Creating a picture-perfect holiday table setting is akin to an art form. From selecting the color palette and centerpieces to crafting name tags and arranging place settings, assembling a beautiful tablescape for a festive feast can be a meticulous process, potentially even more time-consuming than preparing the actual meal, especially for those who are design enthusiasts.
However, traditional holiday table decor can sometimes feel clichéd and overdone, especially when adhering strictly to conventional aesthetics and color schemes. While a classic festive spread adorned with evergreen accents and red candles will always have its charm, there’s also an allure in embracing the unexpected.
To break away from the predictable, we sought the perspectives of some of our designers who shared their innovative takes on fresh, foraged, and unexpected holiday table looks. Ranging from the warmth and coziness of cottagecore to the chic ambiance of a Parisian brunch, their interpretations offer a variety of creative and fun twists on tradition. Take a look ahead and consider incorporating these unconventional approaches into your holiday season celebrations.
Simple and Earthy
This uncomplicated yet refined holiday tablescape seamlessly aligns with the inviting principles of warm minimalist design. Infused with muted earth tones, natural textures, and subtle touches of unlacquered brass, this versatile aesthetic is suitable for various occasions, whether it’s a laid-back Friendsgiving, a traditional Thanksgiving feast, a leisurely Christmas morning brunch, or a celebratory holiday dinner.
Here, a gingham tablecloth establishes a charming countryside vibe, complemented by jute placemats, an assortment of vintage floral china, and antique wine glasses (extra points if they’ve been passed down from your grandmother). The centerpiece adopts a simple and minimalist approach, featuring a vintage-inspired vase filled with assorted greenery and dark hydrangeas. Wooden candle holders and a platter of cinnamon donuts add the finishing touches because, in this cottagecore holiday setting, baked goods (including sourdough bread) double as delightful edible decor.
To recreate this look in your own space, adhere to a warm neutral palette with rich honeyed tones, wood textures, and earthy accents such as rust and forest green. Embrace organic textures, including linen napkins, jute placemats, seagrass glasses, and wooden elements, for an authentically cozy atmosphere.
Vibrant, artistic, and distinct, this boho-inspired tablescape introduces a playful twist to holiday decor. Departing from the conventional reds and greens, embrace a lively autumnal palette featuring shades of berry, blue, pink, and gold. Extend this vibrant approach to plates and stemware, with colored glassware being a trendy choice. Instead of the usual pumpkins or pine cones, opt for a different seasonal element: burgundy pears. Woven into the centerpiece and place settings, these fruits provide an organic and sculptural accent that is both intriguing and unexpected.
To recreate this look in your dining room, consider replacing traditional tapers with sculptural pillar candles in various hues, sizes, and shapes. Infuse the outdoors inside with fallen leaves and colorful florals that complement the palette, and introduce a warm neutral touch through oatmeal linen napkins.
This modern Parisian tablescape puts a contemporary twist on the classic holiday table decor, striking a balance between sophistication, luxury, and festive flair. It exudes the vibe of a “Christmas morning brunch,” complete with the delightful accompaniment of flowing champagne.
To recreate this chic look at home, embrace a high-contrast color palette of black, white, and gold. While vintage-inspired dinnerware with black and white checks adds a charming touch, you can also incorporate these hues elsewhere, from charger plates to napkins and ribbon rings. Introduce traditional elements with a red and berry bouquet, evergreen garland, and twinkling lights. Vintage brass candle holders contribute to the retro-inspired aesthetic, while fresh fruit, croissants, and macarons pull double duty as both delightful edibles and decorative elements.
We’ve coined this holiday tablescape as “classic with a twist.” Swap out the red for blu, and you’d achieve a perfectly traditional holiday appearance, but the inclusion of the former hue introduces a fresh and unexpected touch that we adore. Overall, the aesthetic seamlessly blends modern and traditional elements: sleek, contemporary dining chairs, a modern dining table, charger plates, and an overall modern color palette, combined with more classic candle holders, china, and table linens.
The standout feature is undoubtedly the chinoiserie china, which sets the tone for the entire look. The blue hue extends into the table linens, taper candles, ribbon napkins, and rings, while evergreen accents ensure a touch of classic holiday charm. With the addition of white hydrangeas, brass accents, and vintage glassware, the overall effect is both trendy and timeless.
This vibrant and joyful tablescape provides a refreshing twist on the classic holiday style. Departing from the usual red and green, we embrace a palette of warm, autumnal shades including pomegranate, persimmon, dusty rose, deep mauve, and soft pink. This versatile look suits a range of occasions, from Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving to Christmas, holiday dinner parties, and even January birthdays.
To bring this festive atmosphere into your space, let the natural elements take center stage: fresh pomegranates serve as both decor and hors d’oeuvres, while lively bouquets bursting with seasonal hues like purple, orange, and pink steal the spotlight. The monochromatic theme gets a break with fresh greenery, wooden charger plates, brass accents, and eye-catching ombre glassware.
Attention all minimalists: this tablescape is tailored just for you. Coined as a “coastal farmhouse,” this aesthetic revolves around tones of white and ivory, incorporating natural textures and subtle hints of seasonal evergreen. The pattern features a timeless stripe, the cutlery boasts a classic brass design, the tapers are a crisp white, and the furniture is crafted from natural wood. While this holiday table decor may lack vibrant colors, it compensates with an abundance of texture—wooden charger plates and serveware, linen napkins, and fresh florals all contribute to its understated charm.
The best part? You can utilize your everyday dinnerware and table linens for this look—the “holiday” touch comes from extra candles, evergreen accents, twinkling lights, and perhaps a stray nutcracker figurine or two. Sprigs of greenery serve as an elegant place setting embellishments, keep the wine flowing, and there you have it! A timeless holiday tablescape that you can revisit year after year.
This holiday tablescape draws inspiration from the great outdoors and chilly evenings spent around the campfire. Give the traditional holiday color scheme a twist with vibrant primary tones, incorporating classic red and green alongside yellow, brown, and black. Instead of a formal tablecloth, use a wool blanket draped over the patio table, adorned with matte black plates, rustic enamel mugs, and tree trunk slices instead of traditional chargers. Complete the look with faux fur, cabin-inspired textiles, and evergreen accents for a fresh, fun ambiance—perfect for those in warmer climates (though the style can be effortlessly brought indoors).
To execute this rustic holiday gathering at your own space, skip the usual centerpiece and opt for an interactive fondue dinner. Baskets filled with dipping bread, fruit, and veggies not only serve as decor but also invite a communal dining experience. Scatter apples and felt acorns along the table for a subtle autumnal touch, and don’t forget to string lights above for a festive atmosphere that extends into the moonlit hours of your holiday feasting.
The holiday tablescape ideas presented cater to diverse tastes, offering options from classic elegance to eclectic boho twists, minimalistic coastal farmhouse, and more. These suggestions, ranging from traditional to unconventional, emphasize the joy of personal expression and creating memorable moments during the festive season.