Let's be honest: The holidays aren't exactly synonymous with innovative design. And, to an extent, we understand why: Who has the time to create a gorgeous tablescape when you've spent the entire day basting the turkey, manually mashing potatoes, and whipping up a creamy green bean casserole. If you do have time to spare and want to spruce up your space, there's a good chance you've resorted to turkey motifs and ubiquitous gourds. (It's okay, we've all been there.)
But just because the holidays are your chance to show off your cooking chops doesn't mean your eye for design has to take a backseat. In fact, there are plenty of décor ideas that are effortlessly stylish and easy to assemble. If you want to create a holiday feast that appeals to all the senses, take a look at the chic ideas below. From eye-catching tablescapes to decadent décor that goes beyond the kitchen, the spaces below prove there's plenty of style to go around.
Plaid About You
As far as we’re concerned, plaid is the unofficial pattern of fall. If you want to give your spread an autumnal edge, take a cue from Havenly. Designer Kylee Trunck mastered the look by mixing old and new into one tablescape. The classic tartan tablecloth is offset with gold candlesticks, wooden accents, and an understated centerpiece. Trunck also set the tablecloth on the diagonal, giving the entire setup an effortlessly cool attitude.
Give the gourds a rest by peppering your dining room table with pomegranates. While this fruit is an unexpected addition to your spread, its ruby-red hue will pair nicely with the rest of your autumnal décor. Here, Havenly’s Heather Goerzen played up the pomegranates by sticking with a warm color palette. Orange candles, tinted glassware, and a seasonal bouquet of flowers round out the look.
A Touch of Paper
What’s the difference between a good host and a great host? Small, thoughtful touches. “Use paper elements to dress up your tabletop, from acting as placemats to seating cards,” designer Molly Hatch instructs. “These ‘extras’ add that special element that elevates your tablescape. You can even set up blank gratefulness cards at the table, which brings in a beautiful paper element and is a fun way to share what you’re grateful for this year.” After all, thoughtfulness never goes out of style.
This year, bring the free-spirited lifestyle to your dining room table a la Casa Watkins Living. Here, blogger Stephanie Watkins embraces her bold streak by adding an eclectic mix of plates, glasses, and candlesticks to the mix. While mismatched décor is trendy year-round, the warm color palette and straw centerpiece make this setup a great fit for your big holiday feast.
Your dining room table might be the star of your holiday décor, but great style starts at your front door. Jackie from Finding Lovely created a grand entrance at her Massachusetts home by adding painted pumpkins to her stoop. While this idea would look great in any color, this bluish-gray hue is versatile enough to look good all season long.
Raise a Glass
Want to take your holiday happy hour up a couple of notches? Check out this setup from Society Social. With a bowl of red apples, a cozy candle, and a vase filled with colorful branches, this bar cart is festive but not over-the-top. All this home bar needs is a signature seasonal cocktail. Cheers!
Holiday gatherings tend to start very early in the evening, so instead of asking your guests to eat a huge, decadent meal at 5 p.m., try starting the festivities with a cocktail hour featuring a bevy of holiday-themed cocktails.
As this idea from Black & Blooms proves, you don’t need a formal dining table to have a great feast. For her annual Friendsgiving party, blogger Sara Toufali created an intimate and oh-so-cozy floor seating area. With a dyed tablecloth, macrame runner, and cornucopia of eclectic vases, this spread isn’t for the design wallflower. However, Toufali adds some decorum with a symmetrical centerpiece and matching dinnerware set.
Tangled Up in Blues
Fall is often associated with warm colors but if you want to give the oranges and reds a rest, opt for a cool palette. Sarabeth McElhaney of The February Fox decked out her table with a teal tablecloth and matching napkins. The burnt orange accents keep the spread without feeling in-your-face.
If you’re looking for an easy way to make a splash, create a symmetrical spread. While Kate Bowler of Domestikatedlife packs a punch with a cheery array of colors and patterns, there’s something inexplicably satisfying and soothing about the symmetrical centerpiece and place settings. (It’s like the ASMR of tablescapes.)
As this setup from Anne Sage proves, you don’t need to sacrifice your sense of style for a festive tablescape. The designer gives holiday décor a minimalist edge with a muted tablecloth, sculptural candlestick holders, and a low-slung centerpiece. The result: A table that’s understated yet effortlessly chic.
Come fall, your fireplace place will be the hottest spot in your entire house—literally and figuratively—so why not bring the Thanksgiving spirit to your mantel? Cynthia of Darling Down South went big with a pinecone wreath, faux pumpkins, and a garland made with rustic branches. While this space doubles down on accessories, its muted color palette prevents these decorations from upstaging the rest of the room.
This tablescape from The Every Hostess reminds us why we love florals so much. Blogger Kaitlin Moss gives the simple bouquet an autumnal twist with a warm color palette and sporadic wheat branches. While this floral arrangement gives this table a serious wow factor, it’s accessorized with matching plates, gold flatware, and a slew of colorful candles.
The only thing more terrifying than a poorly-designed tablescape is a silent dinner party. If you’re looking for a décor idea that does double-duty, take a look at this genius DIY project from Home Made by Carmona. Here, Ursula Carmona cuts out small leaf patterns, covers one side in a metallic paper, and writes down ice breakers on the other. With so many side dishes to chaperone, you might not have time to think of thoughtful questions. Don’t worry; these gilded leaves will look striking on their own.
Wow With Wheat
Just because flowers are a tablescape staple doesn’t mean they’re mandatory for your holiday spread. If you want to shake things up, take a cue from Neelam Gurm, who traded in the bouquet for a batch of wheat. The interior stylist and blogger masters the modern farmhouse look with vintage glasses, gold flatware, and a high-contrast color palette.
When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a good pumpkin motif. Julie Blanner gives this seasonal staple a cool yet, serene spin by creating a faux table runner with a bunch of mini white pumpkins. The festive accent is anchored by a strand of eucalyptus leaves, which oozes chill vibes. Consider this idea as a visual reminder for your guests to relax and enjoy the main course.