Dining in Style

Adele Shotton-Pugh | Updated

Equally as important as the living room, our dining rooms deserve special attention over the Christmas period. After all, one of the most important parts of Christmas day is the staging of that huge dinner that the majority of us can't move afterwards! If you want to dine in style this Christmas and wow your guests with an impressive table arrangement, then again concentrate on style - your style - and the end result will definitely look like you know what you're about with your interiors and your table dressing.

For example, don't go all out on red and green tartan because you think it's traditionally Christmas-y, if your dining-room is duck-egg and beige with a very retro-modern feel. Similarly, if you have a cosy traditional dining room in warm reds and gold, then the silver and black combo just won't cut it. Be sympathetic to the style of your room and its decor and take your lead from that. When you dress the table consider practicality as well as aesthetics.

Don't overcrowd the table with so many trimmings and accessories that you don't leave yourself enough 'working' space for dinner and the relevant crockery and cutlery that you'll need. Sometimes less is more.  

< Candles and fairy lights add festive glow and sparkle to this neutral colour scheme and complement the decor perfectly. The Christmas decorations add ambience to the decor rather than detracting from it.


Simple Festive Elegance - Here’s a fabulous example of how simple but stylish a colour co-ordinated Christmas dining room can be. Simple creams and whites accessorized with a few gold touches and you’ve got a Chrsitmas-y look that wouldn’t look out of place all year round; and adopting this kind of base theme means you can glam up or down with the Christmas dec’s and lights as much or as little as you like to suit your own taste or budget.
Centre Piece - A center-piece is essential, but again think practically. Candles create a lovely ambient effect for any dining occasion but tall ones can hinder eye contact with other diners and naked flames are not ideal if you are passing things over the table. Think about using low level tea-lights or candles enclosed in lanterns or hurricane lamps. Coloured glass is always effective.
If you can cleverly and safely disguise a cable, fairy lights look great entwined amongst a center-piece, although battery operation sets are now available. If you have a glass topped table be ingenious and find a way of suspending the lights beneath the glass. In this instance, instead of using a tablecloth, use a sheer voile or organza over the top of the glass with co-ordinating placemats to protect against scratches, for a really stunning and clever effect.
Crisp table linen is a must (except on your glass table if you're using lights underneath of course). Press your cloth and napkins before you use them so that you can't see the creases where they've been folded, for a really professional finish. Table runners are a great way to add colour and texture. Most people us a single one down the length of the table, but try using two or three across the table in parallel lines for an extra stylish look. Co-ordinate with matching napkins in your wine glasses and protect your table linen with coasters and placemats - colour co-ordinated of course.
You can make your own table linen from cotton or damask weight fabrics, but make sure they are washable and pre-wash the fabric before hemming to finished size to avoid shrinkage afterwards; or  you could take a look at our great range of quality table cloths, runners and napkins further down this page, to help you get the stylish look you want for your dining table this year.  
The Personal Touch - Add the personal touch. Personalised place settings or napkin holders show a lot of thought and consideration has gone in to the dressing of your table and home-made ones add an even more personal touch. You don't have to be ultra creative or arty, keep it simple for best effect. Something like a pine-cone spray painted in silver or gold (or an unusual colour to match your colour scheme with a little 'touch' of glittery bling to add that magical sparkle) with a hand written name tag is sufficient. The tag can also be used for a greeting, a motto, a joke or the name of a film or book for table charades - always a good ice-breaker at dinner. You'll find lots of how to blogs online for all sorts of craft related projects like this. 
Chair Wraps - Chair wraps can soften the look too and provide a far more sumptuous, comfortable inviting feel. These can be as simple as a length of voile, organza or soft velvet chenille wrapped around the back of the chair, then tied and allowed to fall naturally into a soft tail or bow. 

Festive Red Table Linen

Traditional Red  Red and gold is always a sure fire winner for the Christmas table. Rich, warm red contrasted against bright shiny golds, or duller, more antique guilt shades is a match made in heaven and hard to get wrong.


Modern Blacks Black and white is a classic combination at any time of year, so don’t overlook or dismiss it at Christmas. The addition of silver to black and white and a subtle touch of glitter to provide Christmas sparkle, can create a stunning and often very modernistic style. So, if your home is modern with lots of black and white, then carry the theme through on to your Christmas dining table. The end result will be both impressive and dramatic.

Traditional Gold and Cream Festive Gold Table Linen

Opulence is always a key look for Christmas interiors and what colour could we possibly associate more with opulence than gold. Historically the colour of the rich and wealthy, gold glisters, glitters and warms any colour scheme. Stick to golds and creams or experiment by mixing with other metallics such as silver, bronze or pewter.


Festive Greens Green makes a great neutral base to add white, red or gold to. Traditionally associated with sprigs of spruce, pine and holly, at this time of year, it works well with berry reds, warm browns and snow whites, to bring a fresh touch of the outdoors in.

Christmas Themed Table LinenIf you're a traditionalist at heart or have a neutral and forgiving colour scheme in your dining room then our Christmas range of table linen might be right up your street. but if you're not a red and green fan then there are some lovely white and cream based festive linens in our new range too!

Christmas Table RunnersTable runners, as we have mentioned, are a great way to add colour, texture and interest to your 'tablescape'. Most people us a single one down the length of the table, but try using two or three across the table in parallel lines for an extra stylish look. Co-ordinate with matching napkins in your wine glasses and protect your table linen with coasters and placemats - colour co-ordinated of course.


Christmas Themed Cushions If you want your guests to linger at the table and not to get up and leave as soon as they've eaten, then consider how comfortable your seating is. If you have hard chairs then consider some colour co-ordinated scatter cushions for added style and comfort. Cushions can also create cosy, themed, comfort for a Christmas living room that your guests can sink in to when they have retired from the table, full of their Christmas fare. The Stag one is a personal favorite!

Dining in Style Inspiration 

If that's inspired you to do something sensational with your Christmas tablescape this year then here's a little more  inspiration for you. Have a browse through the collection of images I've put together below to find your style - modern, traditional, unusual, colourful, monotone, etc., etc., there's something for everyone.......... .......and I hope you have a deliciously designed dinner this year!    
Rustic finishes, natural wood and fresh greenery go perfectly together for a kind of rough-luxe style, for those who are lovers of the great outdoors and prefer a more natural approach to Christmas decor.
And here are two more lovely examples of relaxed, rustic tablescapes that are both sympathetic to the feel of the interior decor. In both images their is a festive nod without over the top glitz and glamour or stereotypical Christmas trimmings.
A fragrant approach to your dining ensemble is a wonderful way to empathize with the festive season and to create a wonderfully welcoming aroma for your guests that will not only  invite them to come in but to stay and relax too. Citrus arrangements punctuated with clove and cinnamon spices, naturally fragrant springs of pine or eucolyptus branches or pots of fragarant herbs and fruits are all elements that can combine to create a fabulous fusion of seasonally evocative aromas........and they look great too!
A passion for purple!?? Purple has become a popular colour for Christmas decor in recent years and as the three completely different images above show, can be an extremely versatile and accommodating colour for Christmas decor; from modern and simplistic to opulent and glamorous!
However, if glam glitz, sparkle and pzazz are your thing then look at this lovely example of a crystal and glass bedecked dining table. OK, this might be on too grand a scale for most people's dining tables but take inspiration from the concept as an idea. Glass & crystal not only provide a touch of class and glamour, but are colour neutral too. Basically meaning that you can add it to any colour scheme with little effort but more importantly, great success! There is nothing excessively Christmas-y in this ensemble either, so you could make it more Christmas-y with the addition of crackers, name settings or baubles for example; or just use it as inspiration for a glamorous table setting that could be put together to impress your dinner guest at any time of the year!
Festive Kitchen And Dining Room With Silver Decorations

 

Light & Bright! In a similar way to the crystal ensemble, the two table settings above make use of reflective surfaces and an optimal light source. Both look fresh and bright without looking cold or uninviting and can again be glammed-up or down with any number of accent colours or Christmas accessories.


Play with grey! It's probably one of the last colours to spring to mind when you're talking about the Christmas dining table or Christmas decor, but grey makes a perfect backdrop for festive decor. You can keeps things cool and coordinated with silver and white and a touch of fresh greenery to give it a little zing, or you can warm things up a little with a sprinkle of striking Christmas red. Red complements dark, medium and light greys perfectly, so if your decor is predominantly grey based then consider adding a pop of seasonal colour in this way. Turquoise, deep teal, black, purple or metallic gold tones would make great festive accessory colours against grey too.
The classic Red &/or Green Christmas combo! Probably two of the most popular colours, often used in combination, of the Christmas season without a doubt; but still not necessarily everybody's cup of tea (or cocoa) as some feel it is a little too twee and Santa's grotto like. And I would agree that done badly (usually in excess with in your face Christmas overkill) it can be a little sugary and sickly. But done with care and balanced with the right amount of accent or base colours such as cream, silver and gold, can be opulent, elegant and inviting. Deeper reds with give more of an inviting and mature feel to a dining table than bright reds so keep them toned down to darker shades of the spectrum and add living or natural greenery where possible, to balance the combination.
Fly solo with green! Without it's bright and cheerful red counterpart green can still look stunningly effective. Teamed with fresh, crisp, white table linen and accessorized with silver and glass, green can look especially effective. Setting green against black will give it a bit of an opulent edge. You can experiment and achieve any number of looks with green from modern and contemporary to glamorous & opulent, or even vintage.
Time for Tartan! Tartan plaids have been trending and gaining popularity in interior decor for a few seasons now, but Christmas is definitely one time of year when it doesn't look out of place and definitely deserves an outing. Whether it's a simple satin bow accessory or an authentic woolen rug improvised into an interesting table cloth, tartan is stylishly versatile when it comes to Christmas.
And if tartan isn't quite what you want for your 'clan' then maybe a more simplistic gingham check will tick your list for dining table decor. Extremely affordable and easy to accessorize with, gingham is equally as effective as a Christmas dining accessory as it is as summer one, so investing in a bit of gingham garnish could make your purchase a frugal one as well.
White Christmas! We may dream of one, but the inclement and unpredictable British weather can never quite guarantee us that extra special touch for Christmas day, so why not create your own white Christmas - indoors??? Hard to get wrong and undeniably elegant and stylish, white, white, white is right, right, right for any style of home or size of dining party. Personalize the look with little touches of neutral tones, gold, silver or a touch of greenery, but keep it predominantly white, light and bright.
Classic Black and White. Just as elegant, stylish and effective as all white and just as hard to get wrong, but black adds drama too against white for a stunning Christmas tablescape. Keep it pure and simple with just black, white and greys or add a touch of gold or red for some finer detail.

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