Christmas table decoration ideas for decadent dinners and chic soirées

From personalised place settings to dramatic centrepieces, these ideas will get you prepped for the big day

Brightly coloured Christmas tablescape using secondhand finds.
(Image credit: Future)

Your table takes centre stage over the festive period from eating and drinking to playing games well into the night, so you'll want to ensure your Christmas table decoration ideas are as pretty as can be.  

Whether you like to keep the theme pared-back so that the food can do the talking, or you're a fan of an eclectic tablescape full of candles, foliage and decadent tableware, our Christmas ideas are plentiful and ready to inspire you.  

Christmas table decoration ideas

There are lots of ways to make a beautiful Christmas table decoration and many won't break the bank. But if you are looking to go all out, the art of tablescaping might be one you don't want to miss.

'Tablescaping is a great way to express your personality and inject individuality into the home at Christmas,' says Rosie Ward, Creative Director at Ward & Co. 'This year, many of us are hoping to go big with our festive scenery, pulling out all the stops to enjoy time together and celebrate around the table.'

Whatever your style, theme or budget, let these Christmas table decoration ideas inspire and delight you.

1. Embrace colour for Christmas

Christmas table decoration ideas embrace colour

(Image credit: Future Plc)

While red and green is a fairly traditional Christmas colour scheme for decorating the table, you can give it a contemporary twist by mixing it with pops of unexpected hues. Try shades of blue, lilac and pink for a more lively take on this classic pairing. 

Painted furniture in bold blue teams perfectly with coloured glassware and crackers tied with ribbons for a Christmas table decoration idea full of personality.

Use the same ribbon to hang decorations from the chair backs to complete the look. 

2. Go bold with bows

Christmas table decoration ideas use bright bows

(Image credit: Sophie Allport)

Don't underestimate the power of a reel of ribbon! This Claret red stripe ribbon, £5.50 for 3m, Sophie Allport has a fabulous festive feel that will finish off a Christmas table decoration idea.

Sophie says,' A red ribbon tied beautifully around your napkins in a bow will add a festive feel to your table setting. It will feel like unwrapping a gift before lunch is served. Run scissors down the ends of the ribbon to create effortless curls which add texture and fullness to the table'. You can easily tie ribbon around napkins for a simple Christmas DIY, or even around the stem of glasses to spruce up an evening soiree. 

3. Shop secondhand for antique allure

Brightly coloured Christmas tablescape using secondhand finds.

(Image credit: eBay)

Shopping secondhand for your Christmas table decoration ideas is a great way to save money over festive period and curate an eclectic tablescape with an authentic vintage feel.  

Retro maximalist decor is one of the biggest Christmas tree trends this year, so you can't go wrong with taking this more-is-more approach over to your table decorations. 

'The 70s is a huge trend this season, and so another amazing way to style your Christmas table is to take inspiration from the coolest decade as they really did Christmas like no other,' says stylist and author, Zeena Shah

'There are so many unique second-hand gems on eBay that will impress your guests and create a unique tablescape. My favourite tablescapes incorporate lots of variety- dial into some dopamine decor and add some pinks and oranges to your table. Retro patterns like gingham and checks are such a lovely way to bring some fun to your festive feast too!'

Zeena Shah
Zeena Shah

Zeena Shah is a Chelsea School of Art-trained textile designer who advocates for colourful, maximalist interiors. She's a stylist, blogger and author of the book 'Marbling: Projects, Design Ideas and Techniques for a More Colourful Life'. She also regularly hosts creative workshops on marbling and tablescaping. 

4. Delight guests with gifts

Christmas tablecsape with present with marbled wrapping paper.

(Image credit: Future)

Add a personal touch to Christmas place settings with hand-picked gifts or sweet treats for family and friends. Pop inside gift boxes wrapped in hand-marbled paper (like this pink hand-printed paper from Molly Mahon) and tie with a contrasting ribbon for a personal and pretty look.

Lucy St George, Co-Founder of Rockett St George says, 'A simple but incredibly effective way of making your loved ones feel special on Christmas day is to curate personal place settings for your guests. Once the foundations of your dining table are set we recommend embellishing with decorative pieces such as twine and ribbon and thread baubles through them. For that extra special touch pop a little table gift in their place setting for them to open on Christmas day.'

5. Mesmerize with metallics

Christmas tablescape with gold tabelcloth and accessories.

(Image credit: Future)

Make dinner a relaxed affair with a twinkling Christmas table decoration idea. A gold tablecloth adds drama, then group candlesticks so they form an elegant centrepiece. Irridescent glassware (like this fluted wine glass from Habitat), will also help light to reflect around the table setting for a glam feel. 

Alternatively, run a faux metallic garland down the centre of your table, entwining it around the candles and nestling sprigs of artificial berries along its length.

6. Make your own crackers

Homemade cracker on Christmas place setting

(Image credit: Future PLC / Max Attenborough)

A little goes a long way when it comes to decorating the Christmas table. This year why not make your own crackers? To save on budget and waste, because both are much-needed at this time of the year. Plus, who doesn't love having a go at Christmas craft ideas? Aside from the bang of pulling a cracker, there's nothing you'll miss from making your own.

Simply place a treat inside a cardboard roll, wrap crepe paper or even fabric scraps around, then tie the ends with ribbon. You could even write your own jokes for inside, simply ask Google for the best cracker jokes.

7. Add a personalised touch

Gold tray on dining table with personalised labels

(Image credit: Future PLC)

We're all used to place settings at formal gatherings, but make sure you enhance the sense of occasion by including them in your Christmas table decorations. If you're having drinks before dinner or will be moving to another room after eating, then consider attaching the name tags to ribbons.

These tags can be quickly and easily handmade in line with your Christmas dining room ideas design. Once your guests have been seated, encourage them to tie the ribbon around the base of their glass as a helpful way to identify glassware as people start to move around the home.

8. Use festive flatware

Dining table with lanterns and Christmas flatware

(Image credit: George Home)

Layer Christmas-themed crockery for each place setting - a festive jumper-style snowflake design will never date! Team these with tartan placemats and crisp white table linen, both of which you can continue using well after the festivities are over. We love this Emma Bridgwater festive mince pie plate that will look equally as good on a table as it would in front of the fire ready for Father Christmas. 

To add a touch of texture and personality, make sure you think about coasters and placemats just as you do the crockery and glassware. 

9. Combine flames with fresh produce

Dining table with foliage, fruit and tapered candles

(Image credit: Future PLC)

'Let there be light!,' say the teams at Nyetimber and Lay London. 'A simple way to elevate the table at home is with glowing candles or lanterns. Tall, glowing dinner candles of varying heights on the table add a party mood. A colour-combo of candles can look sumptuous and liven up a simpler setting.' The best Christmas candles will give you the perfect ambience, as well as a festive smell to set the mood. 

Similarly, the flowers and foliage you choose for your Christmas table decorations can have a real impact. 'Flowers make the table sing. These could be sprawling, banquet-like vines, or vases of blossomy hydrangeas in snow white. By picking out colours in the tableware for the florals, it really brings the scheme together. A quick cheat is having bowls of pomegranates or clementines on the table, for pops of bright colour.'

10. Go greener

Place setting with fabric wrapped present

(Image credit: Toast)

Presents are always a lovey touch to bring to a Christmas table but now, more than ever, it's time to look at more eco-friendly ideas.

'I like to bring warmth to the table with a Furoshiki table gift at each placing, which are the perfect alternative to crackers and can be re-used infinite times, making them a more sustainable option,' says Judith Harris, Head of House & Home at TOAST.

'Never underestimate the excitement of leaving little keepsakes for guests on the table,' say the teams at Nyetimer and Lay London. 'As it’s the festive season, you might add velvet bow napkin ties, candy-stripe bags of humbugs or ribbon-tied baubles at each place. No matter how small, guests will feel gleeful at their surprise, festive token.'

11. Set the tone with a muted palette

Christmas table decoration ideas in neutral shades and layered materials.

(Image credit: Future)

Style a table filled with foliage and earthy-toned textures to create a welcoming grounded essence to your festive celebrations. A muted colour palette helps to avoid overwhelming the scene, providing an understated elegant decorating scheme. Lay the table with considered crockery and glassware, interspersed with draped and potted festive foliage, buds and sprigs. Simple, sophisticated and stylish. 

Layering different textures is a great way to achieve the quiet luxury look this Christmas too, and investing in neutral decor will make your money go further as it'll be versatile for years to come. 

12. Decorate with warm and inviting shades

Christmas dining table in red and amber tones

(Image credit: Future PLC / Max Attenborough)

Draw guests to the table with an alluring pull of festive shades. Get in the mood for entertaining with a dining room decorated in rich mulberry, gold and spice colours to conjure up the essence and spirit of Christmas.

Dress the table with simple dinnerware and create a runner of foliage down the middle to add a comforting touch of nature.

13. Set up a drinks station

Drinks station with Christmas theme and olives

(Image credit: Future PLC / Max Attenborough)

Whatever the situation is for Christmas this year, one thing's for sure...drinks will be required. Whether a Zoom celebration or a small number gathered still go all out and set up a dedicated drinks station.

Concoct classic cocktails with the help of a stylish home bar. Blend cocktails beautifully in delicate glass beakers with the aid of a handy mixologist set. Your Christmas party ideas have only just begun...

14. Welcome nature to the table

Christmas place setting ideas with a fresh pomegranet on the plate

(Image credit: Future PLC / Max Attenborough)

Embrace the beauty of nature, beyond that of foliage and fresh flowers. Plump for seasonal fruits to help add a touch of colour to a Christmas table decoration idea.

With so many colours derived from nature, it's a fabulous way to tie in all the accent colours that may already be present around the table, from textiles to stoneware. Plus a simple staged fruit for place settings is far more cost-effective than many other alternatives.

15. Add finesse with statement foliage

Christmas table decorations in a dark blue room

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Don't underestimate the power of flowers, and they don't have to be overly festive to still make the right impression. We've opted for beautiful hydrangea blooms to make a bold centrepiece that isn't particularly festive, and yet it works. Whatever foliage you favour keep it in the same colour palette as your decorating scheme to tie it in seamlessly.

Sprigs of the same flowers are intertwined into the tree and on the metal wreath to create a coordinated look.

16. Keep it classic with country style

Christmas place setting with personalised nametag, patterned plates and foliage

(Image credit: Future PLC / David Brittain)

Mix traditionally festive colours of red and green with cute country-style touches for a country Christmas decorating idea. Start by dressing the table in tartan and plain tablecloths for colour and texture. Add natural rush placemats, wood-handled cutlery and a mix of pretty candle holders for a natural theme and stack patterned plates with a contrasting colour to add interest.

Finally, create a name holder from threading nuts, herbs and berries into a garland and dress a cracker in an embroidered linen napkin.

17. Give a nod to Narnia

White Christmas Narnia themed table decortions

(Image credit: Future PLC / Paul Raeside)

Be inspired by the majesty of a winter snowscape with a white and silver Christmas table decoration. Create Narnia-inspired centrepieces with glass hurricane lanterns, miniature fir trees and heaps of fake snow.

Play with scale by filling different sizes and create a tangle of silver winterberries down the centre of the table. Finish the look with frosted glass and grey candlesticks dotted around.

18. Go dark and dramatic

Christmas place setting on decorated table with figs

(Image credit: Future PLC / Paul Raeside)

Make the most of a dark stone table top to create a striking monochrome scheme with blush accents. Mix black and white patterned plates with marble serving platters and a soft grey charger plate to add to the contrasting tones. Choose modern amber glassware in a simple design, shell pink napkins and copper touches for a luxurious twinkle.

A small wrapped gift makes a thoughtful name setting and finishes the look.

How do I make a beautiful Christmas table?

Resident Style Advisor at Wayfair, Nadine McCowan Hill says, 'A beautiful table can be achieved with just a few additions, setting the scene for the main event of the day - Christmas lunch!'

'Laying the dining table as if you were eating out in a restaurant doesn't really require much more than you'll have in your cupboards already, but spending the time to do so really adds to the sense of special occasion.'

'A few candles or LED micro fairy lights placed down the centre of the table will cast a cosy glow as day turns to night, whilst a mix of fresh green and white moss is a super simple showstopping natural centerpiece.'

How can I decorate my Christmas table on a budget?

If you're looking to save the pennies but still want a beautiful Christmas table, think about investing in just one or key pieces that will work year after year.

Sophie Allport, Founder at Sophie Allport says, 'Add some sparkle to your table with  glassware. Choose cool wintery colours and icy glassware for a sense of relaxed Scandi style - wonderful for toasting to a merry Christmas with your loved ones.'

'Position them beside your candles if you would like the glassware to reflect the gently flickering flames: it is a fool proof way to add a little extra glitz and glamour to the tablescape.'

 'Another great idea is to use a table runner as an easy way to give your dining table some Christmas cheer. Stretching down the length of the table, it will anchor your cutlery, crockery, and decorations together.'

'It is a great way to introduce seasonal colours and patterns to the table whilst protecting your table from spillages, hot dishes, and stains. Pair with a centrepiece of winter berries and clusters of twinkling fairy lights for a magical festive feel.'

How can I make a statement Christmas table?

There are plenty of ways to make a statement Christmas table, and it doesn't even have to be on the table! 

Jane Rockett, Co-Founder at Rockett St George says, 'We love a striking centrepiece, but in terms of practicality, we know that it can be difficult when it comes to space on the table to create the impact you desire. So our solution is to hang something spectacular above your dining table! Not only does this save space for your food spread, but it also adds dimension and scale to your dining table - a win-win!'

Holly Walsh
Content Editor

Holly Walsh has been Content Editor at Ideal Home since 2021, but joined the brand back in 2015. With a background of studies in Interior Design, her career in interior journalism was a no-brainer and her passion for decorating homes is still as strong as it ever was. While Holly has written for most of the home titles at Future, including Livingetc, Country Homes & Interiors, Homes and Gardens and Style at Home, Ideal Home has always been her ideal home, and she can be found sharing her expertise and advice across both the printed magazine and the website too.

With contributions from