Whenever we do our Christmas photoshoots, there’s a lot of build up to any that involve a dining table. It’s the shot that’s usurped the Christmas tree. It’s overtaken the festive fireplace. Delicious food and gathering those closest to you around the table is the most cherished part of Christmas Day, and so it’s no surprise that it’s become the most memorable setting in the entire house.
Last year, our dining table was guided by the inspiration that fuelled our entire autumn/winter collection: modern mixology. It’s a style that’s just as relevant to us now, that blends contemporary craft with heritage materials and traditional silhouettes. It’ll translate to city loft apartments as much as it will to country retreats.
We styled it in two subtly different ways, one a little cosier, enveloped by dark-toned walls, the other brighter, fresher and playful. But as the centrepiece of both we featured handmade decorations – paper pinwheels, modern paper chains and foraged foliage. The best bit? It’s really rather easy to recreate.
Pinwheels are so simple to make, even for less-artistic types, and children will just love to help. We used a variety of sizes and decorative touches so the look wouldn’t be too consistent and so it would keep the eye entertained. Take a sheet of normal A4 paper to practice on. Concertina it (like when you made pretend fans as a child) and then press all the folds together. Make a simple triangle-shaped snip into the one side, cutting through all of the folds, and then open it out into a semi-circle shape. Repeat identically on another sheet of A4 and join them together to form one big circle. You can do as many practice-goes as you need, experimenting with size and design and then move onto the real thing, hanging them using festive ribbon or baker’s twine and suspending them from beams, rafters and anything else that’s above your table. Mix in some long sprigs and fallen twigs from fir trees, speckled with fairy lights. Create a contemporary monochrome paper chain. And then hang them all together with glass decorations to catch the light, overlapping, occasionally entangling and absolutely mesmerising. Or, opt for pinwheels alone, and include foliage and baubles on your tabletop below.
Why it works Paper pinwheels are so nostalgic that they can’t help but make you smile. They’re quite minimal in their looks and so have a subtle Nordic-ness to them which brings another style dimension to your scheme. And they’re unexpected. Surprises are an integral part of Christmas Day after all.