Getting Creative With Your Holiday Tablescape: Tips and Inspiration

Written by: Mackenzie Kuck



Time to read 6 min

The holidays are that special time of year when life slows down for a moment and loved ones are all gathered together. It's the season when the air is crisp and the scent of cinnamon fills the kitchen from fresh-baked holiday pastries. Families gather around the dinner table for a festive meal and share memories, jokes, and talk about the year to come. 

For many, mealtime is where the best family memories are formed, and it's an occasion to look forward to delicious food and precious time with loved ones. If you're hosting a holiday gathering this year, why not make it an extra special one by getting creative with your holiday tablescape. Going the extra mile with your tabletop decor is a fun way to try out some fun holiday decorating while making this year's holidays extra memorable. 

Get inspired to make your holiday tablescape extraordinary with these seven steps:

1. Evaluate your setup

Before pulling out all your favorite dishware and linens, take a moment to evaluate your dining setup. It may seem obvious, but the size and shape of your table should help determine the overall arangement of your holiday tablescape. Do you have a round or a rectangular table? Will you serve your holiday meal family style or buffet style? During the holidays, there is often a wide spread of different delicious sides and even variations in the main course. These dishes can take up a lot of room on the table, so if you want to create an elaborate display of tabletop decor, plan ahead to leave room elsewhere for a buffet. Plus, a hutch or large counter used for serving is another great spot to coordinate with your tablescape. 

2. Choose a simple color palette

Minimalist Holiday Tablescape Pine
Image credit: Nicole Michalou

If you're feeling stuck on what theme or decor to inspire your holiday tablescape, selecting a color palette first can help simplify the decision-making. Try opting for a monochrome or simplified color palette. Once you have centerpieces, dishware, linens, and other decor on the table, it's easy to unintentionally end up with too much going on visually. Having a more simple palette is the best trick for curating a more designer tablescape and keeping your table from being visually overwhelming. 

Keep in mind that while you might want to draw inspiration from seasonal colors, you can also try out other palettes for a more unique look. Deep greens, soft pinks, and cream are great alternatives for a Thanksgiving tablescape, and Christmas is a perfect time to invite blues, rich purples and silver to the table.

3. Get inspired by seasonal botanicals

Christmas Holly Centerpiece Festive Tablescape
Image credit: Heather Smith

Once you have an idea of your color palette, draw inspiration from seasonal botanicals for your centerpiece. Pumpkins and squash are both nice traditional objects for the Fall, and you can play around with painting them a different color for a fresh take. 

Other botanicals that will look lovely as a focal point for your holiday tablescape include: 

  • pine cones or pine needles

  • holly

  • peppermint leaves

  • mistletoe

  • cranberry

  • winterberry 

Are you debating whether to go with artifical or real botanicals? Artifical decor is an easy way to reuse these items year after year, but fresh plants really do elevate the overall look and authenticity of the centerpiece. Plus, they can bring a nice fresh scent that you simply won't get with artifical florals. I suggest picking up a few sprigs of pine or some cranberry that you can also use as garnish in your holiday mocktails or cocktails. This way, they'll have a double purpose and you'll have a clever way to match your drinks to your decor. 

Alternatively, you can take clippings from your own backyard as an easy way to freshen up your table (maybe just be careful putting them in your drink). Making a centerpiece from what you picked from your own backyard makes for a nice talking point and really adds that cool-factor.

4. Mix and match table linens

When picking out your table linens, trying mixing solid colors with plaids or floral prints. Doing this in a simplified color palette gives greater visual interest without going over-the-top. Don't feel like you have to decide between two or three patterns. As long as they coordinate in some way, experiment with mixing a floral table runner, solid tablecloth, and plaid or geometric printed linen napkins —

 or really any other variation that you want. And even if they don't quite match, don't sweat it. The point is to have fun, so it doesn't really matter how perfectly everything goes together. Besides, you might be surpised with what you can pull together out of seemingly clashing decor. 

5. Bring out your favorite dishware

Festive holiday dinnerware Take Heart Textiles
Image credit: Mackenzie Kuck Illustration

Just like your table linens, mixing and matching dishware is another way to bring personality to your holiday tablescape. If you have a favorite set of dishware that you normally only use for special occassions, well, now is that time to put it to use. Choose dishware with fun patterns or motifs for a more unique, artistic look. Alternatively, white or lightly textured dishware creates an elegantly subtle, minimalist look for a more relaxed setting. 

And when the holidays are over, don't feel like you have to pack up your beloved dishware only to be used again during next year's holidays — not always saving your nicest for "best" makes every mealtime feel like a special occasion. And why not? The holidays aren't the only time when you should get to enjoy those awesome vintage plates that you love.

6. Get creative with your glassware

Festive Holiday mocktails Take Heart Textiles
Image credit: Mackenzie Kuck Illustration

Don't neglect your glassware when planning your holiday tablescape. Go with a classic wine glass for your icewater or switch things up with some funky stemware. You might even decide to use some colored glassware rather than traditional clear glass. If you've decided to go with a more neutral color palette or if bold color simply isn't in your comfort zone, this is another way you can bring some subtle visual interest to the overall setup. Plus, a neutral color tablecloth or centerpiece with colorful glassware can be effortlessly unique and elegant. 

Similarly, introducing color through your mixed drinks or mocktails should be considered as part of the tablescape design. You'll likely be feasting on the same beloved holiday dishes as you do every year, so create a signature drink to diversify the palette. 

Try any of these holiday drink suggestions or come up with a fun recipe of your own:

  • sparkling berry and pomegranate mocktail

  • peppermint orange soda

  • cranberry sangria or mock sangria

  • citrus and cinnamon cocktail / mocktail

7. Choose decor of varying heights

Finally, choose decor of varying heights, shapes, and sizes. If you set up your holiday tablescape and realize that something just looks "off," this is probably it. If you have only one size candle, try mixing in a few different sizes. If you're using tapered candles, use two to three different size candle holders, or spread them out amongst smaller items. You'll be amazed at how much more put together the overall arrangement looks. Don't forget to incorporate fun or sentimental objects to help personalize the design. 

As for your centerpieces, large centerpieces can look quite grand and elegant but also have a tendency to obscure whoever might be sitting across from you. Keep this in mind if you're decorating with a floral or botanical centerpiece so that it doesn't take away from your time with loved ones.

Which of these seven steps are you most inspired to try? We hope you get the chance to play around with different colors, patterns, table settings, centerpieces and decor. Remember, your holiday tablescape doesn't have to be perfect. As long as you allow it to be a fun part of hosting your holiday gathering, your tablescape is sure to be stunning. And when you've got everything set up, don't forget to snap a picture and send us your holiday tablescape design to We can't wait to see what you create!

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Mackenzie Kuck Take Heart Textiles founder

Mackenzie Kuck

Mackenzie is a professional designer, lifelong artist, and sustainable materials aficionado for the interiors and fashion industries. She is passionate about bringing organic, non-toxic materials into the market and empowering others to live and shop sustainably.