Setting a holiday table

Setting a holiday table

Local tastemakers offer suggestions for creating festive tablescape.

Velvet pumpkins are a favorite holiday accessory of Courtney Thomas of The Picket Fence in Burke.

Velvet pumpkins are a favorite holiday accessory of Courtney Thomas of The Picket Fence in Burke. Photo by Courtney Thomas

As Thanksgiving draws near, thoughts of table settings and holiday décor abound. In the midst of a flurry of activity — from shopping to chopping and roasting the perfect turkey to creating seating charts — it’s easy to let holiday décor and tablescapes become an afterthought. The right accessories, however, can set the tone for a festive gathering.
“Decorating for the holidays in my house is always done with candles, fruit and flowers,” said interior designer Gretchen Fuss of Gretchen Fuss Works of Art and Interior Design. It’s “festive but simple.”
Look to nature, advises Anne Walker of Anne Walker Interior Design, because some of the best holiday decorations are found not at a store, but in your own backyard. “Holly branches in a big white vase make a beautiful centerpiece,” said Walker. “Pinecones in a ceramic bowl or galvanized steel bin can add interest to any otherwise empty corner.”

“Placing greenery in unexpected locations like a chandelier can also bring another interesting element to the tabletop,” agreed Marika Meyer of Marika Meyer Interiors and Marika Meyer Textiles. 
A local produce stand can also serve as inspiration for autumnal décor. Mini pumpkins, for example, can be used as place cards, suggests Courtney Thomas of The Picket Fence in Burke. “Simply write each guest's name on a small pumpkin or gourd and place at each seat,” she said. “Finish off each place setting with a chocolate turkey tied up with a festive bow. [This] lets the food be the star.”
Hollowing out a large pumpkin and using it as a vase to hold flowers for a centerpiece helps keep the autumnal theme consistent, she adds. “Keep things simple,” said Thomas. “Scatter gourds or acorns down the middle of the table and add some seasonal candles in your favorite candlesticks.“

She also recommends decorative pumpkins, especially velvet pumpkins: “Add some luxe to your Thanksgiving décor with velvet pumpkins. Made with stems from real pumpkins, each one is unique. Group a few on an entry table or sideboard or add some to your table décor.”
An easy way to change up your everyday dinnerware and make a statement is to upgrade your salad plates. “An interesting salad plate sitting on top of your dinner plate can add a pop to your tabletop,” said Meyer. “Custom napkins can also bring color or pattern to the tabletop.” 
However, before purchasing new holiday décor, Walker advises editing what you already own. “Go through your holiday decorations with a keen eye, and weed out any that no longer bring you joy for whatever reason,” she said. “Maybe they’ve gotten a bit old and worn or maybe they don’t match the current style of your furnishings or maybe you’ve just grown tired of them.”
Maybe your wreath has seen better days as well. In fact, one of the keys to holiday decorating, according to Meyer, is layering and it starts at the front door. “We love to dress a front door by flanking it with white poinsettias and a wreath for the door,” she said. “Magnolia or boxwood wreaths are a perfect option to welcome your guests.”