Styling your table in anticipation of the feast and festivities that will abound this Christmas needs to be very carefully considered and well planned, and there is no better time to start than now.
Pre-Christmas purchasing is essential and most home wares and specialty shops have an abundance of gorgeous items with which you can create an inspired table this year.
First and foremost is to have your guests confirm their attendance as soon as possible so you can plan how many seats there will be around your table. Typically you will have more guests than your day to day dining table can accommodate. Two options to manage this are to either join two tables together, or hire/borrow a larger table. Chairs invariably end up being mismatched, however this may be counteracted with some simple decorations added to the back of the chairs to visually tie them together.
Once numbers are confirmed the next step is to establish what style of dining experience you want to creat, which will generally fit into one of three categories: formal, casual or outdoor. This will dictate your actual place settings.
Formal dining settings will involve the usual care and precision when selecting your cutlery, dinnerware and glassware. Using your best silver cutlery and crystal vases is de riguer. Always use your very best freshly pressed napery. Napkins do look their very best when dressed up with a napkin ring and always have your most beautiful water jugs and wine decanters on hand. Several champagne buckets or bowls filled with ice can add a festive touch and allow your guests to help themselves to the lovely bubbly with ease. Handcrafted in Poland, this Jensen champagne bucket by Krosno is simply divine.
While the contemporary Bari champagne bucket adds a subtle bit of sparkle to your table.
Casual dining calls for a more relaxed, informal approach. Dinnerware and cutlery needn’t be your very best and, in some instances, you may want to mix and match settings, including glassware. A lovely casual dinnerware set currently available is a series, called Bread Street, designed by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay for Royal Doulton.
Outdoor dining demands a different approach again, as the elements need to be considered. Napkins will most certainly need to be heavy or anchored with a napkin ring so as not to blow way. You may also wish to have a little bit of fun with your outdoor dining setting this year. Some colourful and playful dinnerware and glassware will see your guests approach outdoor dining with gusto and enthusiasm. June Lane designed by Kate Spade New York has a playful dragonfly motif, just the thing for outdoor dining.
Some stunning glasses from Noritake will be the perfect accompaniment.
Once you have established all of this, you will need to turn your hand toward table centerpieces and decorations. There are several trends by celebrity stylists that are proving to be very popular this year.
The first style is modern graphic, involving bold modern shapes and colours. The graphics are contemporary in nature and often black & white with an undeniably punchy injection of one or two key colours. Following the home wares trend of this year pastels will also be very popular with the modern graphic table settings.
The next trend you may wish to experiment with for your Christmas table setting is the use of unexpected colour combinations. Colour clashes are red hot this year! Think fluorescent colours mixed with pastels, yellows mixed with oranges and so on and so forth. This is certainly a fun and adventurous approach delivering a very modern look, though it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
You only have to walk down the increasingly trendy Collingwood/Fitzroy hotspots of Brunswick, Smith or Gertrude Street to find some great little shops to do a spot of shopping for your Christmas table. Wilkins and Kent have some one-off pieces you can guarantee will receive admiring and envious glances from your guests. Proforma also have some gorgeous pieces that are perfect for your eclectic table setting this Christmas.
Another trend that is appropriate to our climate here in Australia is Summer fun! This is a great theme for lunch time Christmas tables. Think large colourful platters heaped with mounds of ripe cherries, plates piled high with freshly caught prawns and glasses filled with tropical punch (umbrellas optional). Bold bunches of Australian native flowers work really well for a Summer themed Christmas table setting. Burning candles heavily scented with coconut and lime from Palm Beach candles are also perfect for that festive aroma.