December 2019

Jen Bridgman’s tips for setting an easy holiday table

Jen Bridgman runs the blog The Chronicles of Home from her home outside Boston, Massachusetts, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. Jen is a maker at heart and shares recipes, home improvement projects, step-by-step tutorials, and room makeovers. She works to inspire everyone from the new homeowner to the seasoned decorator looking for a little inspiration or DIY know-how. 

With everything else you have to think about and do around the holidays, setting a festive table might feel like a daunting task. But I’m here today with some simple tips to help you set an easy holiday table in no time! 

I have five steps I like to follow when I’m ready to set the table for Christmas brunch or dinner. These suggestions make the process simple and stress free. 

1 | Hang wreaths and garlands.

Hands down, my favorite things to decorate with for Christmas are wreaths and garlands. I like to find spots around my dining table on which to hang wreaths and garlands. They can include a dining room hutch, windows, even wall mirrors and artwork. 

When it comes to these pieces, good-quality preserved wreaths are worth splurging on. You can use them year after year like faux pieces but they come closer to the look and smell of the real thing than ones made from manufactured materials.

The cedar and pinecone preserved wreath and garlands I hung behind my table are luxe and full and add instant festivity to the dining space. They smell amazing too!

2 | Choose a color scheme.

It might sound like micro-managing your holiday table, but having a color scheme in mind helps the whole table setting feel intentional and cohesive. Pick your colors and don’t stray from them. For this table setting, I wanted to work with red, green, white, and aqua blue. The aqua isn’t classic for Christmas but I love the freshness it adds to an otherwise traditional color scheme. 

I used a red linen runner down the middle of the table to bring red into the mix and worked the white and aqua in with a mixture of plates and bowls from the Sintra Stoneware Collection. These handmade pieces are truly works of art. Each one is thrown, painted, and finished by hand so each piece is unique. They’re stunning and add the perfect unexpected pop of color to my holiday table.

3 | Add candles.

An assortment of taper and/or pillar candles of varying heights makes a table setting feel elegant. There is just nothing like the glow of candlelight this time of year. 

I have a collection of both new and vintage brass candlesticks that are my go-tos when I’m setting a table, but if you don’t have taper candlesticks, pillar candles work beautifully too. Just scatter them at intervals down the length of your table runner, varying their heights. White candles are my favorite for their classic look. Just make sure you get unscented candles; perfume-y smells can be off-putting during a meal.

4 | More greenery!

In addition to wreaths and garlands hung around the room, I like to tuck either fresh or faux greenery around the candles on the table. It fills empty space and adds a lush, full feel to the setting. I used a couple of faux bay leaf garlands that I had here, but clippings from evergreens in your yard work perfectly too! Plus, adding the green to my table setting rounded out my red, green, white, and aqua color scheme. 

5 | Include something whimsical.

If there’s any time of year that’s laden with whimsy, it’s Christmas, and I love to incorporate something a little whimsical into my table setting. I absolutely adored this Hats and Mittens Fair Isle Advent Calendar the moment I saw it, and knew it would lend a playful touch to my kitchen table area. It’s so beautifully made and can be hung on a mantle, around a window, or draped over a mirror as I’ve done here. My children love fetching their advent treats every morning and I love that it’s such a beautiful, fun addition to my table setting. No matter what you do to set your holiday table this year, I hope you have fun doing it!

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