The trend for dark blooms in sumptuous colours of plum, grey and black is a beautiful romantic look that we have all fallen in love with and it lends itself beautifully to this time of year, when the nights are drawing in and those deep berry colours are just perfect for Christmas decor ideas.
As soon as I was asked to design a table scape my thoughts returned to the photography I’d styled for my shoot with Rachael @objectstyle a lovely independent shop in Chorlton Manchester. Working along side Rachael and photographer Lucy Sugden Smith, we created four key looks for a table ware hire service that Rachael and her husband Alex offer as an extension of their business.
Out of the four looks created, the one we called dark blooms, lent itself perfectly to Christmas, with just some added seasonal decorations and I thought this was the perfect look to create and demonstrate to the guests of @thewomensinstatute on the day.
The first rule (although I hate rules in general) when dressing a table is to not just think about the flat surface of the table. Consider above and around the table and create layers and different heights and play with scale. Also think about sparking all of the senses. As well as the sight of the table, incorporate smell, using candles and fresh flowers and foliage, scented by plants such as eucalyptus, rosemary and fresh berries. Touch is also important and can be added by using different textures and materials, such as linen, velvet, fur, marble & glass. Your table is not just a place for people to gather for a meal, it’s a way of showcasing your creativity.
Start the layering by covering the table surface with a table cloth. Use whatever you want here to create some added texture. In the past I have used an old tartan blanket and some rough hessian sacking cloth but as long as it sits with your chosen theme, go for it! You can even have a piece of fabric cut to size that you can hem around if you can’t find the perfect colour or size. The only thing I would be wary of is using patterned fabric as it might be difficult to make everything cohesive once you start layering?
Next add another layer with a runner in a different texture, so if you’ve used a linen table cloth, add a velvet runner to contrast with the textures. Then add coasters and table mats using metallic, marble, slate, beaded mats, anything you want. I have some old Brooklyn tin tiles at home, which I’ve used which add a lovely patina. A further layer is introduced with plates and bowls and then a selection of glasses in different heights, including, wine, champagne and water.
Next add the cutlery which comes in so many finishes from silver, to brass, black and copper. I’ve used brass cutlery to bring a feeling of glamour to the table. Christmas is the one time of year where more is more? There are so many ways to display cutlery on a table. You can simply tie it together with twine or ribbon or place it in a jug or vintage jam jar for a more rustic theme or you can create a pocket from the table napkin for the cutlery to sit in as I’ve done here. It creates a more formal look and you can then add a decorative finish to the napkin by using contrasting ribbon and a single bloom or piece of foliage or a feather as I have here. To add a further bit of glitz for Christmas, I simply sprayed the tip of the feather with hairspray and quickly sprinkled with fine glitter before the hairspray set.
Think about creating height on the table and playing with scale. Candles are a perfect way to do this by using different types of candle holders, from candelabra using tall taper candles and pillar candles in lanterns and then lower level tea lights and votives. If you have time to make your own candles you can use vintage tin chocolate moulds or vintage glasses to add an industrial recycled look to the theme to stop it becoming too formal. Taper candles and votives are also a perfect way to add co-ordinating colour to your table. In the finished table scape below, I used burgundy,black & grey taper candles to bring the whole colour scheme together.
Another way of creating layers is with flowers and foliage. Add a low level strand of ivy or a garland of foliage along the length of the table with various heights of seasonal flower arrangements in the centre of the table. To create even more Christmas atmosphere, you can never have too many string lights. Add them into bell jars, lanterns and twist them around the evergreen garland on your table. Pay attention to the surrounding room and create further drama by adding something over the top of the table such as a foliage wreath or winter branch which you can wrap lights around or add further colour by adding different layers of paper pomme pommes or paper stars.
If you want your table to be more formal, add names cards. A cheap and visually stunning way to do this is to spray pears or figs, matt black or gold or copper or sprinkle them with glitter, by using the simple hairspray method again!. Then tie a luggage tag with each person’s name around the stem. These beautiful calligraphy tags were created by the very talented Fiona @lt.m.id who is available for commissions for your special events.
Finally, it’s not Christmas without a party cracker to pull. You can make your own to co-ordinate with your table theme simply and easily, using wallpaper or gift wrap. Here I used some wallpaper by Woodchip&Magnolia and tied a contrast plum colour ribbon around the ends to pick up on the plum of the table napkins and flowers. This is a great and simple Christmas craft project to make with children. Click on the Youtube link below to see how to.