At this frenzied time of year, the idea of throwing a holiday party is tempting, but the reality of it—cleaning up first, cooking, and then somehow coming up with creative table setting ideas—is kind of overwhelming. Which is why some of our favorite festive tabletop ideas start with things we already have around the house: a spool of good ribbon leftover from gift-wrapping, twiggy branches from the yard, even herbs that didn’t make it into the dishes on the table. Look in the attic. Look in your bookshelves. See every item in a new light. You don’t need to go crazy buying frosted fake greenery to craft a special table! Below are 10 holiday table decorating ideas based on things you probably already have on hand this time of year. (And if you happen to be in New York or New Jersey today, December 9, come out to CB2’s brand-new store in Paramus, NJ, from 12 to 2 PM—I’ll be talking through how to style a bunch of these ideas in person!)
If you have . . .
Festive wrapping paper: Select a graphic printed wrapping paper and unfurl a big piece across a basic tablecloth like a wide runner. What else? Plates and platters in a coordinating color scheme, so as not to compete too much with the pattern.
Extra herbs: For a truly aromatic display, shower the center of the table with woody herbs like rosemary and thyme and set your hot dishes right on top of them. Mmm. What else? Skinny candlestickspopping up through the greenery.
Winter flowers: Got planters full of pansies? Or honeysuckle sneaking through a fence? Snip a palmful and tuck them individually into bud vases or tiny glass vials and spread them across the table. What else?Nordic-inspired pastels and white.
Wide ribbon: As few as three parallel lengths of wide ribbon stretched out down the middle of a table can have just as much impact as a real runner. Select an interesting texture like velvet or grosgrain if you have it. What else? Tiny white berries, geometric serveware.
Metallic tchotchkes: Beeline to the bookshelf. Have you got a little brass paperweight, maybe even a set of thrift-store candlesticks? (Or, you know, spare ornaments that didn’t make it on the tree?) Shuttle them to the table. Instant shine. What else? Black plates would make it very high-drama.
Pine cones: Yes this one skews a bit rustic, but that’s nothing a string of twinkly lights woven throughout can’t perk up. Forage them from your backyard and spread between dishes. What else? Free clippings from the tree lot.
A big bare branch: The weirder its branches, the better. Spray-paint it white or keep it bare and wrap it tightly with little lights—then be done. What else? Some metallic chargers or place mats would keep the festive vibes alive.
Sculptural fruit: Purple pears look like still-life paintings come alive when scattered on a table—same goes for pomegranates (some broken open!) and even persimmon if you’re feeling an orange accent. What else? A punch of color in the glassware or napkins.
A good cozy throw: So long as it’s washable or dry-cleanable, don’t be afraid to use something chunkier for a tablecloth—like your favorite winter throw. What else? Votives everywhere.
This content was originally posted on architecturaldigest.com