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How to Lay a Table for Christmas:

The Hambledon Guide to Seasonal Table Setting

There are lots of lovely things about Christmas but surely one of the most fun is choosing your festive theme and decorating accordingly. Here we show you some of our favourite ideas for laying a beautiful table for family and friends.

The Scandinavian Table


This is a simple, spare and very elegant table. We're not going to use a tablecloth, preferring bare wood to stop it all looking too precious. Using natural foraged greenery as our base (we have filled jugs and made a centrepiece to run down the length of the table), we're laying each place with pearl white china and simple etched glassware (the star motif seems particularly fitting) from The Vintage List. Lots and lots of candlelight is essential (pharmacy bottles in copious quantities and white candles) and we've picked up a little of the green colour in a blockprint napkin (actually a tea towel, but we're expecting enthusiastic diners) and a Falcon Enamel Samphire pinch pot. Glædelig jul!

The Scandinavian Table Look

The Louis Quinze Table


Taking our cue from Bourg Joly Malicorne, who have been making traditional earthenware in France since 1747, we're looking to the 18th Century for this supremely elegant table. A blockprint tablecloth with contrasting napkins (once again, actually a tea towel but it knots so beautifully) provide a subtle base colour in washed out blues. France glassware (it is genuinely, actually called France, the shapes are taken from traditional French drinking glasses) for the copious Champagne and Burgundy you're going to drink and Bourg Joly plates and baskets for Louis Quinze high style. Opal white glass baubles add a discreet festive touch.

The Louis Quinze Table Look

The Italian Rococo Table


If you have a feeling for a touch of gold and something a little elaborate, this may just be the table for you. Bitossi, based in Italy since 1921, are masters of luxe design. We've chosen a palette of sage and amber, using their gold rim china and sort of matching gold rim glasses. Braided Rug placemats (we chose the Kashmir colourway) to ground all the gold. Bungalow's brilliant honeycomb trees provide the centre piece. Run them down the full length of the table for a spectacle.

The Italian Rococo Table Look

The Festive Fun Table


It just isn't Christmas without a healthy dose of kitsch. We've rounded up some of our least tasteful baubles and decorations (step forward Snow Cone, Kitsch Deer and Nutcrackers, you have most definitely made the podium of gaudiness). We've made the decorations a nest of natural greenery along the table. Pearl glassware is our crockery of choice for this one (a little bit reminiscent of sweet shop jars and perfect for showing off all the colour in everything else). And our easy peasy fix for placemats? A block of Rico coloured paper. Choose the boldest and brightest sheets.

The Festive Fun Table Look