The Hanukkah table often relies on blue and silver themes, and shades of blue are particularly plentiful on tables as they are in home decor. Rich blues from indigo to ocean and blue-greens the color of beach glass have expanded traditional palettes. At Neiman Marcus, there are beautiful agate napkin rings in cobalt. Also there is Kim Seybert, whose fashion-forward placemats and runners celebrate intricate weaves and beading as well as unusual materials. Seybert is showing capiz-shell round placemats in teal, as well as turquoise ikat placemats and companion napkins.
Christmas tables certainly don’t have to be limited to Yuletide red, green and white, although Horchow’s red earthenware seems almost appliqued with creamy white embellishments, and will even have modernists turning heads as it would look stunning on a contemporary all-white table.
Adding a touch of metallic in shimmery gold or gleaming silver always is festive, and during the holiday season it can go a long way to dress up even casual or rustic settings, much like a piece of jewelry or a beaded scarf can add sizzle to something more sedate or tailored. Think scrubbed or limed woods with natural accents, stoneware and sparkling crystals on placemats and napkins for the perfect bling.
Seasonal salad or dessert plates may be sprinkled with gilt accents like gold-dusted cakes. Serving platters and bowls, candlesticks and salt and pepper shakers also can shine with metallic glimmer. Or dress up the back of a chair with a wide, sheer golden ribbon. TouchStoneCatalog sells one with a coppery border that’s 10 inches wide, 108 inches long and sells for $15. You make the bow.
Tablescapes also are more interesting when you layer and pay attention to heights and shapes. Real or decorative pumpkins (the pastel shades of heirlooms are super), turkeys, Santas or angels can be whimsical or elegant. The form these pieces lend to a table or sideboard is similar to the play of sculptural shapes in living spaces. Candles — votives, hurricanes and lanterns — lend warmth and a range of heights.
Consider scale as well, especially on long tables that need relief from sameness. That’s where different heights can be magical.
Artistry on the table also includes those candlesticks, salt and pepper shakers and other small objets. Texture and pattern help to provide a richness at the table, much like fabrics and finishes do in other parts of home decor. In dinner and serveware, that can mean ribbed or relief surfaces. Other dimensional objects may include real or faux leaves or boughs of pine or fir decorating the center of the table.
Artisanal touches also spark warmth. Color can be introduced with pretty painterly looks that suggest an artist’s hand in table linen and plate design. That handcrafted feel is available in linens depicting a fall harvest that are based on archival botanicals at William- Sonoma Home. Check out linens in rich paisleys to add depth, color and softness.
Remember that dramatic displays can set a celebratory tone on fireplace mantels and sideboards as well as cocktail tables. Those otherwise restrained may let loose, especially on Christmas and New Year’s, when bringing out the bling seems as natural as confetti.
“Christmas is when all bets are off,” says Seawright. “Liberace rules. I’m all over it.”
But mostly, she says, what makes decorating your holiday table special and fun is this: “The inner child comes out. It makes you happy.”