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Decorating Tips for the Perfect Holiday Table

Updated: Jan 8, 2023

The dining room is one of the top three rooms we style when staging homes in Cincinnati. While it isn't general practice to stage place settings at the dining table when selling your home, we highly recommend it for entertaining guests for special occasions and holidays.

Just like staging a home for sale, setting a well-styled table gives your dining room that extra something to make the evening even more memorable. When you create a theme with your holiday table decor it's a meaningful gesture that makes guests feel special. It doesn't matter if you're entertaining for two, a small intimate group or the whole family, there are infinite ways to pull together a creative tablescape for the holidays.

Whether you're a planner or your timing is tight, what’s great about the five tablescape decorating tips below is that they are easy and practical. You’ll be able to incorporate use them for whatever type of evening you have planned this Thanksgiving and holiday season!

Tablescape decorating tips (that go a long way)

Now, when we say tablescape, we're talking about more than just plopping down your dishes, silverware and throwing in a centerpiece. A tablescape involves the overall look of the table, from the place settings, linens to décor. While the highlight of most gatherings should be the delicious food and great conversations, a well-planned tablescape will make your party an unforgettable evening.

1. Place cards make guests feel extra special

One of the easiest ways to welcome guests is to create name cards. This can be as simple as printing their name in a pretty font on a business card template or going all out and becoming a DIY machine (Pinterest is chalk full of inspiration). Whatever you decide, select a place card design that matches your overall theme.

2. It's all about the layers

Skip the large fancy centerpiece. Many people mistake this as a one-item way to dress up a holiday tablescape, but it can often leave the spread looking unbalanced. A layered table is more engaging and enjoyable to your guests. You can add dimension to your spread with the help of your themed decor items from flowers and greenery, glass bowls, ornaments to candlesticks. Just be sure not to go too crazy with decor. Keep two things in mind when building layers with your table decor. The first, be careful to keep your table decor below seated eye level so your guests can still see across the table. The second, be sure to leave enough enough room around the guests' dinner settings so they can comfortably pick up their dinnerware and drinks.

Planning on serving the food family style? No problem. The same layering rule applies to your dishware. You can dress up your table by placing chargers underneath your dinner plates dishes to dress up the table (P.S. keep reading to our table decorating tip #4 to see why chargers are so important).

3. Lighting is key

Dim the dining room lights and break out a few candles. Including candles in your tablescape isn't just for romantic dinners, but to help set a certain mood. Candlelight casts a soft, warm light throughout the room. It amplifies the importance of the meal and sends a message to guests that it's a special evening.

If you are not able to dim your overhead lights, no worries. Instead, bring in a floor lamp or a table lamp for the same effect.

4. One plate does not fit all

Layering your dinnerware is a great way to add volume to a holiday table setting, especially if you're serving your meal family-style. Think charger, dinner plate, salad plate, and soup bowl.

Why use a charger plate? While they are merely decorative and not to be used for food, they do serve a function. We all know how excited friends and family can get about the food served at holiday meals. Charger plates help to keep your tablecloth clean by catching pieces of food and spills from overflowing dinner plates. Since they are not meant to hold food, chargers have more variety in their material and color options, so you can have some fun this holiday season with your tablescape theme.

5. Use linen napkins

Even if you have to forgo all the other table decorating tips this holiday season be sure to include this last one in your tablescape planning! Linen napkins are a foolproof way to dress up any table. To add instant charm and class to your holiday table consider a fun folded napkin design or a decorative napkin ring.

Tablescape Decor Inspiration for the Holidays

No matter if your evening is an informal get-together or a dressy holiday dinner, the setting should feel both festive and friendly. While we would love to take credit for these outstanding holiday tablescapes below, we've gathered different table settings for you that help set the tone of the evening from preppy to contemporary!

Purple tablescape

If you're tired of traditional holiday table decor then this purple tablescape is a perfect refresher! Mixing purple and orange with gold accents is an expected combination that will wow guests.

Eclectic Tablescape

With its delicate motifs, chinoiserie is best paired with simplified designs like these gold-trimmed plates and a striped tablecloth. No chinoiserie at home? You can usually score pretty vintage plates with decorative motifs at consignment or second-hand shops.

Rosé Tablescape

We love the modern sophistication of this tablescape. The rose and gold decor contrast beautifully against the black. When going for a strong color combo such as this, be sure to include neutral dishware and linens to help balance out table.

Ivory and Teal Tablescape

Velvet and cloth pumpkin decor is all the rage this season and we understand why! While the colors of this pastel palette are soft and whimsical, the overall presentation is pure glam with the gold accents and fancy chandelier.

Traditional Holiday Tablescape

We love this classic look for the holiday season. It's truly timeless. Nothing sets the tone for a holiday party like plaid, pinecones and jingling bells.

Blue Tablescape

Casa de Perrin has endless inspiration when it comes to table decor and dishware. Dare we say blue is the new neutral? You really can't go wrong when using blue as your base or accent color for your tablescape decor.

Home Staging and Decor Styling

If you're looking to sell your home during the holiday season, we stage homes in all conditions of the listing process! The great thing about working with the Nest Home Staging and Design team is that we’ll work with you to find the best solution to your home seller situation. If you’ve already moved into a new home and need to sell your old one we’ll bring in our inventory of furniture to stage the space or if you’re preparing your home for listing we’ll use your existing decor items, but strategically stage them for a greater impact.

Either way, reach out to us today to see how we can help decrease the amount of time your home is on the market this winter!

Thanks for reading! We love sharing our staging and decor styling tips with you!

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