With several holidays right around the corner, many of us enjoy sprucing up the house – including the dining room, since much of the holiday spirit is embodied in a special feast! Whether you’re hosting a big family gathering or just decorating for two, here are some simple guidelines to help keep your holidays merry and bright.
Make room for the decorations
Don’t just pile on holiday decorations with everything you already have on display. Change the everyday into the special – remove some of your regular pictures and knick-knacks to make way for holiday treasures.
Create a colorful focal point
The most obvious place for a focal point is the dining room table. One mistake people make is to overdo the centerpiece – build it too tall and it will hinder conversation and separate your dining guests unnaturally. A low centerpiece will accent your table without getting in the way. Sit at the table, place your elbow on the table and rest your chin on your hand. If you can’t see over the centerpiece it’s too tall!
Start with a nice, wrinkle-free tablecloth as your foundation. Depending on your color scheme, you may want to keep it simple with white, or try a more colorful or patterned fabric. Just remember that you want your tablecloth to draw attention to your centerpiece, not compete for attention.
For a traditional look, you might use a large wreath as your centerpiece, decorated with bells, bows or special ornaments. For a natural look, try hanging simple wreaths at the doors and windows, and evergreen clippings draped from the chandelier. Fresh flowers and lit candles can create a soft and intimate table centerpiece to bring together the earthy tone of the room.
Even an eclectic blend of not-so-formal furniture can look formal when dressed with an elegant table runner in gold and cream. Add two pillar candles in oversized vases with a few sprigs of greenery at its base, and augment the table settings with linen napkins. You can even dress up the dining room chairs by tying a wide ribbon around the backs of the seats.
Be careful about going too “out of the box”
There are plenty of untraditional colors used in holiday decorations, from oranges, pinks and purples to simple black and white schemes. It’s fun to switch it up and try something fresh, but as color trends change, you may end up spending a lot of money on a style that you’ll be tired of by next year. If you’re looking to jazz up what you already have, think of adding metallics and glass to the mix – lots of gold or silver accents will make your other colors shimmer, and the light reflecting off them will add lots of sparkle.
An elegant approach is to go with a monochromatic color scheme – such as winter white, New Year’s silver, gold, festive red or seasonal evergreen – can give your dining table a unique, classy look. For something a little different, try using colors such as mustard yellow paired with white to create a star theme, or use silver, light blue and white to create a snowflake or icicle theme.
Use what you have on hand
Gather all of your candles into one vignette and place them together on your sideboard. Get out all your children’s Christmas books, craft books or holiday magazines and display them in short stacks on the shelves. Wrap some empty boxes with left over wrapping paper to use as decorations, along with some special ornaments – perfect for adorning any corner.
Lights are sure to give any room a special feel; try working some or rope lights around the buffet or hang elegant crystal icicles from your chandelier. A mirror over your buffet will help reflect light and color into your dining room and open it up, giving the illusion of a more spacious room.
It’s easy to let holiday activities overwhelm you during this busy season, but don’t forget the best and most important part of the holidays – getting to see the people you love, having a great time together and counting your blessings!