5 Styling Tips for a Flawless and Functional Holiday Tablescape

OCT 17, 2018 updated Jun 18, 2021

No matter the season, celebration or occasion, a well-dressed table can set the scene for any festive gathering. That’s why we’ve invited the tablescape expert herself, Ariel of PMQ for Two, to share her five tips for decorating your table this holiday season. After reading her tips, choose from designs curated by Ariel or try your hand at mixing and matching from the Marketplace

Ariel: Thanksgiving–and the holidays in general–are a time of merriment, overeating, lots of socializing, and of course–busting out the fine china. It’s funny what we inherit from previous generations, previous styles, and find at the store. If you’re like me, you end up with an eclectic mix of cherished faves, precious pieces, and some old faithfuls that can go in the dishwasher.

The question though is: How do you style a tablescape for the holidays when you’re mixing styles, pieces, and linens?! Easy! You mix patterns and colours to bring the various patterns together (brush up on your pattern playing skills with these helpful tips). I believe in a more is more is more approach to tablescapes, and the holidays are no exception. Bring on the chintz, the china, and the cornucopia, but don’t forget to put a modern spin on things.

When creating a scheme, beyond pulling complimentary colours from your china for the linens, you can do a few simple things to accentuate what you’ve got and make them shine. Here are my top 5 tips for styling a tablescape for the holidays:

1. Bring on the bounty! 

Featured Designs

Mother nature has just put on the best show, and short of filling your ornament cornucopia for a centerpiece, there are many ways to use what you find. Incorporate natural and edible elements into your place settings to create a tangible wow factor. A simple pear at the center of your salad plate? Why not. Fresh rose buds and berry sprigs? You totally should. Don’t forget the fragrant greenery with interesting shapes. The colours you’ll find in the produce aisle at the grocery store are enough to motivate even the most monochromatic of hostesses.

Featured Designs

2. Bust out the heirlooms!

You, your mom, your great aunt, or your Mother-in-Law all fell in love with those pieces for a reason. Why not use them? Some things are too good to leave behind glass year round. If you’re not going to use them for the holidays, when will you use them? They add a historic element to your table, one that you can’t get just from store bought items. Pro tip: Match textiles like toiles to your super modern stuff, or mix in a retro print with your Blue Willow.

Featured Designs

3. Say Cheers! 

The holidays can be stressful for you, me, the dog, and uncle Peter. Greet your guests with a cocktail, and have one ready to go for dinner. Whether it’s chilled bubbles, a whisky cocktail, or just a simple mocktini. Your friends and family will appreciate the extra gesture, and it will give you another chance to use those fun lowball glasses you found at the thrift store.

4. Baby Portions, Please! 

Everyone wants to have a giant turkey on the table, and then one bowl for the greens, one for the potatoes, etc. That works when there are four people at the table, but with anything more than that, the portions become enormous and you need a weight lifter to get the turkey from one end to another. No more! Instead of serving things one dish at a time, divide them up and have two of everything: one for each end of the table. It will mean more dishes, but less effort from your guests. It also means you can buy two smaller turkeys and spend less time baking them.

5. Have fun!

All of these tips mean nothing if you’re not having fun. Put an embargo on the political discussion, make sure you have paper napkins handy, and add some ridiculous salt and pepper shakers. A tablescape is an extension of your hostess vibes and should reflect the very best of what you want to put forward. If you’re looking to let loose and relax, make sure your choice of linens and patterns reflects that. Go for bold with a red cheetah print, or yellow plaid. If anything, your table will be memorable.

Shop the featured designs from Ariel’s curated collection on ready-made items for your table! 

For more holiday entertaining and tablescape ideas, make sure you come visit me on PMQ for two.  And if you put together something inspired by my tips, I’d love to see it! Tag me & Spoonflower on instagram @pmqfortwo and @spoonflower, where I’ll be sharing my faves.

Looking for even more tips for stress-free holiday hosting? These seven tips from Kiss Me Kate Studio will keep you going all season long. 

Meet the Guest Blogger
Ariel creates bright, bold, colourful and creative home décor and DIYs (and cocktails). She’s worn several hats to date but has settled on the crown that comes with being a colour-wielding Queen and décor blogger, not to mention, businesswoman. Follow Ariel on her crazy journey called life while she figures what colour to paint the walls and where to hang that darn mirror over on her Instagram feed @pmqfortwo!

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