How To Decorate The Perfect Christmas Dinner Table

Having a beautifully decorated table sets the scene for the evening and makes your friends/family feel welcome and appreciated. I must confess I get huge pleasure creating any form of table setting however simple as I think it is an artistic process and very therapeutic. I love using herbs, lemons, limes or flowers and greenery from our garden with a scattering of tea lights and tall candles. Different heights and layers are what its all about.

I always have an arrangement of blue and white Chinese urns, candles and fresh ferns on my dining room table so that with minimal effort I can quickly lay a simple but pretty table for dinner even if it is just the two of us.

A few weeks before Christmas I start to think about a colour scheme and style for my table. One rainy Sunday in early December, with the help of a glue gun, I created the green and silver bauble moss centrepiece. I will be drawn to something specific early on in the planning process – this year it was the green and diamond bauble (I must admit to rarely steering too far away from my default setting of blue and green).

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First thing is a trip to my local flower market. I try hard not to buy too many cut flowers and this year have filled the house and table with stephanotis, gardenias, white tulips and paperwhites. To make the arrangements last longer I put them away in my cold larder until needed again and add some sugar to the water.

I then lay out a variety of china, accessories, candles, tablecloths, napkins, flowers and plants ready to try them on the table. Normally they don’t all make it – it’s a process of elimination and depends on the season and the occasion.

Having chosen a beautiful piece of Bernard Thorp Yamuna fabric as my tablecloth this year, rather than my traditional white one, I line up the flowers, plants and candles and position them into place. I always try to make sure that the arrangements aren’t too high or too overpowering; Christmas is a slight exception as I tend to go much stronger with a little ‘bling’. My husband doesn’t like too much on the table as he is king of practicality (occasionally he is brave enough to remove a few ornaments while I’m not looking).

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This year I have chosen to use green placemats with white edging as the first layer, followed by my fabulous new Aerin scalloped dinner plates with milky white engraved side plates. I’m then using my much-treasured white pique napkins from The Monogrammed Linen Shop tied with mini green wreaths. For the final touches I’ve opted for gold glitter crackers, silver-edged name cards and beautiful white china pagodas from Altfield.

Also, don’t I don’t just restrict the decorating to the table – consider expanding the theme to cover other areas in the room, like the mantlepiece.

It’s basically all about layering, layering, layering. Just keep placing and removing until you’re happy with the final result. Then it’s time to have a glass of Champagne and enjoy the meal!