do it through your food and drink. I have partnered with my friends over at Hamel Family Wines to serve their Isthmus this holiday season to my loved ones. Decanting an impressive bottle of wine and adding it to your tablescape will not only dazzle your guests sights but also their taste buds. All Hamel Family Wines are an experience all on their own. Produced in small quantities with a focus on the vines and the quality of each harvest, their wines are complex yet approachable. The 2016 Isthmus is a red blend with 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot. It is soft and approachable yet complex on the finish, just the emotion you wish your tablescape to invoke. This wine will leave your guests talking about more than just your place settings this holiday season.
Founder & Creative Director
Ash & Burrow