You’ve invited your guests. You’ve planned the menu. You’ve paired the wine. Now it’s time to set the stage. Tablescaping for a dinner party is my favorite part of the preparation and one that can be done days in advance. I want my guests to feel treated to an extraordinary evening but be comfortable enough to let the conversation flow freely. For that to happen, an artfully-planned table is essential. It’s easy to see how we transformed a basic rectangular table into a versatile stage for a rustic holiday feast.
A weathered metal table found at Kim Hoegger Home goes from utilitarian to bountiful with the layering of a table runner and placemats from Cake Kitchen Papers. My favorite thing: no laundering. The butcher paper runner comes on a fifty-foot roll. Just cut to size and recycle when done. The placemats are made of 100 percent recycled paper, too, and come 50 to a package.
Rustic tableware from Kim Hoegger Home sets the mood while Mud Pie’s oak leaf-adorned serving spoons lend seasonal charm.
Mismatched antique plates found online at Replacements Ltd. add authenticity to the nostalgic theme. This pattern, The Friendly Village Christmas by Johnson Brothers, was first introduced in 1952.
Heirloom-quality sleigh bell place card holders from Magical Bells will charm guests at holiday dinners. Consider using them to label dish names if serving buffet style.
Lemony green napkins brighten up an otherwise neutral color palette while the stag napkin holders look as though they were inspired by an elegant hunting lodge. Both are from Mud Pie.
When designing your tablescape—no matter your theme—the key is to layer, layer, layer. Here we started with our base of table runner, placemats and whimsical pine trees. Then chargers, plates and glasses were added. Next came napkins accents and serving pieces. All you need to complete the scene are guests and your favorite holiday fare.
Shop the Shoot:
- Table runner and placemats: CakeVintage.com
- Napkins, napkin holders, acorn plates and serving pieces: Mud-Pie.com
- Antique plates: Replacements.com
- Place card holders: MagicalBells.com
- Amber glassware, pine trees, table, chairs and holiday accents: Kim Hoegger Home
I styled, wrote and photographed this story for the December 2011 edition of Living Magazine with set assistance from Elysse Carpenter.