Lay the right foundations
You need to protect your table, splashes of piping hot gravy, scorching trays straight from the oven and one too many sherries could leave behind a disaster in the new year. Choosing a tablecloth can be make or break. If going for a simple fabric don’t forget to use a heat protective layer underneath. Oilcloth is a great choice for tablecloth as you can just wipe clean, or if choosing a fabric go for one that’s washable. A great look for Christmas is anything with a check, be it a plaid or tartan or a simple gingham. They always add an air of nostalgia to the occasion but don’t look out of place at other times of the year, we love a bit of re-purposing!
Play with pattern and colour
Clashing prints and pattern – it’s the only time of the year that this tends to work without looking too gaudy but pick a colour scheme and stick with it. Order fabric samples to see what works together and what works with your tableware, or use a moodboard to pull together your favourite patterns. Clash your tablecloth with your napkins and your napkins with your placemats. If your additional decorations are simple, it will come together. If you overload it with tinsel sparkle and a 6ft Santa it just won’t work!
Take the lead from Fiona Leahy, event’s organiser extraordinaire, as interviewed in Vogue, and experiment with ‘printoflage’ and ‘chintzoflage’. Build up fabrics of the same pattern on your table, and what could look over-the-top is actually a dramatic and confident table setting. Give it a go with checks and try alternating small and large, our Avon Check Fabric in Peony £27.50 per metre and Suffolk Check Peony £27.50 in Large and Small will do the job perfectly.
Add a touch of formality
Make your guests feel special and maybe they will be less inclined to complain about the overcooked/undercooked sprouts this year. Giving a small table gift can really start the festivities with some good cheer. Maybe a beautifully wrapped little miniature for the adults and a sweet treat for the kids.
A festive get-together isn’t complete without Christmas crackers, they provide entertainment, with jokes and mini toys, as well as help to add a decorative touch to the table setting. If you’re feeling creative and then you can bring even more joy to your Christmas dining table and make it that little more personal by surprising your friends and family with handmade crackers. We love this great how to guide from Sarah Renae Clark.
You could even send out an invite to your guests to advise them on the menu and dress code to ensure that they are fully prepared for your festive gathering. Using place cards on the table is guaranteed to bring a smile to guests’ faces and it can also prevent those awkward seating arrangements. Combining festive ribbon and rustic leaves can work wonders on any table, just slip a handwritten place card in the bow – try it for yourself with our Candy Stripe Peony and Campbell Union Peony fabrics.
Take centre stage
A centre piece doesn’t have to be fussy or expensive. At this time of the year you can make use of the gifts that nature gives you. Take a look at your shrubbery outside – if you take cuttings now and store them in a warm, dry place, by December 25th they will have dried out and retained some of that beautiful colour. Laid effortlessly down the length of a table runner and dotted with candles and wooden decorations will give a Nordic touch to a simple scheme in charcoal and taupe, like our version in Avon Check Black.
Evergreen plants such as Holly and Ivy are the traditional choices and look fantastic with a red table setting. Use sparingly as above, or go dramatic by wrapping densely around candles in your centerpiece. Bows tied in hessians and hopsacks are fabulous layered up with richer fabrics such as velvets, satins and chenilles. Candelabras wrapped with ivy or holly and a fabric ribbon to soften the look is a great option or try upgrading your usual fruit bowl to a festive one filled with homemade pomanders and fabric baubles.
Add a touch of sparkle
Gold and silver accents such as napkin rings and baubles will add a touch of sparkle and charm to any Christmas table setting. Create the perfect balance – when teamed with classic accessories such as a stylish dinner set, crystal glassware, crockery and scented candles it can convey sophisticated Christmas glamour.
Don’t forget as soon as all the food comes out, with an array of different dishes and serving plates you’re adding another layer of decoration, so keep the base of the table simple and build up.
Thinking all this looks too much hard work and is seriously cutting into your cheese board and port time? Why not look for someone else for help to bring your ideas to life. Simply select the fabrics that you want to use and then use our handy ‘Find a Stockist’; page to find a designer or maker near you. Call ahead to make sure they can fit you in before the big day!
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