Admittedly, I get very intimidated by decorating a table. For some reason the size of it, angles, flatness, and decisions that go into tablescapes just don't always jive with me. (good thing I don't have to plan or prepare many elegant tables.)
But I wanted to try my hand at it again this year for the festive season with a pronounced emphasis on simplicity and repurposing items I already own instead of spending a fortune on bits and bobs to elevate the theme.
And speaking of the theme, it's no surprise I pulled from what I know best – neutrals and natural elements like fresh rosemary sprigs from my herb garden and pears from my fruit bowl to create the look. So simple, so cozy.
What You'll Find in This Post:
+ inspiration for a neutral and natural holiday table
+ how to keep a holiday table simple
+ links if you care to shop the items
+ stocking up on interchangeable table items for the future
My inspiration for this table came not from perusing Pinterest but rather mindless picking up a pear. I saw a recent admonition from (I believe it was) Tiegan of Half Baked Harvest to use fruit as a staple of a holiday table. So with three pears in hand I brought out my box of holiday linens and began mixing and matching to create a bit of a theme, but mostly a soft and simple look.
It started with a natural linen (I love using linen year round) tablecloth. Most of the time a table runner is my go-to choice for soft coverings, but a tablecloth seemed to fit the mood this time around. Mine happened to be repurposed from a couple curtains that were very likely thrifted.
**again, a gentle reminder here to use what you have. Or if you're wanting to grow your collection of items to pick from to create a lovely scene, hop into your local thrift store for anything from a duvet covering to a tablecloth or curtains.**
But if you're looking for a specific color or texture of table covering you might need to browse some online shops for the right product. I would suggest starting your collection with a natural color ( tan, flax, bone, or stone). Pure white never really goes with anything and colors are much less versatile.
Napkins are much the same as tablecloths and indeed they do fall into the table linen category. I love using cloth napkins on a regular basis, even if I'm hosting a dinner party. They can make a Monday dinner feel special and are a much more sustainable option than paper towels or napkins.
Favorite Places to Shop for Quality Table Linens:
- WEST ELM - classic, neutral selections that are perfect for year round
- SERENA AND LILY - definitely trends more toward summer entertaining options, but a good mix of elegant and fairly priced items
- ANTHROPOLGIE - always on point with the prints and colors if you like more pizzaz in your life
- H&M HOME - excellent budget options
- ZARA HOME - a mid-priced collection of really beautiful linens
As for plates and cups I again pulled from our everyday pieces to create a very lived in look. Our everyday dinner items have been collected over time from both local and midwest potters as well as a few items from the Sugarboo and Co. Collection of tableware - specifically the Speckled Ceramic Collection.
I loved the look of the cream colored plates with the neutral table and I probably would not have pulled this look together if I had just used white, shiny Pfaltzgraff-style plates. I do think nice dishes is important if you're trying to elevate even a simple table a little bit. Personally, I don't think all your plates, bowls, etc. need to match – so start collection a piece here and there - but I do think if you're passionate about hosting and decorating it's time to donate the white plates.
The drink ware on the table is our newest acquisition from Ferm Living via Ember Maine. Both the glasses (one in a champagne style and one in a wine style) are absolutely beautiful and have a wonderful drinking experience. Seriously, even the ginger ale seen above is elevated in a cup like this.
No matter what your beverage preference is for an evening affair, it is bound to be so much more special out of a beautiful glass.
While some tables - particularly round ones - can easily accommodate a dedicated centerpiece I much prefer a more functional table with a bowl of fruit, a tray of candles, or a platter of colorful veggies.
My centerpiece leaned into the Scandinavian vibe with a vintage candle holder that holly and berries wound around. It was such a unique piece I couldn't pass up the opportunity to buy it in our local vintage store. I bought fat beeswax candles from Amazon, lit them for a bit and let the wax drip and drop to create a very utilitarian and cozy feel.
Other ideas for a useful centerpiece if you're worried about small children around open fire would be a simple wooden bowl filled with oranges or pears, a platter arranged with in-season veggies like squashes or eggplant, or even a low garland of foraged greenery – magnolia leaves are beautiful in this setting as well.
Hopefully this post gives you some inspiration for a beautiful, natural holiday table. Once I stopped following the multi-layered, everything perfect Pinterest approach to a tablescape I felt much better about creating something special. I hope you're inspired to use what you have and make a special table setting for the holidays this year.