Check out these four festive Christmas table settings for easy, inexpensive decorating ideas that start with everyday items.
Create a rustic table that echoes the unfinished woods and warm tones of a cozy log cabin. Traditional reds and greens are easy to come by with fresh evergreens, red ribbons, and red pillar candles. For a homespun centerpiece, fill unconventional containers, such as this old wooden toolbox, with florist's foam to hold casually mixed greens, candles of alternating heights, and a garland of beads or cranberries.
To make a seasonal favor, nestle a small burlap-wrapped tree inside a red pail and garnish it with pinecones and tiny ornaments. Print name tags using your computer and spray-glue them to small squares of craft wood.
Fashion no-sew napkin rings by gluing together the short ends of a frayed strip of burlap. Tie a single thread of burlap through the holes in a button, then glue the button in place.
Who wouldn't love to sit in a chair adorned with mistletoe? Dress up everyday chairs with red cushions, wired ribbon, sprigs of mistletoe, and shiny ornaments.
A table blanketed in white lends sophistication and a sense of occasion to any gathering. Get the look by using clear glass and metallic elements against a backdrop of white table linens and china. An artificial tree spray-painted white, flocked with spray snow, and potted in a galvanized pail makes a modern centerpiece for this table. Lights and star ornaments hung on the tree add another layer of sparkle.
Stretch your holiday budget by setting the table with inexpensive solid-white plates, with more decorative salad or dessert plates set on top where they show most. Set out old-fashioned rock candy sticks to use as coffee stirrers.
Flickering votive candles are staples of holiday decorating, but they don't have to be plain. Dress up painted terra-cotta pots by coating them in glittering "snow," and add wax snow (made by whipping melted wax) to top off the candles.
Drape silvery tinsel across the back of the chairs, hanging bells or star-shape ornaments on it for an extra bit of glitter. Depending on the shape of the chair back, it may be easiest to simply wrap lengths of tinsel around it.
Dainty confections are the inspiration behind this whimsical table setting, from chocolate-brown place mats to sweet pink dots on the plates. For the centerpiece, hard-to-resist dessert pedestals are really metal candlesticks topped with clear glass plates. Fill them with chocolates, candies, cookies, or ornaments to enhance the playful mood.
Make plain placemats more decorative by gluing on borders of pink ribbons or braid. Use a washable fabric glue for the job, applying thin lines with a toothpick.
Create a sweet place setting by sandwiching a round of pink scrapbook paper and a red sticker-dot border between two glass plates. Personalized candies indicate where guests should sit.
Tuck dainty carnations into a slim florist's tube, and slip the tube inside a clear container filled with Jordan almonds for a surprising arrangement.
Go formal without going over the top with a table setting like this one. Small touches of iridescent accents and embellished crisp linens give a fresh yet refined look. Circle a centerpiece of all-white flowers with a border of green and red apple wedges. This arrangement contains pale hydrangeas, seeded eucalyptus, and a handful of strategically placed gold ornaments. Dip the apple wedges in lemon juice to prevent browning.
Red and green apple wedges stand out against the white china backdrop. Dip the apple wedges in lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.
Miniature stockings double as favors and a clever way to hold flatware. Stitched from green fabric, the stocking is personalized by metal letters hanging from sheer ribbon.