The halls are decked with boughs of holly and the tree is dressed to the nines so now it’s time to turn your attention to the table. When it comes to creating magic at mealtime, it’s the finishing touches that count.
‘Tablescaping’ has now become an artform which includes the assembly of place cards, a striking centrepiece and even twinkling lights but going the extra mile doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. Below are five tips on how to razzle dazzle your Christmas dinner table while on a budget.
Decide on a colour for the tablecloth
Whether you’re going for simple and understated or big, bold and beautiful, your colour scheme will be the framework for your tablescape. A white tablecloth is a blank canvas for any kind of design or if you want something brighter, consider dyeing an old tablecloth which can be bought from eBay or a charity shop. DYLON Dyes Machine Pods provide perfect, long-lasting and intense colour results. The brand’s Rosewood Red or the brighter Tulip Red will bring some festive fun to your table. The dyes are an all-in-one formula and are completely safe for your washing machine. The dye can be used on cotton, linen and viscose and it’s important that the item doesn’t have any fabric treatment like a fire retardant or water protection coating as this could prevent it from being dyed. The colour you choose for your tablecloth will end up influencing your table centrepiece.
Match the colour of the napkins with the tablecloth
The tablecloth and the napkins need to complement each other so if you’re having a red tablecloth, decide whether you want to go bold and have green napkins for an all-out Chrimbo scheme. Alternatively, if you prefer to go for an elegant feel, keep the napkins neutral. Either way, the same trick of using a fabric dye can be applied to napkins. Shades such as Forest Green bring classic sophistication to any home or you can go for a neutral shade of Sandy Beige if you’d prefer to pare things back.
Choose a centrepiece
No tablescape is complete without a piece de la resistance in its centre and there are ways to create one without spending a single penny or generating waste. Head to your local park and look for any scattered small branches laying around. Gather several and cut them down to equal lengths. Once placed in a vase, you can hang baubles from the arms for a natural but impressive display. These should be co-ordinated with the colour of your tablecloth. Any spare tinsel can be spread along the centre for a bit of extra Christmas sparkle.
Handmade place cards
The choice here is endless so this is definitely the moment to get creative or perhaps get the kids involved. Go simple with a small place card resting on a napkin with a small bunch of herbs tied with twine or ask the kids to bake some Christmas spice biscuits and cut them into reindeer shapes, elves or candy sticks – whatever takes your fancy. Make a small hole for pretty ribbon to hold the place card and tie them to the dining room chairs. These will go down a storm because the little details always end up being noticed.
Think about the lights
Nothing says Christmas quite the way fairy lights do and having them twinkle on your table can make all the difference. A large glass vase can be filled with baubles and lights for an impressive looking centrepiece or they can even be stuffed into empty wine or champagne bottles. Of course, you can dot the odd tealight around the table which can be just as impressive but remember to warn your guests to be careful of catching their elbows on a naked flame while reaching for the cranberry sauce!