The holidays bring people together, both friends and family alike. Although we gather periodically in many different places – from the kitchen to the back porch – much of the focus is on the dining room table. The table is where we eat, share, create conversation, laugh, and make memories. In homes across the world, families can often be seen still sitting at the table long after the meal has finished. With so much focus, it’s no wonder we want to have the perfect holiday table. Lucky for many of us, the ideal holiday table is not about fancy dinner plates.
As a Utah interior designer, I specialize in helping families create the perfect holiday tablescape. Find out a few of my favorite ideas this season:
Did you know that there are a right way and a wrong way to set the table? If your parents were anything like mine, you did! However, what is “right” for your family is not always right for other families, especially from various cultures. As a general rule of thumb, set the table left to right: fork, plate, knife then spoon. The drinking glass goes on the right side of the place setting. Your napkin placement depends on the setting, but the standard arrangement is to the left of the fork or on the plate with a beautiful napkin ring.
Being that food is usually the main focus of the holiday table, your decor should flow with the flavors of the season. Holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas happen in the winter, where we tend to fill ourselves with heavier food, so deep, full colors are trendy. However, traditional is not always applicable, especially if it isn’t your preference. This year, terracotta, dark greens, and rich apple reds are lining the shelves. Yet, everyone has a different tradition when it comes to holiday dinners. Don’t be afraid to create your own!
When choosing linens, neutral colors are definitely on the rise this year. Take a trip to your local fabric store and want a simple fabric to use as a table runner. Patterns can make a table look cluttered and busy, especially with lots of delicious plates, so keep your linens simple. Complete the look by coordinating napkins and placemats with the same palette, then embellishing with festive adornments.
The holidays have a way of bringing nature into your home, and your table should be no exception. When considering that to use as decor or centerpieces, I love shopping at the local nurseries. Greenery such as evergreens or magnolia are great additions and add that festive smell. Incorporate seasonal fruit to add color, figs, pomegranates, or even oranges for a fun pop of color. Found items from nature, such as stones or pine cones, can add a natural flair. This is a perfect winter assignment for the kids!
Leave them with a small gift they can take with them to remember your event. A cute trinket that reminded you of them or ornaments for their trees are always winners! One good rule of thumb: don’t just pick up something cheap to give away just to HAVE something. You want whatever you gift to be something they can use or cherish. If you can’t think of something, a small goody bag of baked goods are always a favorite!
One thing to have at your table this year is something personalized for your guests. Custom name cards or embroidered napkins are nice touches to personalize a meal (and help people learn each other’s names if it is a big event). If you have close family over, add in specially picked individual pieces from your home. Perhaps there is an ornament, antique glassware, or hand-carved toys that will remind your loved one of previous years. Something that holds sentimental value to your family can go a long way when they see it lovingly placed in decor.
There, I said it: if it doesn’t suit your style or your group, your settings do NOT have to match! Step outside the box this year. If you don’t have a full matching set, antique, or mismatched glasses that flow with the theme or are intentionally mismatched are very popular this year. The water glasses and flatware should coordinate to make it look intentional, but set each place according to its own motif using coordinating plates and stemware. This is a unique way to make a table separate but fit each unique individual.
These tips are just a few suggestions to get you going! If you run out of time or are having a hard time creating the perfect holiday tablescape for your upcoming event, an interior designer in Salt Lake City can help. Interior designers focus on making your home beautiful and guest-ready, while you wrap presents, work, or cook the delicious meal! Our Nest Designs is Utah’s most trusted interior design company. Call us today at 801-913-8962 to find out how we can help!
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