Don't get me wrong, I am still learning. And I will continue to learn more and more. I don't have all the answers, but I know the places to look for creating a beautiful tablescape to use during the holidays. It's all about layering, height and what makes you happy.
It might go without saying, but get on Pinterest and find what inspires you for your table. Collect things that you already own to copy your inspiration. And the nice thing is you can make changes too! If you don't have something and it really doesn't speak to you, you don't have to add it. Also, doing this will ensure you don't purchase something you already have.
Choose Your Base
This is the base of your table set up: Tablecloth, Table Runner, Placemats. The first thing going on the table before anything else.
When creating your centerpiece there are a few things to consider.
Food. Will there be food on the table, or will there be a buffet style meal? If you plan to have food on the table think of what you will need to hold the food. I love to use cake stands on my table to elevate the food and still have pretty decor.
Conversations. You don't want to create so high that people can't see across the table. While you want a beautiful table to be the middle of the conversations you don't want it to get in the way of the conversations.
Lighting. Take a look at the space you will be dining under. How low is the light? Under the chandelier is a great spot for the main dish if you are putting food on the table. Are you going to turn on the light, or have a candlelit dinner?
Composition. Put the tallest candles and florals closer to the heads of the table, offset them from each other. For example, for those sitting at the opposite heads of the table, the floral arrangements will both be to their right hands, so opposite sides and not a visual straight line.
Texture. You can use a variety of textures on your table from the linens used, natural elements, and flowers.
Three. The rule of thirds can apply here as well. Have three candles. Three different colors. Use three different heights. It keeps the table from looking too linear.
Begin with the base, then move on to the biggest elements. Candles, cake stands, and floral arrangements. Once those are set move in to tuck in smaller elements. Some greenery around the base of the cake stands, scatter some votive candles in, pinecones (if they work with the table!) and other smaller elements. you can move things around until you are happy with the outcome.
This is where your guests will be eating. Create these spots thoughtfully with things that your guests will actually need to eat.
Start with the placemat or charger. I love chargers. They are my favorite way to do a place setting. If they get dirty they require less work than a placemat. Top that with a plate, and then a salad plate and a bowl if needed. I like to do a drop fold napkin in between my dinner plate and salad plate. I will then create place cards and place them on top of the salad plate or at the top of the place setting.
For utensils I will do a casual placement for them on the sides of the setting (more on that next week!).