(BPT) - Every holiday season, you invest hours planning and preparing the perfect menu for each celebration you host. While easy and fun may be the name of the game for buffet-style events, when it's a sit-down soiree, the delightful cuisine you produce deserves a presentation worthy of your efforts. A beautifully set table can elevate your holiday dinner from just great to simply perfect.
"Table-setting is an art form anyone can learn to execute beautifully," says Mary Bernardo, director of product development at Princess House, a leading provider of unique and exclusive cookware, food storage and home and entertainment products. "Simple touches like elegant holiday plates, colorful linens and an eye-catching centerpiece ensure a holiday table looks as inviting as the food smells."
Bernardo and the table decor experts at Princess House offer these tips for creating a beautiful holiday dinner table:
Layers look lovely
Tablecloths, placemats, table runners and chargers not only help protect your table from spills and scrapes, but they also create a lovely backdrop for dishes, glasses, stemware and - of course - the food. Layering these items adds depth and interest to the tabletop.
Consider starting off with a simple white or red tablecloth, and then add either placemats in seasonal patterns or a festive runner. If chargers take up too much room on the table (or too much of your holiday budget), you can layer dinner and lunch plates to create the same effect. For example, place a Pavillion Berry Dinner Plate from Princess House beneath a Poinsettia Lunch Plate. The solid deep red of the dinner plate is the perfect complement to the elegant creamy background and poinsettia pattern of the lunch plate.
Keep dishware seasonal and simple
"It's been said simplicity is the soul of elegance, and that's certainly true when you're setting a holiday dinner table," Bernardo says.
Choose dishes with a basic white or cream background accented with a traditional holiday motif. Flatware should also be simple; if your everyday collection is in good condition, feel free to use it for your holiday celebrations. If you don't have enough pieces, supplement with basic flatware that's free of embellishment or heavy designs. Glassware should also be simple and, whenever possible, multi-functional. For example, stemless wine glasses can be used for soft drinks and water, as well as wine.
Add seasonal accents
Even the simplest table setting can feel festive when you add holiday-specific touches, like napkin rings in jewel green or red, a centerpiece filled with evergreen or holly and twinkling candles.
For a centerpiece that's festive and practical, consider using your favorite holiday serving bowl, such as a crystal bowl, for the foundation. Then add holiday decor items, like mini Christmas packages, your favorite Christmas tree decorations or a pillar candle in a holiday hue like red, green or snow white. Top with a few sprigs of evergreen, holly or fresh flowers and you have an easy, elegant DIY centerpiece.
Finally, don't overlook the opportunity to extend the table's festive atmosphere to the chairs as well. You can add to their elegance by adding simple decoration such as a mini-holiday wreath strung on a piece of ribbon and looped over the back of the chair.
"The dinner table is where holiday magic occurs," Bernardo says. "With a few special touches, you can set a holiday table that's perfect for the festive and welcoming spirit of the season."