Nothing is more important on Christmas evening than the tablescape (well, the food is a close runner-up). That's why we're offering inspiration from designers, bloggers and tastemakers to help you pick out your own design, whether you prefer a traditional spread or one that's totally modern.
Mismatched glasses and plates personalize a classic space. Add unexpected colors to a formal dining room with small potted plants (real or fake) and multicolored glassware.
What you'll need: multicolored glassware ($30 for 6, )
Mixing loud prints, such as these classic blue and white dishes with colorful ikat napkins, adds interest and intrigue to your holiday spread.
What you'll need: ikat napkins ($28 for 6, )
It doesn't take much to decorate a neutral room for the holidays. This blogger draped a vintage blanket over her white table to add color and creativity to with zero to no work involved.
What you'll need: wood slices ($24, ), blanket ($36, )
Just because it's the holidays, doesn't mean you're only allowed to use red and green. This bold blue hue paired with white cotton balls gives a modern vibe to a traditional event.
What you'll need: tablecloth ($16, ), dried cotton stems ($22, ), white vases ($32, )
There's something about this white-and-black checkered pattern that screams rustic, yet high style. When paired with wooden chargers you've got an unforgettable table spread.
What you'll need: wood slices ($24, ), checkered runner ($23, ), green glasses ($10 for a 3-pack, )
Everyone has a favorite Christmas jingle. Why not use it to add a graphic element to your dining room table? This blogger chose John Lennon's Happy Christmas and topped it off with rustic mason jars and greenery.
What you'll need: roll of black paper ($28, ), white paint pen ($5, )
Green pine branches stand out in the most festive way when paired with black and white. And don't even get us started on how much we love the Scandinavian touch of the brass candlesticks.
What you'll need: striped runner ($49, ), candle holder ($60, ), pine garland ($37, ), wood slides ($5 for a 25-pack, ), chalkboard tags ($6 for a 3-pack, )
Christmas tree ornaments shouldn't be limited to just the tree — scatter them on the table to create a presentation that mirrors the theme you've created in the living room.
What you'll need: glittery ornaments ($10 for a 25-pack, )
"A beautiful table is not about a staggering investment in expensive formal objects. My style is distinctly American, with a commitment to simplicity. I see endless opportunities in a crisp white napkin. And white, silver and gold are just the perfect trio," says Phoebe Howard, an interior designer and retailer in Jacksonville.
What you'll need: gold chargers ($20 for a 12-pack, )
"My favorite color choice for a festive table is always red. No other color packs the punch that red does. I love single-color arrangements of roses, tulips and carnations, so I did four of them for the centerpiece around an antique hurricane. The tablecloth is my very cheerful Celeste pattern. It says 'fun' instantly," says Michael Devine, Fabric designer and retailer.
What you'll need: star tablecloth (price upon request, ), red glasses ($32 for an 8-pack, )
Take a hint from your plaid table runner, and carry red hues throughout the rest of the tablescape — plates and ribbon accents included.
What you'll need: plaid table runner ($22, )
Instead of filling up the table with names, jot down a note of Christmas cheer on a DIY chalkboard tag.
What you'll need: red bead garland ($12, ), red and white string ($6, ), candle holder ($22, )
"The idea here is to keep the colors calming and soft. I love using two colors on a table. It has a bigger impact and creates a stronger story. I've mixed white with gray, silver, and crystal to create this glimmering holiday lunch. All whites — and all off-whites, for that matter — go together, regardless of provenance, style or age," says Victoria Amory, a writer in Palm Beach.
What you'll need: tablecloth ($82 and more, )
Whether they're faux or fresh, these juicy red fruits are a simple element to display — add some greens to give the look a pretty contrast.
What you'll need: fake pomegranates ($13 for a 6-pack, )
Small bright wreaths make for a pretty — and traditional — plate decoration.
What you'll need: mini boxwood wreath ($15, ), red gingham ribbon ($10, )
"Sunday brunch is a great way to see family and friends in a more intimate setting. I like to serve courses, even at breakfast, so the table is set with white china chargers. A beautiful blue Italian salad plate is set on it for the first course of fruit and then removed and breakfast is served on more white china. Juice in delicate pink 1920s wineglasses for a splash of elegance, oversize Italian coffee cups — everything encourages you to linger. Individual pitchers and ramekins for syrup and jam — a rule of my mother's: Decant everything. And white linen napkins that were also my mother's, to remind us of holidays past," says Amy Ephron, writer and founder of .
What you'll need: vintage wine glasses ($49 for a 6-pack, )
Recreate a shimmery forest with miniature evergreens and carefully carved logs.
What you'll need: assorted wood slices ($10 for a 20-pack, ), bottle brush trees ($15 for an 18-pack, )
"I love antique objects, but I find that the juxtaposition of antiques with bold prints or accessories makes the table more visually interesting. The wicker charger and strong graphic linen mats are framed by contemporary flatware with gray porcelain handles. For fun, I folded the napkins so they would look like a man's tie and tucked the top into the salad plate. The scheme is basically monochromatic, but I also added red flowers and red water glasses as accents. I always low-light my dinner table, depending on lots of candlelight, a dimmer on the overhead fixture, and the glow of white plates and starched linen," says Coco Kopelman, contributor to Park Avenue Potluck: Celebrations.
What you'll need: woven chargers ($42 for a 6-pack, )
The same paper bags that hold your kid's school lunch actually look lovely on a holiday table — this blogger included a few seasonal elements to bring in pops of color.
What you'll need: brown paper bags ($5 for a 30-pack, )
Blend in candles with the rest of a tablescape by turning them ombre — this blogger used red acrylic paint.
What you'll need: poinsettia tablecloth ($15, )
"I set the table the same way I get dressed. I guess I have a lot of clothes. I started with the tablecloth from Urban Outfitters. They have great textiles — I buy them all the time and have them sewn to fit a 48-inch round table. You can throw them in the wash, and they're easy to iron. I love the look of a white plate on a patterned cloth but wanted to show how you could mix even more, so I added the old porcelain and topped it with a modern soup bowl. I love red carnations because they make all the colors pop, they last forever. Last I added a few objects like Foo dogs, so your eye has something to dance over," says interior designer Miles Redd.
What you'll need: red carnations ($18, )
Fill up a vacant dinner plate with beautifully wrapped faux present boxes — try out a bold color for the trim, like this teal ribbon.
What you'll need: white boxes, ($20 for a 50-pack, ), teal ribbon ($13, )
"When I saw the simple stark white plates, I thought of placing them in the stark contrast that one finds in the whites and darks of a 17th-century Dutch painting. I also wanted to juxtapose the modern white dishes against rich reds, traditional pewter shapes and staghorn flatware and candlesticks — utensils one would find in a 17th-century hunting lodge. Flowers are not easy to come by in Aspen, so I use lots of fruit as table decoration, again inspired by the beautiful Dutch still lifes I love. Here it's rich red apples and grapes. The table works equally well for autumn or winter or even a Valentine's Day celebration," says writer and designer Carolyne Roehm.
What you'll need: red tablecloth ($29, ), red glasses ($28 for a 6-pack, )
White and gold are nothing but elegant — especially when displayed in multiple seasonal elements, like stockings, wreaths and trees.
What you'll need: gold placemats ($14, ), gold tree decor ($9 for a 2-pack, )
If you've got a little more time to spare, craft Christmas tree table toppers — using magazine pages (so clever!).
What you'll need: gray spray paint ($7, ), white glitter spray paint ($7, )
"I thought it would be fun to show how simple white plates mix with some of the finest, most opulent pieces. I used plenty of real gold for warmth and reflection — the place mats are gold thread, the flatware is 22-karat gold vermeil — and tempered it with the lightness of Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica plates and white linen. Between the two, I think the table is a festive balance. Rich yet fresh," says Nicholas Manville, Director of Decorative Home at Bergdorf Goodman.
What you'll need: gold-plated silverware ($145 for an 8-pack, )
Cranberries and fresh cut juniper look stunning tucked inside a set of mason jars —especially when they're illuminated with candlelight.
What you'll need: mason jars ($23 for a 12-pack, ), cranberries ($19, )
"I seldom choose color or floral arrangements. Instead I select artifacts my children or I have collected. These pieces have a richness of spirit, a softness of age and a story. I mix pieces from my home collection with sterling and crystal. Here, engraved goblets are perfect for wine or hot chocolate — with etched tequila shooters being essential. My Ballin embossed chargers reflect my family's north Mexican heritage — artillery belts are as common a motif as Saint Nicholas. As night fades into morning, to the ring of holiday bells, the Guardian Angel and Santa are given as a gift, or recuerdito, to each guest," says Jan Barboglio a home furnishings designer in Dallas.
What you'll need: charger ($95, )
It's definitely okay to break away from traditional red and green if it means brightening up a table like this.
What you'll need: pine garland ($9, ), colorful snowflakes ($15, )
"I would say my style is steampunk-ian. I am a retro-futurist with a love of old libraries and cabinets of wonder. I wanted to do a centerpiece of bubbles to set off the white china, so I found a battery-operated bubble machine and an iron basket in which to insert it. I covered the basket with silk flowers in lilac, fuchsia and tile green. I have an art gallery, so I set my table in front of one of Owen Schmit's abstract paintings. Ultimately the painting and basket worked, but the bubbles didn't photograph. The little gold slipper serves as a place card — the guest's name is inside," says Laurie Frank, an art gallery owner in Los Angeles.
What you'll need: miniature shoe ($5, ), gold paint ($4, )