Half the fun of the big Christmas feast is in laying the table. Ideas abound on Pinterest and are ripe for the pilfering.

There are those of us who, come Christmas morning, are found busily bustling around the kitchen peeling, parboiling, basting and making everything smell and taste glorious. Then there are those of us who are more at home setting the scene – and the Christmas repast, whether you like it bang on the dot of 1pm or not until late in the evening – should be as much a feast for the eyes as it is for all the other sense. Candles, the good cutlery, the nice crockery and foliage: all must and should feature prominently to make it worthy of all the effort that the cook is going to in order to feed our hungry mouths.

Look 1: Understated Nordic Chic

There are various ways of approaching the Christmas aesthetic: one is to go all-out sumptuous, with red, golds and greens. The other is to keep it pared back, cosy and calm, as with this inviting scene.

Get The Look:

Hyde & Hare

Sheepskin Rug Oyster, £65


Frosted Green Bottle Brush Christmas Tree 12 Pack, £4

Rowen & Wren

Linen Tablecloth, Frayed Edge, Natural Linen, NOW £46

Look 2: Rustic And Natural

In all likelihood, there will not be many of us taking our feasting outdoors this Christmas (good riddance pandemic). However, this scene would be just as magical if picked up and placed indoors. As ever, it’s all in the lighting.

Get The Look:


Fali Wine Glass, Set of 4, NOW £28


Smaller Mildred Candlestick In Hot Chilli, £35

Festoon Lighting

Ten Connectable Warm Festoon Lights, £57.98

Look 3: Black And Gold

Keeping the lighting low and ambient is the first rule of setting a really winning Christmas table. We love this dark, brooding scene with its accents of magic thanks to its mirrored baubles and soft candle- and fairy-light.

Get The Look:


Flatware Set, £218


Hacienda 205ml Crystal Flute, £36.99


Hanging Antique Brass Mercury Glass Star, £34.99

Look 4: Traditional And Comforting

If there was ever a time to stick to tradition, Christmas is it. They bring comfort, joy and much merriment. We would like to climb inside this tableau and take up our place at this festive table. Instead, we shall have to recreate it ourselves.

Get The Look:


Grain Sack Dinner Napkin Red Stripe, £6.41


Vintage Old Gustavsberg Willow Porcelain Plate, £31.51

St Eval

7/8 Red Dinner Candles Gift Pack, £9.99

Look 5: White Christmas

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? None of us has the meteorological
power to make this happen, but we can at least set the scene indoors. This calm and soothing scene would make a Christmas lunch dream.

Get The Look:


Fresh Eucalyptus Bunches, from £6.99


The Nutcracker, £38

John Lewis

Scalloped Speckled Stoneware Dinner Plate, £9

By Nancy Alsop
December 2022

Nancy Alsop


Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.