Hostess with the mostess? My failsafe formula to creating a wow factor festive table setting
I love hosting. Although it’s true that I’m no great shakes in the cooking department and can’t even make scrambled eggs without burning it to the bottom of the pan. Luckily I married a man who used to work as a chef in a hotel during the school holidays. With him chained to the oven, that frees me to focus my attention on my specialist subject…styling aka faffing. There is something really relaxing about setting a table ready for an influx of guests. I guess it’s the calm before the social storm, which I also thrive on, but it’s good to have those quiet moments of prep if you can manage it. So I was in my element creating this Christmas table setting for John Lewis & Partners using pieces from their Colour My Christmas collection, not least because they have gone to the effort of creating a whole range of very cool gold splattered napkins, placemats and table runners which could have been made for me! I selected all of the pieces for my table setting from their Gold theme but they also have Ruby, Emerald, Amber, Jet, Moonstone and Sapphire.
I’ve created a super glam festive look but I’ve actually used a very simple formula which can be applied and adapted to suit any interior taste.
Here are my key ingredients to creating a wow festive table setting
1) Keep it simple
Ok so that may not be the first word that springs to mind when you look at my glam table setting, but if you look closely I’ve tried to keep the number of actual things on the table to a minimum, to balance out the impact of the luxurious metallics and pattern clashes at play. I also simplified by sticking to a palette of white and gold to keep everything feeling coherent. I chose not to have a foliage garland running down the middle of the table and instead went with this gold metallic runner which also pulls everything together. This way it’s easier for your guests to take it all in, which makes for a more relaxing atmosphere all round.
2) Add layers and texture
The actual place setting is my favourite part of the table process because I love experimenting with different textures and patterns. Start by layering up dinner plates and side plates in different patterns. I used the white Snowflake dinner plate, which has a really subtle embossed pattern with gold edging. It’s festive but not overly so and you could definitely use it during the rest of the year. On top of that I have added these gold decorated side plates with a geometric pattern. The side plates come in a set of four, each with a different pattern and are perfect for adding interest when layered over simple white dinner plates. There is also a geometric serving bowl which will be perfect piled high with crispy golden roast potatoes (cooked by my husband). I didn’t think even I could get excited about napkins but these are amazing and almost an exact match for my Jonathan Adler wallpaper in the lounge. I played around with the napkin and cutlery setting and decided on simply folding the napkin flat, tying up the gold cutlery with some brown string and added a spring of mimosa for yet more texture. Alternatively you could arrange the cutlery next to the plate, tie the napkin in the middle with string and add a sprig of foliage, a bauble or berries. I also love the grounding effect of using simple brown string and the pretty mimosa next to the glam gold cutlery and modern geometrics. Berries would give a more traditional look, while a gold bauble would ramp up the glamour even further, so it depends on what look you want to achieve.
3) Add some twinkle
Nothing says Christmas like fairy lights…and tea lights…and candles! You get the picture. It’s the one time of year when there is no such thing as too many lights. I love these LED Star Lights on a copper wire because they are easy to wind around the table and don’t take up too much room. As an added bonus, the lights bounce and reflect off the Gold Dipped Wine and Hiball glasses. It’s also important to add some height to a table setting and I love using taper candles at Christmas because they are very smart and make it look like you’ve made more of an effort.
4) Don’t forget the flowers
I’ve added further height and texture with some gorgeous and Christmassy Amaryllis from my wonderful local florist Yolanda Chiaramello. Rather than going for a large central bunch which would inevitably have to be moved off the table to make room for the food, I went with two smaller vases to place at either side of the table, which will allow our guests to actually see each other from across the table.
5) Have fun with it!
‘Tis the season to be jolly and all that so don’t be afraid to have a bit of fun with it. I strung up the ‘Yay’ balloon, which would work equally well for Christmas or New Year’s Eve celebrations. I also love these kitsch Gold Glitter Bauble Place card holders…and yes I should have added actual place cards but my handwriting is dreadful due to years of writing in shorthand and my husband’s isn’t much better so I ran out of time and options. Where is The Lovely Drawer when you need her? You get the picture though. Finally, no Christmas table setting would be complete without the crackers! John Lewis and Partners have some absolutely cracking crackers and it was hard to choose which ones to go for. I settled on these spotty Merry Christmas ones in the end because I thought they worked best with the splatter print runner and napkins, but I also had a lot of love for these glam Sequin printed ones.
That’s my failsafe formula for creating a fabulous festive table setting and now you’re ready to be the hostess with the mostess. What can I get you to drink?
This blogpost is written as part of a paid partnership with John Lewis & Partners. All styling, words and photography are my own.