holiday party tablescapeLast week I kicked off my holiday party planning blog series in collaboration with Moen, where I shared my overall inspiration and design direction for the soirée! This week, I’m focusing my planning efforts on the holiday party tablescape. As I wrote about last week, my plan is for the table to have an organic-inspired theme with a festive twist. As I started to pull together all the various elements of the table, I realized that there’s actually a fair number of essential pieces that every holiday table needs. So, with that in mind, I thought it would useful to make a holiday dinner party ‘infographic’! It details all the elements that I feel are the 14 must-haves of a holiday party tablescape. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

1. CHARGER | Every set of dinnerware needs anchoring to the table with a charger. Think of this as the neutral that tempers the colors and textures you add into the rest of the tablescape. You don’t want the charger to the centerpiece of your holiday party tablescape, but rather that all important supporting cast member that helps propel the rest of the table to shining success.
2. DINNER PLATE | Next, layer on your dinner plate. Personally, I don’t like my dinner plates to be too fussy. After all, you want the food that’s on the plates to shine. Save pattern and playfulness for other elements in the tablescape.
3. SALAD PLATE | OK, so here’s where I start to introduce some pattern to the table. Perhaps it’s a cross, maybe a stripe or even a watercolor.
4. NAPKINS | Napkins are also a fun element to introduce pattern and color to your holiday party tablescape. For me, a classic stripe never fails and it’s pleasing to everyone – who doesn’t love a stripe?!
5. NAPKIN RINGS | Smaller details of the table, such as the napkin rings, offer the opportunity to add a little glam and sparkle to the table. Think: a touch of brass or a hint of shimmer via a jeweled ring.
6. GLASSWARE | Normally, I like to keep glassware on the minimal side but if you can’t be a little extra during the holidays, when can you?! Am I right or am I right? Thought so! OK, so definitely inject a little festivity into the table via your glassware. Also, coupes instead of flutes are a great option to switch things up and make the holiday party tablescape feel more special!
7. FLATWARE | Here you could either go for something modern and chic like a matte black flatware set, or something more glam such as gold. I’m torn between the two for my holiday party tablescape, so you’ll have to stay tuned to see which I pick when I post the big reveal in December!
8. CENTERPIECE | Here’s the thing: I love a dramatic and statement-making centerpiece. The problem is anything too tall and wide blocks the view across the table and can stunt the flow of conversation. I like to use beautiful foliage to fill the table and make a wow moment, and then use a simple yet elegant candleholder to add ambiance and height, without blocking eye-contact between guests.
9. SERVING PLATTER | Just like the dinner plates, keep your serving platters simple to allow the food its chance to shine. A subtle texture or metallic rim is fine, but keep the field of the platter clean and simple.
10. TABLE LINENS | Linens are so important and I use them as an opportunity to tell the theme and color story of the tablescape scheme. I’m going for an organic theme with hints of seasonal greens, so a table runner with natural tones and a green accent is perfect for the look.
11. SCENTED CANDLES | You want your holiday party tablescape to speak to all of the senses so don’t forget smell. Of course, the food itself will bring an aroma all its own but remember it’s short lived! A beautifully seasonal scented candle keeps the party smelling festive long after the first course has been eaten.
12. PLACENAME CARDS | Here’s another opportunity to doing something playful with your tablescape. I always think a hand-written touch with this design element of the table goes a long way to personalizing the occasion.
13. CUSHION | As well as the table itself, think about adding some additional seasonal touches around the table. For example, if you have a banquet, why not add some festive pillows to your assortment? Little details like this make all the difference!
14. SEASONAL FOLIAGE | To be honest, no holiday party tablescape is complete without fresh foliage but especially so if you are planning to have an organic-inspired theme like I am. Add some red berries for an instant festive feel.

Sources: fig.1 | fig.2 | fig.3 | fig.4 | fig.5 | fig.6 | fig.7 | fig.8 | fig.9 | fig.10 | fig.11 | fig.12 | fig.13 | fig.14 | Top photograph features product from H&M Home.

// Original mood board designed for and posted in partnership with Moen.


Will Taylor

Will lives in NYC and is an interior design author and content creator. He's been blogging about his love of design, style and travel since 2009. His #MakeYouSmileStyle approach to decorating and dressing has inspired over one million Instagram uploads to the hashtag from followers across the world.


  1. love how your posts share practical advice as well as images…another great one will!

  2. Alice Frost Reply

    I’m going to have to stop reading your blog, I want to buy something every time I do!! 😉 I need at least 3 of those scented candles from spacenk right?! hahaha

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Hey, I'm Will

Welcome to Bright.Bazaar, my make-you-smile style corner of the internet. I’ve been sharing my love of beautiful design, feel-good homes, everyday style, inspiring travel and, pretty much everything in between, since 2009. As well as working as a content creator, I write interior design books and edit a bi-weekly e-newsletter called Smile Mail. I live in New York City with my heartmate and can often be found listening to Madonna’s Confessions album and dreaming up my next home renovation project.