How to Style a Dinner Party Tablescape for the Holidays and Beyond

Brass candlesticks, charcoal-coloured dishes, lush greenery and warm textiles combine in this contemporary take on the holiday table that will see you through the whole winter season.

Think Green

Smycka artificial garland (1.5 m), $3.99 each, and Gradvis vase (19 cm), $5.99 each, from IKEA; faux greenery bushes, prices vary, from Michaels. Photograph by Eluvier Acosta.

Real or faux greenery arranged in smoky glass vases and a simple eucalyptus garland running down the length of the table create a lush look, while smatterings of pine cones add winter whimsy, without being holiday-specific. Avoiding traditional Christmas colours and decor also helps with reuse — this is a table that you’ll set up for entertaining all winter long, not just throughout the festive season.


Mix High and Low

Sällskaplig wine glasses (9 oz.), $20 pack of four, glasses (9 oz.), $13 pack of four, and Tillagd 20-piece cutlery set, $80, all from IKEA; organic cotton tablecloth, $126, from Pottery Barn. Photograph by Eluvier Acosta.

Creating a seasonal tablescape shouldn’t break the bank, says stylist Erin Donnelly-Ferguson. For this table, she procured items from a variety of retailers, from Pottery Barn and Britannia Kitchen & Home to Michaels and IKEA, mixing in some of her own antique brass candlesticks collected over the years from Inside Avenue Antiques. “The glassware, which is a play on a traditional bevelled design, is from IKEA,” Donnelly-Ferguson says. “It doesn’t need to be crystal to add formality.”


Play with Heights and Textures

Twilight Collection 10” taper candles, $45 pack of 12, from Britannia Kitchen & Home; mixed pinecone vase filler, $28, from Pottery Barn; wooden chargers and brass candlesticks, stylist’s own. Photograph by Eluvier Acosta.

The garland and pine cones clustered on wooden chargers keep things grounded at table level, while the vases of greenery, antique candlesticks and black taper candles draw the eye up.


Add Twists on Formality

Mason square stoneware dinner plates, $57 set of four, mason square stoneware salad plates, $45 set of four, mason stoneware bowls, $45 set of four, and classic Belgian flax linen hemstitch napkins, $57 set of four, all from Pottery Barn. Photograph by Eluvier Acosta.

Donnelly-Ferguson’s design is a blend of traditional and contemporary: The charcoal tableware and gold cutlery are an unexpected take on formal table settings, and the black taper candles add a contemporary spin, especially paired with traditional candlesticks. Finally, flax-coloured table linens make for a more relaxed feel than conventional winter white.

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This article appears in the December 2022 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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