9 simple tips on holiday table decor to create a wonderful event

Our family loves the holiday season.  It’s a time to decorate the house with warm, inviting smells, colors, and decorations.  Our focal point, aside from our holiday tree, is the dining room table.  Decorating for the table is really a big deal because each year we want it to look just a bit different from the previous years.  The challenge is to create a beautiful holiday table décor that is still comfortable and inviting for guest conversation.  We have shared 9 tips on holiday table décor to help you create a wonderful dinner event.

Tip #1:  Mix up your holiday table decor color palette to create more interest

Complementary colors oppose each other giving a beautiful color contrasting table.  Try using one color as the primary color with a splash of the complementary color.  The napkins, runner, or table trinkets can make for the accent complementary color to create more interest.

Tips for Table Decor

monochrome table decor

A monochromatic color scheme uses a single color with varying shades and tints to produce a consistent look and feel. Though it lacks color contrast, it often gives the table a clean and polished look.  If you are going for a romantic look, the monochromatic color scheme works well.

Adding just a pop of color to a monochromatic color scheme draws the eye to that object.

Another option is to use three different colors that offer a high contrasting color scheme while retaining the same tone. Triadic color schemes are created by choosing three colors that are equally placed in lines around the color wheel.  A triadic color scheme can be easily pulled off when laying a place setting. You can also use muted colors to give a more sophisticated look

triadic color scheme for a colorful table setting


muted color wheel






Tip #2:  Keep the design holiday table decors at a height that doesn’t obstruct conversations

Large candle votives are beautiful for the season but make it difficult to see the folks around the table.  Try using an open lantern.  You can add decorative items like dried holy, dried flowers, pine cones, [and] or candles.

Open lantern table centerpiece








Tip #3:  Build table decor from a theme

Design your tablescape based on a theme.  Designing around a central theme can make it easier to build a design around.  Examples of themes might be a holiday, a season, or a specific celebratory occasion like a promotion, romantic celebration, birthday, etc.

Or you can target your design around the attendees.  An example is your garden club member’s annual dinner.  A garden club member dinner theme could focus on a fruit or vegetable like the watermelon-themed tablescape below.

Watermelon themed tablescape decor

A friend of mine loves to set a theme for her dinner parties in which her attendees are invited to dress for the dinner theme.  Her dinner parties are always a big hit and insightful conversations are had while guests exchange various life experiences pertaining to the theme.  Her past tablescape themes have included; Casino night, Gangster night, Night out in NYC, Hollywood, Broadway plays, and African safari.

When you have a basic theme it’s easy to design your tablescape with style.  A table design with a common theme can pull together the placemats from the centerpiece to the napkins and have an amazing end result.

4th of July Holiday table setting

Beach theme table setting








Tip #4:  Layer the table settings

Laying the table setting adds eye appeal and interest.  Start with a central piece and build upon that piece.  This might include a pink velvet pumpkin that you start with and build around that as you add layers to the central piece.  A decorative birdhouse cage, a unique decorative vase, or varying-sized plants can produce an impressive statement.

Pink Pumpkin Table Decordecorative table centerpieces











Layering place settings present a joyful appeal. Add platters, plates, napkins, napkin holders, and maybe a playfully themed embellishment or natural element to top it off.  Embellishment Ideas: peppermint stick, a coneflower, a wheat sprig, a rosemary sprig, cinnamon sticks, pumpkins, a fern or lavender sprig.

Think about texture when doing a design. Different materials add contrast and eye appeal.  Here is a beautifully layered table setting designed by Tammy, owner of the Pineapple Porch Home Boutique in Oak Ridge, NC utilizing different textures and materials.  See more table designs from the Pineapple Porch Home Boutique or purchase these at one of their three locations

Layering table decor tips      Table tips using natural elements

The design works by laying various sized plates with a decorative napkin placed between the various plates topped with textured greenery and a clean ceramic pear.

Tips on table decor monochrome design

The table setting with the natural wood platter is layered with clean white plates and a bowl that holds a sprig of ferns.  The deep orange-colored pumpkin makes for a pretty complementary embellishment that adds color value.  

Napkin holders can also add contrast and layers.  Napkin holders come in all varieties of materials, metals, textures, and designs.  Don’t hold back with your plate-set design.  This simple silk flower added to the metal napkin holder warms the setting and softens the feel. 


Tip #5:  Add soft candlelight to your holiday table decor


This simple tip on holiday table decor really creates a wonderful feeling especially when it’s elegantly done.  Adding candles or lighting to a table sets the ambiance.  Lighting in the way of candlelight softens and warms a table and is very inviting to guests.

Candles have been a staple in table design.  It’s no wonder candles are popular in table décor.  Candles add several sensory benefits including a visually romantic atmosphere, aromatic, and warm feeling.  Try mixing pillar candles with a non-toxic wood wick coconut and soy wax candle.  Your guests will appreciate the clean-burning wax that puts out a natural aroma.  Pure Soaps And Candles offers beautiful naturally scented aromas.  

Pure Soaps And Candles fall-scented wood wick lotion candle collection is currently available. And they offer a wide variety of different aromas that can fit any unique table theme you create.  

Using decorative lighting along with the table runner or as a table runner makes an interesting visual grab.  Intertwine lighting with a floral arrangement, dried herbs, flowers, or sprinkled with décor table items such as stuffed pumpkins makes for an elegant and pretty centerpiece.

Table decor with table light runners

Tip #6 Mix up your setting with varying textures and materials

There are so many different types of setting materials to choose from.  Picking a theme first helps drive the type of setting textures you will want to add.  Consider mixing textiles with plants or natural objects such as stone, wood, metal, or shells.  Choose wood as a plate platter or centerpiece base.

Blue Velvet Pumpkin table decorDecorating table ideas

Mixing up your textiles to combine thicker or flat materials with looser silkier clothes adds interest. Velvet is a wonderful, soft, and rich-looking material.  Make a modern showing by adding pops of velvet to your table decor. 

Other interesting textures include wood and plant foliage such as evergreens or pine cones.  Below shows table decor using natural materials includes a wood piece centerpiece layered with leaves, a tin vase with pumpkins, and squash.

Table Decor using natural materials

Stone and wood table decor










Tip #7 Add a personal touch to each setting

When you add a personal individual décor to each guest setting it makes people feel special.  Guests love little gifts.  Table decoration gifts might include a chair decoration the guest can take home, a part of the centerpiece, or an embellishment on the plate setting.

Decorative dinner plate ideas

Table setting tips

The dinner invite’s name is always a welcome sight. A photo of a past gathering to give each guest is a wonderful way to start a reminiscing conversation.

Adding a customized glass or little gift warms the heart and makes everyone feel at ease and comfortable.

Dinner table gift ideas include a bible inspiration inscription, a specialty chocolate bar, a welcome card, or holiday decoration.  A wonderful boutique for cute holiday decor is the gift shop at the Ciener Woods Botanical Garden in Kernersville.  You can shop for all sorts of decorative figurines and trinkets for the table plates.

I was attending an intimate dinner party at a friends’ home for the holidays. 

I remember she had a special Christmas ornament made up for each person with the date. It was a special touch to remember the dinner party.  I had a summer garden dinner and made up a special floral boutique for each plate with a handwritten name signature.  Here are some more ideas: stuff an origami bag with your guests’ favorite candy, mini liquors for after dinner, min box chocolate.  Even making a simple name tag creates a nice welcome.

Tip #8 Add a natural element

Natural elements add texture, color, and interest.  Flowers and plants are obvious natural elements used in table décor for centuries.  Creative natural elements might include vegetables, leaves, a twig, a flower stem, or herbs such as rosemary.  The table above is using natural wood platters with decorative moss statues and cranberry garland lining the center.  Added to the cotton napkins are cute candy canes with natural twine around the silverware.  

Decorative Table Decor ideas











Table decor tip

Decorative Table Tips

Tip #9 Know your attendees and design to entertain them

There will be a big difference when creating a tablescape depending on the audience or your attendees.  A book club group might enjoy a whimsical-themed tablescape based on a book of choice, while your husband’s birthday dinner party theme might be a more jovial theme.

There are several fun casual table designs you might try using Kraft paper as a table lining.  Kraft paper makes for a great design palette to decorate your table for your guests.  Or to have your guests engage in the theme by having them write on the paper at the dinner party.   Both themes mentioned above could utilize a Kraft paper table lining.  A host might encourage the book club members to write down Q&A from the chosen book on the Kraft paper.  A birthday party theme might use the Kraft paper to have the guests write special sentiments around the Kraft paper table liner about the guest of honor before the dinner begins.

We hope you have enjoyed these 9-simple-tips-on-holiday-table-decor tips. No matter how you decorate your table the most important part of your tablescape design is what comes from it.  Your table will inspire wonderful stories, memories, and experiences that will be created around your beautiful design.  It’s not so much about your tablescape being the center of the conversation as much as your tablescape being what draws out interesting and fun conversations.