How to Set the Perfect Holiday Table

Setting a table may seem intimidating, but every tablesetting is truly broken down into 5 steps. Even the most extravagant tablescapes follow these steps. Once you understand the form of a good table, you can start getting more creative with color, florals, or patterns.

Linens

Table linens are your base. You don’t necessarily need a tablecloth, but it tends to create a warmer and more layered look. When hosting a dinner, cloth napkins are a must. They are an inexpensive investment that any host or hostess has on hand. Lay them between the salad and dinner plate, tie them in a simple knot and place on the plate, or use a napkin ring.

Plates

You do not need flashy or expensive plates to have a beautiful table setting. My tried and true look is an Ikea dinner plate, with a patterned vintage salad plate. I have found so many gorgeous plates at thrift stores, I am not sure how Anthro is still in business! But I know many of us are shopping from home, so here are some great online options.

Glassware

Depending on the occasion, you can simply do a water glass or a combination of water glass and spirit glassware. A pretty classic tablesetting is a water glass and a wine glass. These don’t have to break the bank. I have also seen many tables with mismatched glasses, and it looked great. Don’t overthink it.

Flatware

You saw this coming, right? But hopefully, you are realizing how simple this is! Depending on how formal or how many courses, you may put out the full set. Don’t feel pressured to put out a fork and a knife though, if you are serving a simple soup and bread. You can google flatware placement, so I won’t bore you with that. This to me is also a must. Once you move out of your parent’s, buy some flatware. There is a time and a place for plasticware, and it’s not when you’re hosting a dinner.

Centerpieces (The Fun Stuff)

You made it! This is the best part, where you can let your personality shine. I will reiterate, a centerpiece is only as good as the tablesetting around it. This brings in the wow factor. I like a combination of candles and florals. I have a neutral pair of candlestick holders that I use for any dinner. But if you want something colorful or holiday specific, this is the space to go for it!

Friend Gift Guide: All Under $50

Thinking of the perfect gift for everyone could be hard. Even though we might not have as many gift exchanges this year, it is always nice to be prepared. I think this year, even more so, is the perfect year to send a gift to a friend you haven’t been able to see. Budgets are also important, so I rounded up options that won’t break the bank.

My New Office Space: Design Under $300

A couple of weeks ago, I was offered a job. I am over the moon! Being laid off during quarantine really weighed on my soul. I just kept telling myself, you are going to get a job before your wedding. Now I can truly enjoy our wedding and honeymoon, without that added stress looming over.

Chris and I both work from home. He has his office ready to go, and I didn’t want to take over his space. So, I found an empty wall in my dining room that was hosting a pile of “where should I put this,” and decided that was the perfect spot. I had thrifted some items recently that I loved, but I wasn’t quite sure where they would fit. I quickly realized they all paired together really nicely. I took the $10 chair I bought from FB Marketplace, and reupholstered it with an extremely forgiving fur fabric. The finished look only cost me $30! My art is half thrifted, half HomeGoods, so it feels unique and not so basic. The desk is actually a console table from Hobby Lobby, 30% off right now! I went with a console, because my job will likely move to an office, so I wanted a piece that could transition back to a dining buffet. Finally, I added a few accessories to dress up the look (you wouldn’t believe what I got those chinoiserie vases for). The secretary hutch is from HomeGoods, and will be a useful substitute to drawers and cabinets.

As you can see, I went with a neutral base then added in the color. I really pulled all of my accessory colors from the cowgirl painting (I call her Mona). The designs I find most appealing are always a mix of old and new. Even the most modern and neutral of looks, could use the warmth of an antique piece. Here is how you can recreate this look:

My Go-To Home Scents

Candles are the household item I buy most often. You know those banking apps that track your spending? Well, if they broke it down by category, my spending would be 10% on candles every month. All joking aside, the scents you put in your home are so important. The smell of your home tends to be what people remember the most. Growing up, all of my friends said my house smelled like old wood and clean laundry…I never understood until I moved away! Now everytime I visit my mom, the scent of her home makes me feel so comforted.

The scents I lean towards tend to be tropical or woody, but not in the way you expect. I love an undertone of coconut, but I don’t necessarily want it to be the main scent profile. Instead I enjoy base scents of patchouli, jasmine, and citrus. All of those scents marry to create an ambiance of a far away island (aka my dream life). Everyone has different tastes, but if there are any candles I can recommend to you blindly and know you will love them, it would be these…

October Had A Party

As an October baby, Fall is when I feel most grounded and inspired. It is the beginning of a season of gathering, which is something we need even more this year. Halloween and Thanksgiving are no doubt going to look very different this year, but I am sure the ingenuity in us will shine. I cherish time with my loved ones even more, which motivates me to put my best foot forward when it comes to preparing my home for an intimate get-together.

My hope is that this year, we go all out for the holiday season. This is not the year for shaming people out of decorating early. Go make your home feel as cheerful and warm as possible (please post pictures).

Here are some ideas to make the Fall season feel just as festive as ever:

  1. Host a virtual dinner party where everyone tries a new meal or cocktail recipe. You can each talk about what inspired the meal. Ex: That cider in Hocus Pocus that we all wanted to taste growing up…make that into a cocktail!
  2. Decorate your porch. If you don’t feel the need to decorate your interiors, because the lack of guests coming over, put that energy into your porch. I promise you, your neighbors will appreciate it. Have you ever noticed how if one person skips holiday decor, the whole neighborhood decides to skip as well? Maybe you will inspire others to get into the Fall spirit!
  3. Do a Halloween themed egg hunt instead of Trick or Treating. I have a feeling there will be a ton of plastic cauldrons sitting unattended on porches this year. So if you have little ones, why not do a spooky backyard egg hunt? I am fully supportive of using the cheesiest decor possible, cue the spider webs, fog machine, and plastic pumpkins!
  4. Plan a future Fall trip. This is the time to hone your travel planning skills. No, it may not be the smartest idea to go ahead and book something, but you can still plan. Pick your ultimate Fall destination, plan your wardrobe, start saving for that luxe hotel. Here’s some ideas to get you started: San Miguel de Allende for Day of the Dead, New Orleans for Halloween, Albuquerque International Balloon Festival.

Classic Halloween Decor

Halloween decor doesn’t have to be dark, colorful, or even obvious. My favorite way to incorporate seasonal decor, is by subtly placing pieces I love. You do not have to tell a story! Unless you are throwing a party, you don’t need to replace all of your stuff with a coordinated display. I like to store minimal holiday decor, so I gravitate towards organic items that I can toss at the end of the season or small evocative pieces.

One of the first things I reach for when September hits, are small white pumpkins and fall florals. These are easy ways to transition your bookshelves or consoles to Fall, with no need for storage space. Another space saving idea, is using prints. I adore vintage Halloween photography, so I found images online, downloaded them, and printed them through Shutterfly. If you are worried about copyright issues, the MET has a huge selection of copyright free art for download. Every year, I buy cob webs or mummy cloth from the Dollar Tree or Michaels, to add an eerie touch to my faux plants.

The rest of my Halloween decor comes from HomeGoods or Target. These are typically where I find my staple pieces I use every year, such as candles, fabric pumpkins, and blankets.