The 7 Essentials for Setting a Gorgeous Holiday Table

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

holiday tablescape

Finding Lovely

The holidays are quickly approaching, and that means that you'll most likely be prepping for entertaining galore. If you've been wondering how to create a magazine-worthy tablescape, we're here to help. We've rounded up key tips from Nikki Reed and Staci Inspektor, the founders of table linen company Atelier Saucier, and are also sharing some of our own finds that are perfect for the season.

First things first, though, remember not to stress during the tablescape planning process. "Don’t get too caught up in fixating on every decor element from the get-go," Reed states. "Visualizing your tablescape as an evolving canvas is a great approach to not get too overwhelmed and allow for creative and artistic freedom. Starting from the bottom-up will ensure you don’t miss any key elements or design opportunities.”

Ready to get started? Below, we're outlining the seven steps involved in setting a gorgeous holiday table. Trust us, your guests will most definitely notice all of the effort you put in to make their dining experience extra festive and chic.

Atelier Saucier Peppermint Floral Runner

red and green floral runner

Atelier Saucier

Planning your menu and serving style (buffet, family style, etc.) ahead of time is key in more ways than one. "This will help inform what tabletop pieces are needed and how much surface area you have to add decor and accouterment," Reed notes.

After doing so, begin laying out your tablescape. First, you will want to set out a runner and/or tablecloth. Reed and Inspektor suggest Atelier Saucier's own Peppermint Floral Runner for a holiday gathering.

Williams Sonoma Classic Tartan Charger Plate

Williams Sonoma Classic Tartan Charger Plate

Williams Sonoma

Next up, you will want to source placemats, chargers, and plates. Reed and Inspektor note that you will want to be sure to set out bread plate, dinner plate, and dessert plate, which will be held to the side for later. A shimmery glass charger like this red beauty will stand out on any tabletop.

Crate & Barrel Camille Holiday Green Long-Stem Red Wine Glass

green long stemmed wine glass

Crate & Barrel

Then, set out your glassware—this includes wine/cocktail glasses as well as a water glass at each place setting. Long-stemmed wine glasses like these are perfectly festive and will add height and dimension to your tabletop.

Joss & Main Zephyr Stainless Steel Flatware

gold flatware set

Joss & Main

After this comes flatware.  Reed and Inspektor note that the correct arrangement is knife (to the left of the plate), dinner fork and salad fork (to the right of the plate), spoon (to the left of the knife), and then dessert spoon (above the dinner plate with the handle pointing to the right). Gold flatware will complement a holiday tablescape wonderfully—whether you decorate with blue and white, red and green, or black and gold—and this 20-piece set comes in at an excellent price point.

Atelier Saucier Sapphire Linen

blue napkins

Atelier Saucier

Then, set out your napkins and any accompanying accessories, such as napkin rings. And if you feel like getting a little creative in your setup, don't hesitate! "It’s always fun to explore a new theme-fitting napkin fold," Inspektor says.

Sapphire napkins like these from Atelier Saucier would look beautiful on a Hanukkah tablescape.

CB2 Joyce Bud Vase

clear bud vase

CB2

Finish off your tablescape with florals. "Be mindful of movement and conversation, don’t feel like you need to go over the top with flowers," Inspektor says. "A few gorgeous stems scattered around the table in bud vases can go a long way.”

Vietri Mistletoe Oval Platter

green serving platter

Saks Fifth Avenue

Other items you will need for a successful dinner party include plenty of servingware—this includes serving dishes, plateware, and serving spoons, per Reed and Inspektor. We suggest investing in a holiday-themed set of servingware that you will look forward to using every season when your turn to host rolls around. Whether you opt for a solid color set or pick pieces with holiday motifs, like the one shown above, you can't go wrong.