Set the scene for your big day feast with our pretty yet practical ideas to wow your guests and create a truly festive atmosphere…
Extend your styling around the dining table by draping lightweight decorations from the ceiling. Not only will this create a beautiful focal point but it saves the need for tall table displays which can block guests’ views across the table. Greenwich padded chair, £499; Stella four-light chandelier, £129; metal banded medium lantern, £15; Nouveau dinner plate, £8, all Marks & Spencer
Before the table decorating can begin, plan out exactly how many seats you’ll need and how much space is required in the centre for serving up the food. You may already have an extendable table, in which case get this set up as soon as possible so you can see how much room you’re working with.
Make sure you have enough seats for the family or schedule in a quick trip to IKEA to pick up a few foldable chairs if necessary.
"Why not stack vegetables onto a cake stand to reduce the amount of table space needed?"
When it comes to serving up the food, space on the table can often be limited thanks to crackers, glassware and decorations all taking over.
If you have a sideboard or dedicated drinks trolley nearby, consider using this as a drinks station to house wine bottles and water jugs during the meal to save space. Condense vegetables down into one large dish to serve up, or why not stack them onto a cake stand to reduce the amount of table space needed.
Go for a sophisticated scheme and pair metallic gold with deep indigo blue for an on-trend look. Use a charger plate as a base for each place setting and gift the guests with an individual bauble as a favour to take home. 5A Fifth Avenue gold ombre champagne flutes, £17 for four; 5A Fifth Avenue Bergen gold soup bowl, £8, and matching dinner plate, £8; star decoration, £3, all Dunelm
Once the practicalities have been decided, it’s time to think about how you want to dress and style your festive table.
Start by choosing a colour scheme as a base; traditional options are red and green or silver and white, but why not go for something a little more daring this year such as black and gold, copper and blush pink, or even peacock teal and deep purple?
"An on-trend Scandi look can be achieved by using white and grey and then mixing in fresh greenery"
An on-trend Scandi look can be achieved by using white and grey and then mixing in fresh greenery for a muted feel if you’re after something a little more understated.
Once you’re set on your theme, set about buying the basics in a suitable colourway; a tablecloth or runner is the biggest piece on your table so coordinate this with napkins and crackers to pull the look together.
Make it personal
Channel a Nordic vibe with your table dressing this year and keep colours neutral with plenty of natural greenery. Hints of red will add a festive twist and linen napkins will complete the look. Gray & Willow stone dinnerware, from £8; star decoration, £8; red berry and pinecone garland, £32; red mercury bauble, £28 for 14, all House of Fraser
Give your Christmas table the wow-factor by adding finishing touches to really make the event feel like a special occasion. If you have a large family, place cards are a lovely way to welcome each guest to the table and help them find their seat.
You can buy pre-made cards and simply write a name on each, or have a go at making your own if you’re feeling creative.
"If you have a large family, place cards are a lovely way to welcome each guest to the table and help them find their seat"
Try using a calligraphy pen to personalise individual baubles for a quick idea, or spray-paint plastic woodland animals such as stags and owls in metallic gold to leave on each place setting.
Handmade crackers are simple to make and you can buy kits to guide you through the process; fill each one with a thoughtful gift for the recipient and you can even add your own bespoke jokes, too.
Style as a showstopper
Complete your table top styling by introducing candlelight. Tall dinner candles are perfect for adding height to a display and the candelabra can be used as a stylish centrepiece on the table. Metallic silver ombre wax LED taper candles, £8.99 for two; glistening white battery powered LED tealights, £4.99 for six, both Lights4Fun
As we touched on earlier, when it comes to the centrepiece of your Christmas table, remember to leave plenty of room for the food to be served so the display doesn’t become overcrowded.
Fresh flowers will instantly brighten up your table and can be arranged in tall, skinny vases to save space without compromising on the overall look. Foliage such as eucalyptus is cheap to buy at this time of year so try weaving a narrow garland to lay along the length of the table or hang from the ceiling to draw guests attention upwards.
Light your table with tall dinner candles rather than bulky pillars so they can be raised off the surface to leave more space for serveware, and why not extend your decorating to the chairs by hanging a cluster of baubles from the back of each with a pretty ribbon for a final flourish?
Feature image: Create a winter wonderland setting for Christmas dinner by including festive sparkle in your decoration choices. A sequinned placemat and glittering table runner have been styled up here with flicking tealights and simple sprigs of greenery. Peacock bauble, £6; Waterford candle holder, £50 for two; beaded placemat, £16; willow plate, £15, all John Lewis