Wednesday, November 21, 2012 9:56 AM EST
Rustic dinner table via Dusk Jacket Attic
Does your holiday table look the same year after year? Do you find yourself wondering what you can do to make your formal dinnerware service look different and inspiring? I certainly do. Like many people I received a beautiful set of formal dishes for my wedding. I trot these plates out on special occasions and revel in their beauty. The trouble is my table setting often ends up looking the same for each event. This year I’m determined to shake things up a bit.
Whether I’m designing a room, mantelpiece or table setting, I like to mix contrasting elements. The juxtaposition of something smooth and hard like marble against something nubbly and rough like linen makes those two materials that much more exciting. It’s common when decorating your table for the holidays to go all out formal with pressed tablecloths, polished silver, glimmering plates and cut glassware. Try for a change this year and mix those elements up to add a little rustic charm.
For my holiday table this year, I’m going to leave my table bare and dress it down the centre with loose Christmas ornaments, votive candles and perhaps a garland or two. (Garlands don’t only have to be used on trees!) Next, I will layer vintage placemats at each setting and top it with my fine white china. To mix it up, I will use a mish-mash of assorted vintage cutlery. I pick these pieces up at flea markets, garage sales and even Value Village. I tend to look for heavy, chunky pieces of cutlery with a good coating of patina. Over top of my white plates I will drape a monogrammed linen napkin, maybe dressed up with a seating card or pretty paper star. I’ve collected an assortment of white napkins over the years that all carry my monogram, so while each is slightly different they are all united by a common colour scheme and letter. Instead of one large central arrangement, I’ll fill small vases with winter red berries and branches down the length of the table so everyone can easily see their dinner guests across the way. Finally I’ll choose a loose colour scheme like the sapphire blue and ruby red seen above. As long as I keep everything in this palette it will all look pulled together no matter what I throw into the mix. With a bit of luck my holiday table will look comfortable, relaxed and different from years past.