Secret Styling Club’s Tablescaping Workshop
Tablescaping is the art of setting your table. For Christmas, this means going a little over the top and creating a setting to inspire and entertain whether you favour sparkle and glitz, or a more rustic or traditional setting.
How do you go about creating that scene-setting masterpiece? Follow these tips and you’ll have a table to wow your guests this season.
Consider your colour and theme
Do you want to keep it simple with natural foliage and twinkly candlelight or go for a pretty palette of pink, mint and silver? How about monochrome mixed with metallics or bright jewel colours? Maybe you want to incorporate a theme, such as a motif or a pattern? Think about how you’re decorating the other areas of your home for Christmas and whether you want those colours and theme to continue to your table, or whether you want something completely different. Either way, repeating the scale and texture as well as sticking to a select colour palette is key.
Choose your base
Layering is the key to a beautiful table, so you can go all out with a tablecloth and runner, or, if you want to keep your table bare, use wood breadboards or placemats to add the base under your crockery and accessories. Quite often at Christmas the table is extended, which means table runners don’t quite reach. You could try making your own, by adding fabric panels to the ends in complementary fabric, or alternatively, lay your runners across the table, instead of lengthways down the middle.
Focus on the centre
Varying heights of objects in the centre of your table is a great way to add interest and make your table more visually pleasing. Make sure you don’t use anything too high that means guests can’t see each other though! You can always add a statement piece in the middle and then remove it when the time comes for your meal. Choose from vases full of seasonal blooms, a large candelabra, candles at varying heights, or lots of smaller glass vessels filled with sprigs. Weave a garland or fresh foliage along the centre, then dot candles, fir cones or baubles on either side. Micro lights are ideal for weaving around a garland. If you want to make your own table centrepiece, try using a wreath as a base for a vase, candle or cake stand.
Layer your crockery
This is where you can bring in different colours, patterns and textures. Pop a dining plate on top of your placemat, followed by a side plate or dessert bowl. Quite often, with extra guests at Christmas your dinner set might not be large enough, so it’s ideal to mix two different sets together. Odd numbers look best, so try and stick to three layers. If you have plates with a patterned trim, use those as the base, then a side plate or bowl on top – ones with a message or motif on them are ideal for that top layer.
Personalise place settings
You can either go for symmetry and make each place setting the same, or style each one differently to make guests feel unique. Use Christmas decorations, a small gift, different coloured napkins or sprigs of eucalyptus for that all-important place setting, or even give them a handwritten menu. Turn napkins into works of art by folding them or try rolling them and embellishing them with napkin holders to fit your theme, or tied with a coordinating ribbon.
Use your best glassware
Glistening goblets, champagne coupes or flutes, water tumblers – think about what you’re likely to need and have them all ready. If your table isn’t the largest, consider having a small area on a nearby sideboard or a drinks trolley to keep your alcohol and a water jug close by. Drinks markers are also a great way to stop people mixing their glasses up – they’ll keep the washing-up down and are Covid-friendly too.
Don’t forget your chairs
Make your setting truly magical by decorating chairs and adding to your tablescaped look. You can tie baubles or sprigs of foliage to the back or use a length of voile or ribbon – we’ve used voile panel curtains from Dunelm, which we’ve gathered with ribbon. Don’t forget to make them comfy – it’s likely you’re going to be there a long time socialising so if you have wood or metal chairs, invest in some seat pads or use cushions/faux furs to keep them cosy and provide a soft base.
Create the piece de resistance
Framing your table with an overhead decoration is a great way to really create wow factor. Flower and foliage clouds are fabulous, but you could also try hanging baubles from lengths of ribbon or invisible wire, a branch with fairy lights wrapped around it, paper stars, etc.
Step back from your table, tweak anything you’re not happy with, and make sure it looks beautiful from every place setting. Most importantly enjoy!