How to Set a Table – Christmas Edition

Christmas is two days away, folks. Are you getting excited?

One of the funnest (yes, I said funnest) parts of Christmas is the food, and along with it, the table setting that decorates the table. But if you, like me, haven’t really even thought about what you want your table to look like, fear not, I’m here with some easy table settings for you.

I have three different styles of table settings for you today.

The first one is your naturalistic one. This one is great if you’re hosting brunch, or simply want a more casual table setting.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • Evergreen branches (I have three different kinds here, but ended up only using two. You really don’t need a lot; one or two branches should be plenty)
  • A white table runner
  • An oil lamp (if you don’t have one, a large pillar candle with a base would work)
  • Tea light candles with holders
Your first step will be to cut down those branches. Make short segments so they’ll lay flat.
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Next, lay down the table runner and place the oil lamp/pillar candle right in the middle.

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Lay the branches around the lamp/candle as if you were framing it. Spread them out so that they cover most, but not all of the table runner.

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Then “sprinkle” the tea light candles around, and you’re done!

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Voila! You can make the branches as thick or thin as you want, but personally I feel that less is more in this situation.

The next table is a little more formal, but is the easiest of the three. I call this one the Golden Holly.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • White round placemats (one for each place setting + one for the center)
  • Gold ornaments
  • Two candlesticks
  • Holly branch (pick one with lots of berries)
  • Your trusty salt and pepper shakers
Step one for this table is much like the first table: set out your placemats at each seat, and one right in the middle. Set your candlesticks an equidistance away from the placemat on either side.
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Next, place that holly branch on the placemat in the middle and sprinkle the ornaments around it.
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That’s it!
The third table is great for the kids table (or anyone who is a kid at heart). I call it the Nutcracker and His Friends.
Here’s what you’ll need:
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  • A nutcracker
  • A Christmasy tablecloth (stick with something monotone)
  • Fake snow
  • A small wood stump
  • Some ceramic animals
  • Any items that are foresty

You all know step one by now: lay out that tablecloth.

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Next, lay out the snow, making sure to keep a small section open for the nutcracker and the tree stump.

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Then, put out the “friends” in such a way that it looks like they’re playing in the snow.

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I love this little birdy, and how serene it looks in the snow. Just a happy little bird snoozing away.

There you have it. Which one do you like best?

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How To Style a Coffee Table

This how to is akin to my How to Set a Table (Thanksgiving edition); the end result is going to look different depending on your personality, style, and what you have available.

Styling a coffee table will largely be determined by the room it’s in. A formal living room will look best with a table that’s more artistic, less utilitarian (unless of course your style is minimalist, in which case the second coffee table I show you would fit better). The family room coffee table is going to be a work horse (it’s just the nature of the room) so you’re going to want something that’s functional. You’re not going to want to have to clear the space every time you go in to use the room.

So let me talk about picking a coffee table first. As I mentioned earlier, your table will need to fit the needs of the room you’re putting it in. So while the living room coffee table need not be large, you’re going to want something more heavy duty for the family room, since that’s the room you’ll be doing the most things in (like board games, crafts, etc.).

I’ll share my living room coffee table first:

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As you can see, it’s a more flowery table. The sides are actually drop leafs, and can be put down if there’s going to be a large crowd, so it’s very functional, but overall, the style is not utilitarian.

I’ve also practically covered the table, but that’s fine, because I’ve still left space for cups and plates, should I serve any food to my guests (which trust me, happens frequently). The main goal for the living room coffee table is to look pretty.

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How to Style a Coffee Table

So go ahead and put a whole bowl of pinecones and a pretty frame on there. Be creative.

The second table is the one in our family room. It is one solid table, and I like it that way, because this is the table the kids play on, sometimes literally on top of. You want this table to be large and sturdy.

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You can see that Sophie (our dog) wanted in on the photoshoot.

You’ll notice that I’ve put my “decorations” on one side. This allows me to have part of the table already cleared for play. You are more than welcome to center your tray/basket, but be prepared to move it a lot.

 

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A quick word about your tray: keep it useful. I like to put the books/magazines I’m currently reading, or books that the kids find interesting in mine. You could keep your coasters in it too. It’s purpose is to store all those things that tend to be transient, those items that need to stay out because you use them frequently.

In each table you’ll notice that I practice one rule: the rule of three. For some reason, three items together is really pleasing to the human eye. So try and keep your decorations down to three main items (this is where the tray is really useful, because even if you have multiple items in it, I still only counts as one visually). I’ve also tried to have the items staggered in size: one low, one medium, one high. They’re also small, medium, and large, respectively. Keep these tricks in mind, and you’ll be styling in no time.

 

 

 

Room Reveal – Family Room (and tips on room layout)

The pictures for this post were ready last week. But then last week happened. I think it has something to do with the fact that the Christmas season is here. And for us, December also includes 4 birthdays within our extended family. So, suffice it to say, I didn’t make it to the blog last week. But I’m back now.

This room is our Grand Central Station; practically EVERYTHING happens here. And why wouldn’t it? I mean, this is the room with the fireplace. And during this season especially, I don’t gravitate far from it.

The family room was also the trickiest room to arrange, since every wall has some kind of structural item, be it a doorway, the fireplace, or the angled entryway to our office. And since it was the room we wanted the TV in, this room was the one I spent the most time contemplating layout before the move.

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The original owners had their TV against the far wall, where it would be visible from the kitchen, but I really didn’t want the TV to be the focal point. Plus, I can’t do ANYTHING if the TV is on. So my first choice was to put the TV against the left wall. To help fill that large space on the far wall, I put up the biggest (and probably most favorite) painting we own.

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Since the couch that faces the TV would need to be the one that seats the most, I put our three-seater against the right wall, which then dictated the rest of the placement. Originally my plan was to get two arm chairs to put at the open end of the room, but I actually like how the two-seater ended up creating a “zone”; it practically functions as a wall, without breaking up the room.

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This, in essence, is what interior designers do: they take the space they’re working on, contemplate what purpose the user (that’s you) wants to use it for, and then lays it out as fits that function best. It really isn’t rocket science; it’s all about thinking about traffic flow and placement.

Since I wanted this room to function truly as a Family room, a place where we could watch TV, read by the fire, play games, etc., I wanted there to be plentiful seating, and have a large coffee table. So while it is by far the most crowded room in the house, it works well because everything in it fulfills the purpose this room was intended for.

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Room Reveal - Family Room 1

 

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One final thing: one of my favorite things to do (and if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably already seen this) is to preserve my bouquets by drying them. It just seems like such a shame to toss them. So I hang them upside down, and let ’em dry (is that where the phrase, high and dry comes from?).

Anyway, that’s all for this room folks. Tomorrow, I’ll be writing about how to style a coffee table, so check back in then.

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That’s Grandma, reading a story to the kiddos.

 

How to Decorate a Christmas Tree

This week’s how to is pretty simple. And most of you probably already know the basics. It’s not exactly rocket science.

But even decorating a Christmas tree has some variation to keep in mind. And the tricks to having a tree that wows are simple to apply.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • A tree (surprise, surprise)
  • Lights (either colored or white)
  • Ornaments
So, like I said, the above stuff is a no-brainer for anyone who has decorated a tree before. The trick comes in the choosing.
First off, you need to think about the mood you want to set with the lights. White lights create a crisp, clean look on your tree. They are a perfect choice for more formal environments. The tree I’ll share with you as an example today is in our living room, so I felt that white was the obvious choice.
If you want a warmer, softer feel to your tree, choose colored lights. They are a great choice for family rooms, or more casual living environments.
The second thing you need to think about is the ornaments. Consider the same question as with the lights: do you want the tree to fit a more formal, or a more casual environment? If you want it for a formal space, pick a theme or type of ornament, and stick with it. Try to stick with one color scheme as well. Gold and white are popular colors this year. I went with silver snowflakes for our living room tree.
If you want a more casual feel, then be random in your ornament choices. If you have children in your home, by all means employ them in decorating this tree; they get random.
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Your first step in decorating the tree is to string up the lights. This really needs to be the first step, since you don’t want to be working around ornaments while you’re putting the lights up. The lights are your base.
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Your next step is to put up the ornaments, but remember to start with the larger ones. Space them evenly apart, so that they look balanced on the tree. Then, fill in with the smaller ornaments.
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This is what the living room tree ended up looking like.
Here’s the family room tree:
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Your last step is to consider the floor. On one of our trees, I put down a tree skirt (I made this one myself: you can find the free pattern here )
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For the tree in the living room, however, I put a train track around it. This is something I’ve wanted to do for years, and now I finally have it. This has been a year for fulfilled dreams, to be sure.
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And there you have it! Your own perfectly decorated Christmas tree.
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