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The holiday season is in full swing, and it is time for me to get serious about decorating! I love making my home festive for the holidays, and this year is going to be extra special because for the first time ever, we are hosting a dinner party! I love hosting parties, but I have never hosted a traditional dinner party before, so this is new territory for me. I am a perfectionist when it comes to planning, so the first thing I did was put together and sketch out a few ideas of how I wanted my table to look. Once I had a general idea in mind, I headed to my local At Home store and stocked up on everything I needed for the perfect night! I like to keep my table unadorned for everyday things, and a simple centerpiece is as far as I usually go unless we are having guests for dinner. This is my current table, and as you can see, I’m a big fan of the minimalist look.
Here it is after my festive transformation. Gorgeous!
I tend to go overboard when I start buying things, so I set my budget at $100 to keep on track. I love shopping at At Home for my decor needs, because they have a huge selection of on-trend items for just about anything you might be decorating at really great prices. I was able to buy this entire tablescape for just under my budget, and it looks gorgeous! My signature style tends toward the rustic, with neutral tones and lots of different textures, and At Home had so many items to choose from that fit my look perfectly. I would have happily filled my cart three times over if I could, but alas, my table is small and I wouldn’t have anywhere to put it. I work with tablescapes every day as a professional food photographer, and over the years I have developed a few tried-and-true tips on the best way to set up a table. Want to know how I get my looks? Here are a few of my favorite table decorating tips.
Layering is a quick way to add depth and texture to anything. A plate sitting on a table is fine, but adding textures and fabrics above and below it really bring it to life! For this particular table, I went with bright, simply patterned plates and topped them with a rich red napkin and the most adorable reindeer ornaments for my guests to take home. Isn’t it cute?
I love the colors here, and one thing I make sure to do when developing a color scheme is to have just one or two bold “standout” colors paired with a neutral theme. Also, with the standout colors it is best to use them sparingly. My chosen bold here is red, and I made sure to have it in just a few places so it wouldn’t overpower my table or take away from any of the other decorations.
Centerpieces are funny. If you don’t place or choose them wisely, they end up coming between you and your guests, which is never a good idea. On the other hand, if you make them too small they won’t really be a centerpiece. For my own tables, I like to go with a medium sized centerpiece that fits my theme, and that also has some kind of function. If yours is on the larger side, make sure to place it off-center. I picked up this cute sleigh, added some fake greenery to it, and used it as my napkin holder. Another quick centerpiece tip to keep in mind: Flowers are nice, but you never know how well your guests will do with them. The last thing you want is to cause a sneezing fit!
When in doubt, less is best
It took me a long time to learn that piling on decorations and going overboard with the layers was a bad idea. I used to layer table runners on top of tablecloths, put a different pot holder under each dish, and don’t even get me started on the extras! My tablescapes of old could be described with one word: Gaudy. Don’t be like me – stop at a simple table runner and some classic, clean lines. The only thing you really need are plates, food, and a few key decorative accents for a gorgeous table!
These are just a few of my favorite ways to create table magic, but there are so many more out there! The great thing about decorating is that you can really infuse yourself into everything, and it is a perfect way to share your style. What are your favorite decorating tips for festive holiday happenings?