Tablescaping - setting the perfect festive table

A festive table setting with candles and pine cones

Deck your tables with boughs of holly - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Forget just setting or laying the table for dinner, ‘tablescaping’ is the current buzzword in interiors when it comes dining with style. The trend has really gained popularity over the past year, as entertaining at home increased due to Covid restrictions. And like any trend worth its salt, #tablescaping has become huge on Instagram, where people not only share their own stunning table settings, but look to others for inspo, too. 

The festive season is, of course, the perfect time to really put your ‘scaping’ skills to the test, by choosing pretty accessories and trinkets to complement your crockery and table linens, and really making your table the focus of your dining room. And you don’t have to spend out to make a statement – gathering up items such as ramekins that can hold tealights, or offcuts of luxury fabrics to fashion into a table runner, or bringing the outdoors in with pinecones and garden foliage will all give your table the wow factor for next to nothing. 

Colour Me Festive 

While most of us tend to stick to traditional colours such as reds and greens and golds at Christmas, there really is no reason why you cannot pare back with neutrals, or go completely OTT with glitter and glamour when you decorate your table – the key is creativity and of course practicality – bear in mind that in amongst your carefully curated decorations, you will still need space for necessities such as napkins and place names, wine bottles and glasses, and of course your Christmas dinner!  

The Centre of Attention  

A lot of us already use a seasonal centrepiece to decorate our table for Christmas – often a holly or ivy themed candle holder, or a candelabra or single candlesticks festooned with winter leaves and berries, or a statement poinsettia in the middle of the table. And while fresh flowers and gorgeous trails of ivy and garlands of pine always look stunning, do not be afraid to experiment with dried floral displays, too.  

Alluring Lighting 

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Light and ambience is also an important element of your dining experience, and using candles as part of your tablescape will have a dramatic effect on the overall look, not to mention the mood. Check out realistic wax-effect LED candles if you have younger children, and ensure all candle holders and real candles are used safely and kept an eye on at all times. 

Fairy lights twisted into pretty jars or wound around a vase or candlestick also look effective, especially in a low-lit room, where they offer a pretty reflective glow against your glassware. You could also float tea lights in a gorgeous faceted glass bowl, or place them around the table in mini decorative lanterns.  

Get Creative 

How ever you decide to dress your festive table, be creative, and do not be afraid to experiment with colour and texture. Consider introducing fun elements such as vases of feathers in place of flowers, or use mis-matching chinaware, and carafes and water jugs of different heights and styles. Just remember to take a step back (or take a seat) when you’ve finished to check the height and depth of all your decorations can be worked around as people pass dishes and reach for the wine - and that your centrepiece is not obscuring the view of the diners opposite!