CharlesTed Guide to a Fabulous Tablescape

CharlesTed Guide to a Fabulous Tablescape

We love a beautiful tablescape - and if you have never tablescaped before- Christmas is the place to start! No one was ever accused of being a little too extra over the festive season, and with your Christmas table you can’t go wrong. We’ve missed one too many opportunities to put on the glitz at Christmas thanks to Covid, now it’s time to shine!

 Pinecone napkin

The easiest place to start from is your crockery. If you have a white or cream service with no elaborate patterns, the world (of tablescaping!) is your oyster! From here you can pick any colour or theme you like and easily work in your plates.


If you have a coloured or highly decorated service, use this as your starting point and work with it- for plain coloured china you can choose to compliment the colour with similar tones or use contrasting but complimentary colours to add dimension to your table scape. Patterns such as florals can easily be contrasted with stripes or make them the focal point and keep everything else muted. For a dinner service with different colours, pick one and go wild with it. There really are no rules to this game, just be brave and wait for the compliments!



Once you have a starting point, it’s time to get planning and let your creativity flow. Fail to prepare and you’re preparing to fail, any dinner party or family gathering that you are catering for is stressful enough without the added pressure of setting the table, so getting everything ready well in advance has an obvious advantage. If you’re lucky enough to have a dining room that you don’t use daily, set the table weeks in advance and bask in its glory for even longer (at least this way you won’t be as devastated once the linen is gravy stained, the candles have burnt to nothing and sprout remnants litter the table runner). You can also use this extra time to make any adjustments or make room for the last-minute guest additions!



Your Christmas table deserves pomp, it is the backdrop to your delicious feast and will really set the atmosphere for the festivities that are about to ensue. Consider your table shape, if it is a round table use lower centrepieces- the last thing you want to do is obstruct the view of your guests (if you’re putting this much time into your table, I can’t imagine how fabulous your Christmas day outfit will look – and everyone needs to see it!). With a rectangular table try a more linear design, mixing heights up and down the length of the table.


What are you serving and where are you serving from? If you plan to serve from the table, not only should you consider your serving dishes and how they can work with the tablescape, but also the need to leave plenty of space to showcase your – preferably CharlesTed- dishes! Also bear in mind the need to move dishes around the table, so avoid too many obstacles and again, leave enough room for larger platters. If you plan to dish up from a sideboard or straight from the kitchen you’ll have lots more room to play with.


Whilst we are on the subject of your table, does it provide the perfect backdrop? Is it nice enough to lay host to a simple runner and some dramatic placemats, or do you need a tablecloth? Personally, a plain tablecloth is my go-to, either in classic white or off white, or a solid earthy colour from which to contrast- this will serve as your canvas and provide depth to your composition. For drama, go oversize- dial up the theatre and let your tablecloth fall to the ground with unctuous folds. If you plan to use a natural theme, raw edged or textured tablecloths work beautifully. From here we can introduce a table runner in a contrasting colour or tone to your tablecloth. With the right approach, creating a tablescape that’s a little bit glamorous and whimsical isn’t as hard as it first appears.



If you’re catering for ten guests or two, you can still make your table an intimate and special place to dine. My favourite tablescape element with which to create excitement for the meal ahead is the individual place settings- making an impact here is as easy as 1, 2, 3…. layers that is. Layering up each place setting with different textures is such a fabulous way to add texture and dimension. If you choose not to use a tablecloth, a great alternative is our fabric place mats, from here you can add a glass charger like our fantastic beaded chargers. My favourite, timeless, place mats are the natural jute, seagrass or braided circular examples. These work so well in all seasons and for any occasion, when choosing your mats and linens choose something that you can use again all year round.

                                        ella and mat   

Napkins are an incredibly versatile addition to your table. Crisp, neatly folded napkins give a polished look, whilst a natural, textured napkin tied in a loose knot creates a softer, more relaxed feel. Play around with them, try them to the side, on top of your plates, or even between your charger and plate, pouring out adding an interesting visual element and breaking up the lines of the table edge. A bold, chunky napkin ring can add formality, whilst at Christmas a simple ribbon can look stunning.


Florals and foliage are a non-negotiable for your tablescape. The easiest way to add drama and fluidity to the composition is a garland winding down the centre of the table, be it a simple eucalyptus garland or one richly embellished with baubles and even lights for real wow! A floral centrepiece works best when repeated, consider dividing your arrangement up and adding elements into smaller bud vases along the table. Using faux florals means not only that you can work confidently well ahead of time, but that you can use the same florals again and again. Consider using a variety of stems that work in Summer and Winter, adding seasonal and even fresh stems. Add fabulous scents by incorporating fresh herbs such as rosemary, or neutral dried stems such as wheat to give a more contemporary feel.


Candles are the easiest way to add an impressive flourish and warm glow to your table- they are also one of the easiest ways to add height and are particularly useful for breaking up the eyeline without obstructing the view. CharlesTed have a variety of warm, burnished gold or dramatic matte black candlesticks in a multitude of heights with complimenting candles, both colourways work well with whatever theme you go with. Remember the rule of three- this design principle dictates that arrangements of three of anything are more visually appealing- and it works!

The final finishing touches to any tablescape are entirely up to you. A handwritten place card is a lovely way to give your tablescape personality, tied to your napkin ring, a bauble of your choice or a sumptuous faux fig- the possibilities are endless. Tablescapes are not something you have to spend a fortune on, they can be as rustic and relaxed as you wish, they are however intended to elevate your dining experience and to show your guests that you care.

However you choose to do this, have fun with it, and have a happy CharlesTed Christmas! x



« Back to Blog