Set The Christmas Table
The dining table is the star of the show at Christmas, so make sure its got the wow factor! Here's a few of my favourite things to quote Julie Andrews, or rather favourite ideas, some are simple to do, some will take a bit more time.
And I've started off with a definite wow factor table! EVERYONE is doing dried-flower suspended floral installations, or cloud displays, this year because they look amazing! but they do take a bit of work. If you have a beam to attach it to, all well and good, but if not, you will have to attach a hook or hooks to the ceiling with wire down to where you want the installation to be above the table. Then the preferred method is to make a chicken wire cloud shape to your desired size, bearing in mind that large stems will come out a lot further. There are plenty of Youtube videos to show you how to do it, there is a great one by Luke Arthur Wells. This one uses pampas grass dyed in pinks and oranges with some silver leaf picks added. The table below is simple and elegant, with a pale pink tablecloth, tablemats and charger plates. Then various cone shapes create the table decoration and echo the Christmas tree. Those gold chairs are just stunning. A by AMARA snowy pine 7ft Christmas tree £215; Decorations from £20, Christmas lights from £20; Tall White Marble Taper Candle Holder £35; Velvet Embellished Tree; Cluster Beaded Tree Ornament.
KARTELL Masters Chair in Gold £398, Trama Water Glass Pink each £10,
LISA CORTI Cotton Napkin with Tiger Embroidery; CUTIPOL Duna 24 Piece Cutlery Set in Matt Copper all Amara.com
An elegant look but with a more classic feel. White, silver and glass never fails to please. Start with a white tablecloth, white china and clear glasses. Slender glass candlesticks are barely there and high enough not to get in the way of the food. A cake stand in the centre has a votive on top and silver baubles with willow leaf eucalyptus draped around them. This is also used in the bud vases at either end of the table and as a decoration on the back of each chair with a white ribbon, and also used on the wall light. The finishing touch is white ribbon draped from the chandelier - so simple to do but it looks so effective - (I've done it this year)
Mini Sparkle Wreath £10; Mercury Snowflake Tealights from £6; Mercury Ribbed Orb Tealight £10; Elegant Dinner Candle Holders from £25; Symons Cutlery (Set of 42) £280; Symons Bone China Collection from £10
Glass Pillar Candle Holders from £20; Glitter Pear £4 9. Belgravia Glassware from£30 (set of 4) all thewhitecompany.com
For a more rustic look, this design is lovely, the hero is the fresh foliage and fairy lights around the window, which looks magical and frames the table. A combination of copper and gold baubles on the tree set the colour scene, which is echoed on the table decorations. A grey linen tablecloth, grey washed wood candlesticks and grey candles are rustic but sophisticated. Each place setting has a naive design kraft cracker, linen napkin and a sprig of fresh foliage on each plate tied with copper ribbon.
Nordmann Fir premium cut tree 180-210cm (6-7ft) £49.99; MKSA julie red wine glass (set of 4), £12.99; Tripoli black candleholder (large), £12.99; Rustic pillar candle (anthracite), £2.49 each; Ceramic speckled marble grey vase, £20; White basics rim dinner plate (27.5cm), £2.99 and side plate (19cm), £1.99; Viners ariel cutlery set (16 piece), £29.99; Wood veneer round place mat (set of 4), £16.99; Tripoli black candleholder (small), £9.99; Frosted star tealight holder, £3.99; Wood veneer round coaster (set of 4), £7.99; Menzie gold plate (small), £5; Dobbies Crackers Eco Design £5.99 pack of 12; Warm White Basic String Lights from £14.99. All Dobbies Garden Centres, www.dobbies.com.
This is an easy one to do, but looks really effective - felt garlands are crisscrossed across the room, a simple lit star adorns the wall with a sprig of eucalyptus on it, and a mini tree in a raffia pot has small white stars on it on the table. Add more eucalyptus leaves on the cake stand and that's it - job done. All gardentrading.co.uk
Another rustic idea using a suspended branch - use fishing wire to attach it to the ceiling - then hang strings of foliage and dried orange slices from it. Make sure the strands are placed well apart so guests can see each other and don't have them hanging too low so that they interfere with the food. You could add lights too or just drape them on the table like this
Large lit stars on the wall are really simple to attach and create instant impact. Use different sizes for the best effect. Then use a table runner, with a faux foliage garland along the length of the table. Ombre LED candles will flicker happily all day and won't cause any damage, then add lit baubles on each plate. The crown light-up Christmas tree topper on the table is so pretty. Lights4fun.co.uk
If a cloud display seems like too much effort, use paper decorations, they are light and easy to hang with fishing line, so won't damage the ceiling. Use 3M command adjustables. Make your own chair back decorations like these with pieces you can buy at Hobbycraft or Amazon and try out your calligraphy skills on the messages. Forage for large pine cones and place them in white flower pots, you could also paint the tips white or sprinkle them with glitter.
Red is always in style at Christmas! For an informal lunch, start with red felt snowflake placemats, find them at etsy.com and red wine glasses. I love these winter scene tumblers, but sadly they have been discontinued, you can find plenty of vintage ones on etsy.com however. Then pile up the plates with red napkins and a small votive on each plate covered in more snowflake felt and fill it with little sprigs of the Christmas tree and some berries. Then for a centrepiece have three glass cloches, with a little scene beneath each one - a snowy red house, deer and santa of course.This is one I styled for womanandhome.com a few years ago.
I'm not sure this is really a cloud display, more of a wreath I think but just as effective. Just attach foliage from the garden (or someone else's) and add stars - I love a star - but the stand-out thing here are the chair back decorations. A piece of hessian, tied with string and a sprig of eucalpytus attached, then a wooden star as a finishing touch. gardentrading.co.uk
And that's it! Merry Christmas everyone! Whether you dress your table or not, I hope you have a wonderful time with your family and here's to a better 2021.