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Publication Date: 2015-11-30

Design Insights

11 Designer Tips for the Perfect Holiday Table Setting

When preparing for holiday entertaining, be sure to leave time for planning the design and decor of your table. This is where guests will spend most of their time, and you'll want to strike the right tone and feeling, whether you're hosting a formal affair or a casual family get together. From preferred color palettes to centerpiece placement, 11 top designers gave us their advice for setting the perfect table.


1. "I love a black and gold palette for the holidays. The simplicity is always elegant and refined, particularly when paired with exquisite sterling silver." - Beth Webb, Beth Webb Interiors

2. "A centerpiece doesn’t have to be in the center, and it doesn’t have to be singular. I like to think more in terms of table décor. Keep things low so guests can see one another, but always have something lovely to look at wherever their eyes might fall." - Tammy Wood, Interior Archaeology

3. “I love using a fresh garland in a deep green and accenting it with metallics, like pine cones in gold. This warm and neutral palette transitions your table easily from Thanksgiving through the New Year." - Laura Umansky, Laura U, Inc


4. "Keep table settings subdued to allow the guests’ excitement to bring the sparkle to the table. Soft grays, browns, and touches of metallic elements create an elegant tablescape that will complement the already energetic atmosphere." - Annette English, Annette English & Associates. Read more of Annette English's holiday decorating tips in the November / December issue of Traditional Home.

5. "Forgo the expected reds and greens in your holiday table setting. Instead mix in subtle jewel tones and burnished golds to add texture and give a quieter nod to luxury." - George Brazil, SagreraBrazil Design

6. "The holidays are the perfect time to add the glimmer of gold to a table setting. Layer pattern-rich dinnerware over gleaming chargers and repeat the gold theme in stemware, flatware, and even twist golden wire into a floral centerpiece for a glamorous and festive table." - Lydia Marks and Lisa Franks, Marks & Frantz

7. "Create a striking focal point by choosing an unexpected serving piece and filling it with leaves, florals, vegetables, fruits or seasonal ornaments. Vary textures and sizes, but curate your color choices to set the mood." - Kathryn Scott, Kathryn Scott Design Studio

8. "Glimmering silver, artful china, sparkling crystal—the holiday season is the time to be festive! But put your best foot forward with a beautifully polished table and impeccably pressed linens. Your guests will appreciate the effort." - Gil Walsh, Gil Walsh Interiors

9. "I like to mix high and low when creating a tablescape, juxtaposing my grandmother’s silver pieces and Irish linens with rattan chargers and pottery." - Catherine Austin, Catherine M. Austin Design

10. "Remember, less is more. Don’t overaccessorize and clutter the table for the holidays. A few candles at different heights on the table will give dimension and create a warm glow." - Myranda Snapp, Hartman Baldwin Design Build

11. "Think outside the box and try a holiday dining setting all in white. It’s been named as color of the year for 2016, so get ahead of the trend." - Mark Cutler, Mark Cutler Design


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