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How to Create a Simple Christmas Table

December 18, 2019

I'm Caireen, Owner and Principal Designer at Shift Modern Home, lover of wallpaper, tiles, gin, Formula 1 Racing and potatoes. Who's with me?

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Growing up my favourite thing to do at Christmas, or any event that my Mum was hosting, was to lay the table. It remains something I love to do.

  1. Start with a table runner and place it across the table width ways. It doesn’t have to be a traditional Christmas colour or motif – work with your existing colour scheme if you wish, or use something a bit unexpected as I did here.

  2. Layer your plates according to your meal plan – add a bowl for soup or a plate for a salad. You don’t have to have matching plates – embrace co-ordinating styles for a more personal look.

  3. Add glasses – I usually just add one wine glass and a water glass.

  4. Continue with your cutlery and napkins, arranging in a way that feels unique and interesting. Here I added a napkin across the salad plate to add more dimension to the table and used a vintage wood napkin ring for some added warmth.

  5. Candles are a must have at this time of year. I went vintage with mine with these interesting brushed gold and black candle sticks. Keep tall candles to a minimum – a few is fine to create interest, but remember you want to be able to see your guests across the table!

  6. I am a huge lover of natural greens this time of year. Trail some spruce or cedar down the centre of the table, remembering to leave room for the gravy boat and salt and pepper pots.

  7. Add a sprig of green under the napkin ring, and you are done!


Voila! One simple and beautiful table.

All that’s left is to pour yourself a glass of sherry and admire your handiwork before your guests arrive.

The beauty of keeping things simple is that it is really easy to switch a few things to change your table setting to suit a Brunch (my favourite meal to host) or a New Year’s supper.


For this brunch setting we added a gorgeous blue plate and white bowl, kept the same napkin and added a sweet little pine cone for a natural touch. Coffee cups and a glass for a mimosa complete the setting.


A New Year’s supper calls for something a little more moody. Keeping with the white and black theme of the Christmas setting, we went with a textured black napkin, vintage gold candlesticks with black candles and a simple sprig of cedar laid across the plate. It’s a little bit edgy, but still has that natural touch that I love.

Enjoy experimenting with laying your table this season!

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