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How to create a Chic, Easy, and Cheap holiday table setting in no time!

So the big holiday countdown is on! It’s nine days before Christmas.  No matter what holiday you celebrate, chances are you will be hosting or attending some type of seasonal gathering. For those of you brave enough to be hosting the gathering at your home, you are probably finalizing menus, drinks, desserts, seating, and activities to keep all the kiddos occupied. Well if we’ve learned anything from Martha Stewart, a huge part of a fantastic event is presentation!  Here is a quick 4-step guide to creating a fabulous lunch or dinner table setting. This is perfect if you will be hosting a sit-down meal. If you are doing a buffet style meal, you can modify the tips a bit.

1. Pick a color theme. To get a designer look, try not to mix too many colors. A one or two color theme is a great and easy way to start.  Take a look at what table decor and accessories you have to get some ideas (table runner, serving dishes, candle bases, bowls, etc.) Some great color combinations are gold and white, red and white, gold and silver, turquoise and white, or even a chic and simple black and white theme can look elegant.

2. Create a great table setting backdrop. Once your theme is chosen, find a piece of fabric or ready-made tablecloth to create a backdrop. If you don’t have a matching tablecloth, cut a large square piece of fabric in a color that goes with your theme. In this photo, we have created a gold and silver theme and our base is a simple square cut of gold fabric draped diagonally across the table. This creates a perfect background to build on.

3. Layer upward. Once you have a nice base, you can put together your centerpiece and plate settings. Use a coordinating table runner. If you don’t have a fabric table runner, an easy solution is to use patterned construction paper (you can get great 12″x12″ scrapbooking pieces at the craft store) or even stylish wrapping paper that is cut to your table length. You can secure it to your tablecloth with small pieces of tape underneath. In this photo, we’ve used small framed mirrors as a centerpiece base for a shimmery effect. On top of the mirrors you can place a variety of things for decor. From candles to clear vases filled with ornaments or jars filled with gold or silver spray-painted branches. Fresh flowers from the store are also an elegant touch! Layer your place settings – with bowl in a small plate on top of a large plate. This stacking effect creates a formal, festive look.

4. Add some unexpected touches. This is the fun part! A great way to do something unique is to create personalized namecards for each table setting. In this example, we’ve used metallic silver sticker letters on study cardstock paper folded in half. Punch a hole on top and loop a coordinating ribbon through. On the back of each card is a hand-written inspirational quote – a great table conversation starter! Other fun touches are dropping a gold-wrapped chocolate in each wine glass as a mini-present, or dressing up the head chairs with small color-coordinating cushions for a softer, living-room style look.

We hope these steps help you create a dynamite table setting! For more design tips, visit Innovae Designs on facebook at or e-mail us at [email protected]

-Sejal Parekh is a certified Home Stager and Interior Stylist specializing in home re-designs and event styling. She is the Founder/Owner of Innovae Designs based in Mountain View, CA.