How-To Set a Holiday Table
December 16, 2013
How ToTablescapeHoliday
Setting a table is an absolute art. And though we've been known to set a lovely table in our day, we can't ever resist tapping into the genius of the pro's to get a few table setting secrets. We're so excited that the fabulous Tara Guerard is here sharing her tips and tricks for setting a gorgeous table, just in time for the Holidays. Captured by Corbin Gurkin, there's more lovely inspiration right here in the gallery.

How To Set a Gorgeous Table
from Tara Guerard


1. Begin with an element of inspiration such as your grandmother's Chinese export vase, a sterling candelabra or special plates picked up at a flea market. From there, bring in other elements that mix well, but don't necessarily match.

2. You want to create visual interest with different textures and colors. For example, choose a palette of complementary colors, or varying shades of one color (like bright blue, navy and turquoise). Silver and gold with a shot of green works well for the holidays!

3. Set your table with items of varying heights. Short votives (see my simple votive DIY below!) mixed with taller candlesticks is always a great idea.

4. I prefer flower arrangements that are low to the table so that guests can easily converse across them. No one likes to bob and weave, talking around an enormous flower arrangement!

5. In addition, I insist on unscented candles and flowers that don't have a strong smell so as not to interfere with the taste of the food and/or wine.

6. Keep lighting low - everyone looks better by candlelight, right?

7. Add place cards if you want to arrange where people sit – put a chatty guest next to someone more reserved – and seat couples apart from one another!

8. Above all, remember that you want guests to experience a table that's lovely to behold, but comfortable so that they can enjoy their meal and have easy conversations – perhaps even lingering past dessert.
From Tara Guerard… For the table settings pictured, I started with a stunning gold suede tablecloth, sterling silver flatware, Moroccan tea lights and a fabulous set of dinner plates from Anthropologie. The silver and gold leaf print was my lead, and I incorporated various elements to create the different place settings. Fresh herbs for a simple look and red camellias from my garden for contrast. Gold geometric print paper made a quick and easy "napkin ring" and sparkly wire ribbon upped the festive quotient. The vases were filled with silver and gold metallic pears and Christmas tree clippings – SO easy! Really, these settings were about using inexpensive, readily available decorative items.
These lovely little votives add sparkle and color to a casual setting. Place them on a table interspersed among short, tight arrangements of flowers, or line them along a mantel piece for a stunning effect.

step-1Begin with 6-12 small oranges, taking care that they are uniform in size with pretty, sturdy skins. Carve out the flesh of the fruit with a small paring knife. (Reserve the fruit for a quick ambrosia dessert, or use it for fresh squeezed orange juice!). 

step-2Insert simple votive candles (in clear glass holders) that are proportional in size and enjoy a warm glow!