Tabletop Statements

Add some holiday elegance to your seasonal decor with a few diy tips

lauren_esteban_wedding_11202015-327The occasional evening chill in the air means, in South Florida terms, that the holidays are coming. My favorite holiday ritual when I was growing up was setting the table. I certainly looked forward to indulging in a heavenly array of culinary delights, but my greatest joy was watching my mom bring together different elements that, when paired, created an incredibly inviting space.

The holiday table is where so many of us spend most of our gathering time. Catching up with family and old friends over candlelight and letting the aromas from the surrounding dishes envelop us is the essence of every holiday gathering.

I remember taking my mom’s good china out of the cabinets, cherry picking from her collections of linens, polishing the silverware and even foraging for pine cones and branches of berries to decorate the table. The pleasure in interior decorating or design comes with the relevance of the items—what they represent and their ability to take on new meaning. Vintage or perhaps handed-down silverware or dishes not only add a stylish touch but also capitalize on the vintage chic trend. Keep elements of decor in line with the ambience of your venue while following these tips.

Break the Rules

My mom taught me from a young age how to properly fold a napkin, how to mark the table—forks on the left, knives on the right—and how to tell the difference between a white wine glass and a red one. But if there’s one thing I put into professional practice, it’s that you must know the rules so you can break them. While these dinner-party essentials are great to know, you can throw them out the window and reinvent the rules. Don’t be afraid to take some chances to make bold statements, such as updating classic elements to make them current and your own.

Create your own holiday palette

Use hues already in your home decor. Switch out ordinary white candlesticks for festive green, red or blue for a holiday touch. Establish a color theme by matching them to your dishes or linens for extra style points.

Moriah Cuda Photography - John Nao-31Bring the Outside In

I love to draw inspiration from nature, and what better way to incorporate the great outdoors than during the holiday season? Use pine cones to add a beautiful and festive touch during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Don’t be afraid to incorporate elements such as fruit, or even vegetables such as pumpkins, squash and corn, into your table. (Just wash what you display.) To add some spiced-up glam, gently spray any leafy greens or hard vegetables with leaf shine spray, available at home improvement stores.

Get the kids involved and bring the warm colors of fall into your home by going on a scavenger hunt to look for special fall-colored leaves. Gently clean them with a damp paper towel. Use them as place cards for dinner-party guest names, create a beautiful piece of art to hang on the wall, or create a runner effect on your dinner table by sprinkling them along the center. Place some votives and floating candles in the middle and you’ve got a DIY centerpiece.

ShelbyAndresRehearsal_CLR-27 Rethink Holiday Standards

Not all pumpkins need to be carved into jack-o’-lanterns. By adding a lace doily over the stem, the pumpkin becomes a bright focal point on your front porch. Spray paint pumpkins white, gold or silver and display them through Christmas by incorporating them into more traditional white and green elements. Using wood elements in any decor concept brings the outside in and adds a touch of rustic flair. Metals are always a good idea for the holiday festivities, as they are easily paired with any other texture or color and add a seamless touch of elegance. Pine adds a seasonal touch; pick up some leftover trimmings (usually free) from your local Christmas tree seller and place them in small bud vases around your home. Cut and tie small bouquets together with some twine and tuck them into cabinets or cupboards to enjoy the scent all season long.

The thought of hosting a holiday dinner party can send waves of fear and anxiety, but don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Many stores have generous return policies. Don’t like that wreath you bought for the door or the way those wine glasses look on the table? Return them.

The key to successful home holiday design will come from items that offer form and function. For example, I love using farm-style tables for any gathering, especially those around the holidays. These rustic-yet-elegant, all-wood tables allow ample room for dishes, decor and candles. Once your design checklist is complete, make sure you reward yourself with plenty of eggnog.

Anna Noriega is the creative director of Aloré Event Firm.

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