Tips on creating a Scandi-inspired Christmas tablescape

scandi christmas table setting ideas 2023
How to create a Scandi Christmas tablescapeJord Home

A thoughtfully decorated table is a wonderful way to make any family meal more special, and this year, a Scandi-inspired tablescape will make for a cosy yet laidback Christmas dinner.

After all, Scandinavians are masters of hygge, so there's no better way of achieving an inviting table setting than by leaning into their use of pared-back rustic design.

Danielle Le Vaillant, head of photography and film at Cox & Cox, says: 'The perfect Scandi table is clean and neutral, warmed by soft lighting. Think minimalist furniture in subtle, natural blonde oak, and seating dressed with laid-back soft textiles and textured throws, echoing the colour palette of your Christmas decorations (stick to clear glass, wood and paper decorations in cream and white, warmed by pearly amber, soft grey, ink and rose gold).

'Simple white dinnerware and clear glass are all that's needed to complete the perfect calming Scandi look. You could also create extra magic by hanging a centrepiece high above the table – either oversized light-up hanging glass ornaments or some pampas and other dried grasses, delicately twinkling with warm white fairy lights.'

When it comes to Scandinavian design, there are two distinct styles you can embrace. Firstly, modern, which combines minimalist design with sleek silhouettes. Or, try classic – also minimalist to a degree but with more organic, rustic shapes and plenty of texture. Both utilise a subtle, nature-inspired colour palette to keep the overall look pared-back.

Modern Scandinavian tableware often plays with quirky outlines to create a striking look, even if the colour used remains relatively neutral. For a contemporary Scandi tablescape, pair simple crockery with statement pieces, such as an ultra-modern water jug or unusual candlestick holders. Or, contrast statement plates with understated table decor – the idea is to catch the eye, but not overwhelm it.

If you want to embrace classic Scandinavian design, look for tableware that has a handcrafted look and feel. We recommend looking for plates and bowls with 'perfectly imperfect' glazes, textures and shapes. For an eclectic look, layer ceramics or wooden serveware of varying shades, shapes and finishes – all within the classic, understated Scandi colour palette, of course.

There's nothing more Scandinavian than laidback dining, so it's a great opportunity to serve food family-style. Opt for large wooden serving platters that can sit at the centre of the table. Add serving tongs or spoons, then let everyone dig in.

Protect your table with a rustic yet high-quality tablecloth, ideally made from linen or cotton – this makes a great base for the rest of your tablescape. Add napkins at each person's place at the table, but forgo traditional napkin rings. Instead, keep things rustic and use thick twine or cord to tie the napkins. Tuck in a sprig of foraged holly for additional greenery. A dried cinnamon stick is also a lovely addition.

Soft furnishings also extend beyond the tablescape itself, as laidback dining is all about taking your time. This means you need to keep things comfortable. On each dining chair, add a plump cushion with an ultra-textured finish for an extra cosy touch. On dining benches, layer sheepskin rugs – your guests will thank you!

'An impactful centrepiece can pull your entire Christmas table setting together,' says Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy's trend expert. 'When trying to create a modern, Scandinavian Christmas table keep the centrepiece as simple as possible.

'Scandinavian Christmas decor style means less is more and focuses on pared-back accessories rather than the over the top opulence we often associate with the festive season.'

Dayna suggests bringing the outside in, so get your shoes on and go foraging. Winter evergreens (such as holly, pine and laurel) are the perfect addition to the centre of the table, as are pine cones. Artificial garlands, swags and wreaths are a great alternative if you don’t fancy going on a hunt for greenery. Drape casually along the centre of the table for a laidback look.

scandi dining table
House Beautiful / Rachel Whiting

For a comforting glow, make sure to include candles in your tablescape. Unusual candle holders make brilliant table centrepieces (especially when paired with colourful taper candles), while more rustic styles keep things pared-back and are a good match for tealights. Alternatively, use hurricane-style lanterns, that way you won't have to worry about draughts or the candles being knocked over. To amp up the ambience, choose scented candles that include festive spices such as cinnamon and clove.

Paper ornaments also make a pleasing addition to a Christmas dinner table, especially as you can simply fold them away after use. Dot small paper Christmas trees along your table for a playful look – you can even use them as namecard holders.

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