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The Christmas table:

in three looks

We all want our homes to feel a little magical at Christmas time. From our front doors and hallways to the Christmas tree and roaring fireplace, together with our families we create spectacles to enchant. One of the most important elements of our Yuletide interiors though has to be the dining table. Whether yours is set in its own room or within the hustle and bustle of the kitchen, we look at three of our favourite ways to decorate tabletop, chairs and the area that surrounds them.

Cosy. Country. Heritage.

We set this scene in a beautiful barn conversion, but the elements will all translate just as easily to a chocolate-box cottage. The two key features of this interior are timber and light.

Timber

The beams are an emphasis but the real focus is much lower down in the room. A sturdy statement table is what roots this entire look. Our Balmoral is traditional in style and its solid oak baluster legs are impossible not to notice. Around it we use our oak Suffolk dining chairs that have a lighter frame so the room doesn't become overpowered by wood.

Timber will always exude warmth and is what helps to create a 'winter woodland' theme as we call it. To build this feeling further, you can pull in your log basket as a prop, or stack chopped logs nearby as we've done in this photograph.

Light

Strands of fairy lights are a real must in any Christmas scene. Their twinkling bulbs in warm white can make a room quite mesmerising. They work well hung from above, so if you do have exposed beams or rafters that you can wrap them around, then make the most of them. Otherwise, get creative and work with what your room has to offer. It might be that you have shelves or artwork that you can drape them along. Fairy lights will also look lovely down a table's centre, but here we've used them more as the backdrop, dotting them along the timber-clad cupboard area that lines the walls, in between garlands of green.

Then there are the candles, another staple in your Christmas table setting. We've used our Charcoal-coloured Blyton pillar candles down the length of the table. They feel even more cosy with the depth of shade in their wax contrasting with the glow of the flame. And sat bedside them are a few of our dappled Neve tealight holders. It always works better to have a mixture of pillar and holder so your display is varied, but it's all about balance. Your tabletop needs to mix things up enough, but not so much that it becomes chaos as your food will also form part of the display when it's served. Your backdrop is where you can introduce more contrasting characters. We've used our Chancery and Highbury candlesticks, our mercurised gold Erith tealight holders, as well as an assortment of our glass hurricane lanterns all around the room and yet it all perfectly pulls together.

Comfort

The other key thing to mention in our country barn scene is the use of textiles. A simple linen tablecloth (see our Emily design) softens the strength of the table in an instant, and with the addition of a few chunky wool throws on chair backs and plump velvet cushions on the nearby bench, the entire room becomes soft and snug.

Contemporary yet classic

Next we move to a space that bridges both the traditional and the now. It's much more of a clean, modern-day scene but by using our refectory-style Balmoral table and 19th-century style armchairs, it stops the scene from becoming too cutting-edge contemporary and instead it establishes itself as more of a new classic.

Colour

When we think of preparing for Christmas, we rarely consider repainting a room. But the Charcoal grey walls are one of the most noteworthy aspects of this setting. A contemporary Christmas is about challenging the norms of traditions like a red and green palette and showing that darker shades can be just as cosy. Moreover, by keeping the palette a little more pared-back, the warmth of the decorations really shines through.

Paper pinwheels

Creating decorations that hang above the table is a novel way to keep your tabletop a little more minimal. Paper pinwheels are a fun, festive decoration to make with children and satisfy the 'hand-crafted' goal that we all hope to fulfil in some shape or form. Crisp white lifts the grey wall behind it and the two together remind us of snow falling from heavy skies. Mix in a few monochrome paper chains, golden baubles (try the Neve or Aurelia) and dangling pieces of fern and the result is a suspended masterpiece that's fresh, different and a little Nordic in style.

Seating

We always prefer to be sat somewhere comfy and will pick an armchair over a dining chair if ever given the option. But the armchair isn't a typical sight around the dining table, which is what makes this festive dining scene all the more enticing. Our William and Amelia armchairs are classic in shape and are a wonderfully indulgent seating option at Christmas time.

Pretty and peaceful

This scene was a bit of a showstopper from our Christmas photoshoot last year so we decided to revisit it. It's a happy medium between traditional and contemporary and is probably the most creative scene of them all. Like with our first image, there are two key features of this look that sing the loudest: the branch and the abundance in cosiness.

The branch

This is something that every person who visits your home will want to talk about and every guest will remember. And it's actually rather easy to recreate. It starts with a winter walk (a wonderful place to start) in search of the perfect branch. Ideally you want one that's going to stretch the full length of your table, even if it's just a single skinny twig that reaches out to the end. It's always best to pick one that's slightly too big as you can always cut the twigs down to size if need be. Bring it home with you and decorate it with fairy lights before you suspend it (our Grosvenor ones are battery powered so you needn't worry about finding a place to plug them in). Then take two or three (depending on the size of your branch) pieces of twine or ribbon that you'll use to hang it from above. You want it to be thick enough that it can take the weight of the branch without risking it falling. Attach it to the ceiling (from beams if you have them, or if your ceiling is flat, you can get subtle adhesive hooks that stick of the ceiling and can be removed when Christmas has been and gone) and then you get to the fun part of adding baubles. We've used a mixture of our pretty Betty and Anabel designs that blend clear, etched and dappled mercury finishes.

Creating cosiness

As we mention above, the branch is relatively easy to recreate at home, but the cosiness scene in this scene is even simpler to replicate. The Delyth sheepskin rug is used interchangeably with our Ermine velvet cushions as indulgent seat pads on the Arundel bench. If you'd prefer to use dining chairs though, the Delyth is divine draped down the seat so not only can your guests get cosy sat upon it, but they can lean back into its snuggly embrace too.