Berry and bright
“This one’s a really great example of how to balance classic and contemporary design. We folded one of our Emily linen tablecloths to create a central runner. That’s quite a traditional thing to do but linen changes the character completely and the mixture of decorations on top stops it being anything like an old-fashioned table runner.
“Over the top of that, we overlaid a combination of our life-like stems and sprigs. This year, we have a new soft green eucalyptus spray that comes with frosted damson berries. It’s such a welcome change to just having pine and holly berry garlands. Mix some traditional greenery in though, but try to choose more sparse bursts of pine like our new Halcyon garland or Giant Pine spray, which has tufts of needles rather than a whole bushy length. This look is all about lightness and layers so anything heavy won’t look quite right. Choosing lighter pieces of greenery means there’s more room to weave in other pieces too. If you lean in, you’ll see the occasional glimmer of gold from our Oralie strand and Antique Gold Berry twigs.
“With a nice bed of stems laid out, now you need to add height and light. It’s nice to have some of your candlesticks and tealight cups to match so it’s not disjointed, but it’s good to mix in a few different styles. We’ve kept to glass and golden tones on this tabletop, like our etched Neve holders and taller Highbury and Rosedale candlesticks with long and elegant tapered Forster candles. But the odd surprise that doesn’t quite ‘go’ like the darker bronze Coatbridge candlesticks makes sure your look is broken up a bit. Contrast actually makes it all hang together that bit better.
“Keep your table settings quite simple here, because it’s the central section that’s meant to dominate. No placemats and just a matching linen napkin with a subtle napkin tie or ring is all you need.”
Contemporary with Nordic notes
“Not everybody wants to follow the usual Christmas route, which is why we wanted to create a more pared-back festive tabletop that’s a bit Scandi in influence. Instead of a fabric runner, we’ve used a strip of our Blizzard wrapping paper. It’s such an easy alternative (and a practical one). On top of that, we’ve created several vase arrangements using our more modern Castleford bottle vases and a mixture of gnarly twigs from our Flower Shop. The Willow twigs will give you real height, but use the wider Castleford and they’ll fan outwards so you get a good spread of branches upwards and outwards. One or two stems of our moss-coated twigs and even a touch of our whiter ones like Berry Spray White will help things to look a bit more frosted and seasonal. The Amber twigs are coated in glitter so you can pop some of those in for some extra sparkle if you like too.
“What’s so great about these branches is that it gives you a secondary Christmas tree but in a much more minimal way. Hang some of our glass decorations alongside ceramic ones (glazed and matte) and then dot a few standing ornaments next to the vases and down the length of the table. We’ve used our glazed Kielder trees and a few Rosedale glass candlesticks. Place those in front of the vases and the glass almost melts away, so from a distance your candles look like they’re floating.
“Placemats work here because you’ve kept texture to a minimum, so choose something like Ashcroft over Emily because you want to keep things crisp. We’ve wrapped a little gift as part of each place setting as a way to bring real warmth and thoughtfulness. They’re a lovely alternative to doing crackers.”
“A few years ago, we used a branch covered with hanging baubles and fairy lights over one of our Christmas tables. We were so pleased that so many people wanted to recreate it at home, and every year since, we’ve played with new ideas based on that look, from pinwheels to what we’ve done here. We’ve teased a few life-like stems around the branch, like burnished red rosehips and russet-toned snowberries. It helps to give it more colour and texture. Wrap them tightly enough and the inner wire should hold them steady, but you can always use skinny cable ties or baker’s twine if you’re worried. Add battery-powered strand lights around the main body of the branch if you want it to twinkle too, like Goring or Grosvenor.
“The suspended branch idea won’t work for everybody. If your ceilings are sky-high then you won’t get the effect, but otherwise, so long as you’re happy for there to be two or three (depending on the size of your table and branch) hooks in your ceiling (you can paint them the same colour as your ceiling to help them blend in, and take them out again afterwards), then it’s not too difficult to set up. You can use twine, ribbon or clear and strong wire to hang it – you want it at a height that’s low enough to create some drama, but not so low that whatever you hang from the branches is going to get in the way. Here, we’ve used lots of our hanging glass tealight holders (Kate comes in different shapes and sizes, so it’s nice to mix them up) and a few of the Jasmine hanging stars and hearts. You can snip the twine and use velvet ribbon to create a hanging loop too if you’d like a touch of decadence.
“Because of the warmth of the bark, we wanted to make this scene more about cosy, comforting, rich colours. That’s the real message here. The warming colours of Christmas. We’ve gone for another table runner, but we had this one made using our Lorne fabric whose tonal plaid pattern felt especially fireside. And, instead of lots of glass and metallics, we’ve chosen to show greenery in our Sorrel pots and candlelight on our textured stone candlesticks. These are all ways to reinforce the rough texture of the tree bark, helping you to tie the whole look together. But to stop it from feeling too outdoors-y, we’ve used the most rust-hued cushions and blankets than any other scene. As soon as you walk into the room, you’ll get this cosy, outdoor fire feeling, that’s wintery and warm at the same time.”