Don't Set the Table, Design the Table. A Christmas Tablescape Story.

The holidays are a time to celebrate family and friends, enjoy the blessings in our lives, and of course deck the halls! In my own home, at the start of December, I sprinkle a bit of Christmas everywhere. The spirit of Christmas means magic, and inviting that magic into our homes can create an environment of peace, joy and relaxation instantly.

One of my favorite design projects is creating a table where guests can remember the evening well beyond the meal. It may sound a little nutty but I take my tablescapes pretty serious. When creating a tablescape, there’s a big difference between “setting the table,” and “designing the table.” One is purely functional. The other is transformative. It can make your guests feel relaxed. It can make them feel welcome. It creates a festive mood. I view the tablescape as the center of the home, the main gathering area for guests.

I incorporate some of the universal truths behind good design when creating a tablescape- balance and proportion, lighting, creativity and color. Here's how I used these design elements in this Christmas tablescape and spent only $30 by using what was already in the home, and adding just a few key pieces to tie it all together.

Balance and Proportion

Balance and proportion are pleasing to the eye. Even though we may not always realize when we set our eyes upon a room that has created great scale- varying sizes of things, it draws our attention. When everything is the same size nothing stands out.

Each side of the decor is in proportion, from the height of the candles to the placement of each piece. The candles were gathered from around the house as well as the gold ornaments. The vase was purchased at AC Moore and the trees at Home Goods- all on sale and under $20. Holiday decor can be found at sale prices sometimes weeks before the holidays.


The chandelier was dimmed and the table glowed for this photo. Using battery operated candles the lighting picked up the gold and silver shimmer on the table cloth, purchased at Target for $15, and also creates a cozy feeling at the table. I have a habit of going overboard on the candles, mainly because the lighting always enhances everything around it. It creates a glowing atmosphere. Perfect for a Christmas table. You can also add battery operated string lights to the inside of vases for even more glow.


Guests are going to use the napkins, but why not have some fun before they pop these open? The little creative touches at the table are a conversation starter and a way to add some interest to the table. I came across this video on how to fold napkins into Christmas trees, but still felt something was missing. So we added gold ornaments with some ribbon as a tree topper. The silverware nestles perfectly in the napkin until your guests are ready to dig in. 

To add a little more fun to the table we found some tall spiral and glittery vase fillers, also at AC Moore, for $1.49 a package. This was the perfect touch to the vases and added some height to the middle of the table as well. 


Silver and gold was the theme. Once you decide on a theme, everything will fall into place. This color theme had me singing the Christmas classic, Silver and Gold by Burl Ives...

"Silver and gold Mean so much more When I see Silver And gold decorations On ev'ry Christmas tree"

Color has a profound influence in a space. It can be calming or even energizing. Combining the tones of silver and gold, with pops of green in the napkins, the mix of warm and cool tones brought some life to the tablescape. We opted for classic white china with silver chargers to really allow the green to be seen.  

The colors are endless with Christmas decor. You can incorporate reds, purples and even blues to your tablescape. Being vibrant or more subtle when playing with color is one of the best parts of decorating. I also loved how the maroon curtains and bright yellow walls mixed well with the tablescape color choice.

Here's to the tables in our homes being filled with beauty and the blessings of great food, but more importantly sharing that table with friends and family this holiday season and everyday.

Always remember, whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul. It's one of the best ways to find peace in your space.

Happy decorating and happy holidays!