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Winter Table Decor Ideas: 25 Expert Tips & Inspirations

Few household tasks are more fun than taking your Christmas decorations out of storage and transforming your home into your winter wonderland. Every year, there are the traditional holiday decorations to tackle — like trimming your Christmas tree and littering your front lawn with a slew of festive outdoor Christmas decorations — but there are also other areas of your home you’ve probably forgotten to decorate. Take, for example, your dinner table.

Photo Credit: Olly and Em

Even if you’re not hosting a big Christmas dinner party, you can still go all-out with Christmas table decorations. We’ve got plenty of ideas to help transform your kitchen or dining room table into a holiday masterpiece.

If you’re continually looking for more ways to bring the joy and festivities of the holiday season into your home, decorating your table is a great way to make the most of every available space. From DIY decorations you can make with the kids or on your own to beautiful centerpieces you can put together without breaking the bank, there are tons of Christmas tablescapes you can create.

What is a Tablescape?

Most times, setting the table occurs simply out of need: after all, you and your family require dishes and cutlery to consume your food. But sometimes, perhaps before a holiday feast or a special occasion, you wish to amp up the appearance of your dinner table setting.

Photo Credit: Town and Country Living – a chic winter tablescape with white runners, a dried eucalyptus runner, deer figurines, pillar candles

You want to move beyond the requisite plates, glasses, and silverware. By dressing it up and adding decorations to your table, you work to make it appear unique, festive and welcoming to your friends and family. This “act of creatively and intentionally arranging a tabletop so that it conveys a specific theme, mood, or experience” is called tablescaping, and it is a substantial component of any holiday decorating.

Why Create a Tablescape?

A tablescape is meant to elevate an entertaining experience. It’s a way to show your guests that you care about them and that the meal is special. This doesn’t have to be something that you spend a ton of money on or even any money at all. Some of the prettiest tablescapes we’ve ever seen are put together with everyday items from around the house.

Photo Credit: Neptune – a chic dark tone winter tablescape with dark candles, greenery, berries, grey napkins and white porcelain

Keys to a Successful Tablescape:

A successful tablescape can evoke many feelings in your guests, including a warm sense of welcome, feelings of excitement and anticipation, as well as happy memories of previous celebrations. So how do you achieve this?

  • Take a look at what is trending. Equal to clothing and interior design, tablescaping is sensitive to what is currently in fashion.
  • Always remember not only what the holiday or celebration is, but who your guests are. For example, if your guests are environmentally friendly, incorporate natural elements into your tablescape.
  • Your tablescape must always remain functional. Although the tabletop needs to be aesthetically pleasing, your guests need to be able to sit down and eat at it as well.
  • Items on the tabletop should not impede your guests’ views of one another. Keep in mind that one of the goals of your tablescape is to enhance the occasion and encourage conversation among your guests. Therefore, the decorations should be above or below your guests’ eye level. A tip is to sit at the table to gauge the guests’ sight line.
  • The entire tabletop should incorporate a series of smaller groupings. These vignettes should work as smaller parts of the whole. In other words, every embellishment should make sense within the overall design.

Components of a Successful Tablescape:

A goal of any tablescape is to wow. So what components can you include that will impress?

  • Include a creative use of scale, color, and texture with varied heights and repeated patterns and shapes. Remember that your design should incorporate balance and harmony among the shapes, colors, and textures of every item chosen.
  • Use a design that emphasizes height and volume, such as a tablescape canopy. This might include greenery and flowers placed upon tall pedestals. This creates an initial stunning, colorful impression of floating foliage while remaining above your guests’ eye line when seated.
  • Mood and atmosphere can be created with carefully chosen dishes and glassware. Different patterns and colors can be mixed and matched to create an eye-catching design with well-placed pops of color. These colorful table settings can add a vibrant element to your tablescape while emphasizing a specific mood.
    • A tip is to always include dishes and glassware with at least one color found throughout the rest of the tablescape to tie it all together.

Natural Décor

Natural touches are a must to give a modern and stylish feel to your winter table. It can be an evergreen table runner with pinecones, some ferns for each place setting, branches with pinecones, some white blooms, pinecones as card holders, pomegranates, privet berries, and many other things.

Photo Credit: Hometalk – a cozy rustic winter table setting with plaid napkins, woven placemats, evergreens, candles and antlers, and jars with candles

You can make incredible table runners, centerpieces, place setting décor, and so on – turn on your imagination to incorporate natural elements into your table setting in the sleekest and most harmonious way possible.

Photo Credit: The House of Smiths
Photo Credit: Style Slate

Colors And Prints

Choose a color scheme for your winter table; there are tons of ideas to try: white and silver, burgundy, red and white, gold and white, white and copper, and even monochromatic black and white with touches of greenery.

Photo Credit: Decorated Life – A bright winter table with a red plaid runner, napkins, birch branches, faux Christmas trees and an evergreen runner

Bring prints to make the tablescape more fabulous – stripes and plaids are the best ideas for winter. Add metallic touches to make your tablescape sparkle: metallic ornaments, glasses, chargers, bells, and elegant metal cutlery.

Photo Credit: Simonton – a cozy winter table with a plaid runner, wood slice placemats, large pinecones, green glasses and lots of candles

Other Décor

Incorporate Christmas ornaments, tall and thin candles or pillar candles, lights, nuts, acorns, snowflakes, and other stuff. Make incredible centerpieces and table runners that scream holidays for you. Just get inspired by what you see here. Create a tablescape that will add a cozy and homey feel to your table, making it the best one for a winter party.

Photo Credit: Kelly Elko – a homey winter table with a burlap runner and placemats, plaid napkins, mini Christmas trees, candles, plaid napkins
Photo Credit: Wedd Quotes – a chic winter table setting with an evergreen, lights and pinecones runner plus wooden stars and ornaments, pillar candles and pinecones in bowls

Tips for Creating a Beautiful Winter Tablescape

Consider the Mood

First, consider the mood – are you hosting a significant family event or a more intimate night with friends? Once you have established the atmosphere, focus on decor, starting of course, with the flowers. Then move on to food, table linens, coordinating cutlery, and glassware. Defining the mood before planning your festive display will help you to create a table that reflects your guests.

Photo Credit: Homey oh My – a neutral and simple winter tablescape with mini greenery wreaths for decor, candles in vases with greenery and mini tealights

Since it’s an indoor tablescape situation, before moving anything around, consider the space, the light, and how many chairs you can fit in to create more of an intimate space.

Photo Credit: Lowes

Choose a Seasonal Color Palette

Early winter tablescapes that transition spaces from autumn to the new year frequently rely on shades of red as décor moves from fall leaves to cranberries. But after the holidays, shift your focus to glittering design where lush white and silver take center stage, and a bold accent color adds punch.

Photo Credit: thelightshesees via Instagram – a glam winter tablescape with gold placemats, an evergreen, white bloom and snowy pinecone runner, candles and gold cutlery

Use items that reflect the light—candles, silver, glass—to bring more cheer to the darker days that winter brings. Unexpected—but inspired—winter accent colors include deep berry shades, vivid primaries and brights, subtle orange and gray, and gem-inspired emerald, sapphire, and onyx.

Photo Credit: Camille Styles – a Scandinavian winter tablescape with pinecones, evergreens, thin and tall candles and black candleholders

Candles, Candles and More Candles

Whether you’re planning your tablescape for a scheduled dinner or trying to come up with something at the last minute, reach for plenty of candles—in all sizes—to use as a base. Candles in winter are a must! They brighten up the shorter days and add height to your winter tablescape.

Photo Credit: Elle Decor – a cozy and homey winter table with an evergreen and pilalr candle runner, berries and evergreens plus gold cutlery

Use a mix of votives and pillars or a mix of votives and tapers. Set your favorite candles in a variety of mismatched holders or in a cohesive collection. Vessels that have a jolly festive feel are clear glass or silver or mercury glass. These options reflect the light and sparkle the most.

Photo Credit: Simple Bites

Go for Festive

Adding a few small touches—like ribbons in your chosen accent colors and fresh, natural greens—gives your table a party-ready look. Adding live flowers and foliage is another simple, foolproof way to fancy up your table in just a few minutes. If you have access to evergreen, you can collect some trimmings or use some from the discard pile at the grocery store or tree farm.

Photo Credit: Angebonheur – a chic and neutral winter tablescape with a neutral runner, greenery, paper stars candles in various candleholders and ornaments hanging over the table
Photo Credit: White and Shabby

Smaller Table Decor Ideas

If creating an elaborate tablescape is not something you had in mind, here are some more minor table decor elements that you may find inspiring enough to replicate in your home.

Mason Jars Candles with Greenery

Photo Credit: Tuteate
Photo Credit: A Little Tipsy
Photo Credit: Nelly Vintage Home

Pinecones and Branches

Photo Credit: The Budget Decorator

Cinnamon Stick Candles

Photo Credit: Debbie Doos

Collander Candle Holder

Photo Credit: The Everyday Home

Antique Box with Candles

Photo Credit: Fern Creek Cottage

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A tablescape is simply a blanket term that combines your table’s centerpiece and place settings or the overall decoration of your table.
A centerpiece is an essential item of a display, usually of a table setting. Centerpieces help set the theme of the decorations and bring extra decorations to the room.
Flowers, candles, and vases are all excellent items to use as centerpieces for your table decor. When using these, try to stick to odd numbers. This is more pleasing to the eye and helps create a sense of balance.
The basic table setting comprises the implements you need for an everyday meal. You would use a basic table setting for a daily dinner or a special brunch. To set your basic table, you will need a charger plate, a knife and fork, a water glass, and a napkin.

Holly Antoine

Holly Antoine is a Home, Lifestyle and DIY content creator. After leaving behind an 11-year career in the dental field to pursue her passion for design and decor, she developed her own branded site, HollyGrace.ca, where she shares her love of home design, decor, DIYs and inspires others to get creative and build[...]

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