How to Set the Ultimate Holiday Table

The holiday season is all about entertaining. Duh. It’s the time for gathering friends and family, with nieces and nephews running around with grandpa and grandma, sisters gossiping like old times and boyfriends getting introduced to the family for the first time. If you’re lucky, there may even be a bended knee proposal to witness! So many fun and exciting memories happen around this time of year. So why make things stressful and complicated when it comes to putting together a beautiful dinner table?? I’m here to attest that the stress & the holidays do not have to go hand in hand – at least not where decorating is concerned!

I say grab what you got at hand and with just a few festive touches everyone is going to feel special and you’re not going to feel like a wreck!

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I say there’s no need to dust off {or even own!} fancy china. Leave the crystal in the cabinet and don’t cry over your incomplete set of glasses. I’m all about taking the mix-and-match approach for your holiday tabletop. I want to create a comfortable and carefree vibe that invites people to loosen their collars, roll up their sleeves and dig in!

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Now when I say mix and match, I mean, mix and match! For this Thanksgiving-inspired table, not only did I use two different dinner plates (white and gray), I also used three different salad plates, two different sets of cloth napkins (gray and deep fuchsia), two types of glasses (green goblets and vintage crystal coupes) and two different chair finishes (copper and black)!

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And since we’ve established that traditional tablesetting rules are to be thrown out the window, forget a fancy centerpiece. It just ends up blocking everyone’s view of each other anyway! Try a fresh garland instead. We called on friend, Natasha Kolenko, to put together a garland made out of magnolia leaves, but really you can use whatever greenery your heart desires.

I love the waxy magnolia leaf with the brown underside as it adds drama without being too fragile or fussy. Having a fresh garland feels festive {sure beats faux!} and the best thing is that it will last throughout the holiday season. Keep it on the table to make every dinner feel lively then hang it on the mantel or on your buffet between parties!

For a really stunning floral display {but still so simple!}, we added small arrangements simply plopped into the garland. One of my go-to tips is to incorporate seasonal fruit or vegetables into your arrangements. This time of year, I love persimmons on a branch!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used my white pillar candles- they’re great to have on hand and look better after every use- the more drippy wax, the better {use tapers for a moodier, more romantic atmosphere!}.

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If you look closely you’ll notice, some of the tabletop elements are from previous seasons, some are in stores now and some are vintage {like the beautiful goblets and crystal coupes from Frances Lane which you can rent- another genius party idea!}. The array of items just goes to show that you truly don’t need to go out and buy new sets from the same collection so that everything matches. Mix it up and have fun with it!

If your confidence in styling still needs a little boost to let loose and have fun, we’ve rounded up some items that will help you get started on achieving a similar look at home!

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get the look: placecard holders // white plates (similar) // salad plates // napkins (similar) // green goblets (similar) // gold bowl // napkin rings // copper chair // cutting board // silverware (similar) 

I can’t tell you how much fun we had putting this tabletop together. We were so in love with the finished product, we had to refrain from going Instagram crazy over it! If you’d like to learn more about the thought process, we broke down every detail and dished out more style tips on how to achieve the ultimate holiday tabletop on the super cute chilren’s line,Tea Collection’s blog right here {PS there’s a $3,000 Sweepstakes involved!!}

What do you think? Are you a fan of a festively casual holiday table?

original photography for apartment 34 by Aubrie Pick // florals by Natasha Kolenko // glassware c/o Frances Lane // flatware and accessories c/o March // styling and art direction by erin hiemstra

52 Comments

52 thoughts on “How to Set the Ultimate Holiday Table

  1. this is so beautiful! I love all of the colors together! absolutely perfect!

  2. Beautiful! And now I’m famished! Could you tell me, where is that table from?

    • erin

      You know, I’m not sure – it was on the piece that was already in the space but I’ll try to find out for you!

  3. absolutely love your colorstory and casual gorgeousness! beautiful styling too!

    • erin

      Thanks lady! That means the world coming from you!!

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  6. One of the most beautiful (yet relaxed and informal) table settings I’ve seen! Love it!

    • erin

      Thanks so much Kat – exactly what I was gonig for!!

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  44. Cathy

    Is that your table (Restoration Hardware)? I was wondering how you treated the wood. I have the RH reclaimed wood table, and I’m nervous about staining when food spills. Any pointers would be great. Thanks!

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