How to Create a Holiday Tablescape

M E R E D I T H S O R K I N

B R A N D A M B A S S A D O R

photo: marta perez

photo: marta perez

As I pour over the pages of my favorite home decor magazines and instagram accounts; Southern Living, Better Homes & Gardens, Traditional Home; I often find myself carefully studying the pictures of tablescapes and place settings. As a little girl, my mother used to let me set her holiday table. I knew that before guests started complimenting the aroma and tastes of her food, they complimented the decor. I looked to my mother to tell me what utensils we needed and which napkins she wanted but I loved getting creative with the setting. Should I place the napkin between the charger and the plate? Or perhaps fold it on top? Which napkin fold should I create? I adjusted every glass to line it up with the knife tip and made sure the rest of the setting was straight and in line with others. Then as I grew older, and embraced my hostess creativity, I ventured outside to cut fresh branches from the evergreen tree, stole pomegranates and oranges from the kitchen fruit bowl and gathered candles from every room in the house. A set table has always been a point of satisfaction for me. So I’d love to share some details on how to set your table for the holiday - whether it’s an ordinary dinner during the holiday season or the holiday gathering itself: here’s how you do it.

photo: amanda orr

photo: amanda orr

Start with a table runner - if you’re setting a table that you frequently dine on, it’s best to choose one that’s machine washable. Next, pick a centerpiece item. I like to choose something low that won’t interfere with sight lines during dinner. Maybe it’s a faux pumpkin, a bowl of pine cones or a deer statue. Then, dress the space around that center item. My favorite way to do this is is using garland because it stays in place, isn’t messy and can be easily removed for cleaning up after the meal. You’ll need two strands of that garland to give the table a full look. And choose one that has natural elements like branches, greens, berries or floral accents.

photo: amanda orr

photo: amanda orr

A truly amazing tablescape is one that not only looks beautiful but blends flawlessly with your lifestyle. Make sure you’re not styling your table in a way that prohibits you from actually using the table for what it’s intended for: dining! So, using a rectangular table as the example. If you have a party of 4, you’ll want to place the runner and it’s decor lengthwise, with the end seats being fully encompassed by decor. If you’re dining with a party of 6 or more, you’ll want to place that runner across the width of the table, with the runner draping down the sides of the table, between the two place settings on either side. This setting can remain for everyday leading up to your holiday event. Then on the day of your party, you can enhance this look with candles. Add in a mix of creams and whites, pillars and tapers. Also consider adding in live items like real fruit or items picked from nature like fresh greens or pine cones. These live items will help to fill in any bare spots. And it can also be a fun activity for younger guests who are often eager to help! Lastly, set your table so it’s ready for guests. Using place cards is my favorite touch, because it not only takes away any last minute chaos as you’re making final food preparations in the kitchen, but it shows guests that you’ve thought about their comfort and interests when suggesting where they sit.

Have fun with your tablescapes this holiday season and be sure to share your tables with us as you decorate and dine using the hastag #mywhitetailtable

photo: marta perez

photo: marta perez