Whether you're planning on serving a big feast or will be hosting a small intimate affair, your Christmas table garland ideas are more often than not the focal point for the dining table.
We've asked a panel of industry interior experts and designers for their take on Christmas decorating ideas with garlands – and their top tips so no matter how large or small your festive celebration may be this year, it will look sublime.
Christmas table garland ideas
This holiday season, dress your table for success with help from these beautiful Christmas table garland ideas.
1. Introduce a festive color scheme
The holiday season is a great excuse to decorate with a riot of colors and patterns. Choosing which colors to decorate your Christmas dining room table with can be daunting – partly because there are so many options available.
'When decorating a table for Christmas, I like to make it feel really fun and festive with gold accessories, colored glassware and plenty of candlelight,' says Sue Jones, co-founder and creative director at OKA (opens in new tab). 'You can add a sense of drama with lots of greenery placed down the centre of the table or woven around a hanging chandelier. I would tie it all together with seasonal flowers and winter berries in rich, festive colors.'
2. Opt for pared-back scheme
Scandinavian design is distinctive for several reasons: pared-back, unfussy, uncluttered spaces – and a winning combination of form and function create aesthetically pleasing, yet practical interiors this holiday season.
'To create a full and inviting atmosphere in the dining room, you want to include as much as you can on your table without creating a cluttered and busy space,' says Ailie Williams, stylist at Neptune (opens in new tab).
'It’s important to allow room for food and placemats when everyone is gathered to eat, so layering table cloths, runners and napkins, with a clustered 'garland' row of spruce and candles down the centre of the table, will create a dressed and festive ambience, yet still allow for comfortably serving and eating.'
3. Evoke nature with fragrant dried fruit
When we are confined to our homes, making our Christmas table ideas look exquisite is more important than ever before for lifting the winter spirits. This is where to important of nature and fragrance fits in. 'Dried fruits such as limes and cinnamon also add a festive touch and smell beautiful, they can be woven in and around candles with ivy to create a garland,' says Kit Kemp, founder and creative director of Firmdale Hotels (opens in new tab) and Kit Kemp Design Studio (opens in new tab).
Candles are really important, regardless of whether there is day light or not – hurricane lamps work well in the day time, whilst candelabra and church candles add a dramatic and romantic touch. We generally prefer a random placement on tables as it looks more natural and less stiff, whilst also giving a ‘wow’ factor.'
4. Take a traditional approach
'On your table, there are many ways to make a Christmas garland that will leave a lasting impression on your guests,' explains Sue Barnes, founder and creative director at Lavender Green Flowers (opens in new tab). 'The typical way is to bundle mixed foliage cuttings together, tied along a coarse string to create a beautiful thick garland. Festive inclusions and real or indeed faux flowers can be added wired amongst this to finish this off beautifully.
'For a more “care free” style which we are seeing becoming more popular, is to grab bunches of Christmas foliage, branches and again festive inclusions and scatter these organically on the table top in a slight haphazard style that wraps around your plates of food and warming nightlights. Then if you would love to add flowers here, do so by placing cut stems of seasonal blooms in an eclectic mix of bud vases and again placing these amongst the center of your table.'
5. Create a pretty keepsake for your guests
Consider creating Christmas table garland ideas that not only look beautiful but also act as party favors. 'We are best known for our interiors; but we also love to dress our tables in glorious decorations and keepsakes,' says Kit Kemp, founder and creative director of Firmdale Hotels (opens in new tab) and Kit Kemp Design Studio (opens in new tab).
'An elegantly dressed table is the best way to make a meal feel special. Consider the color scheme, just like an interior, it can create a dramatic look if the colors of the decoration work in harmony. Small flower arrangements in jam jars or small vases are best so you can arrange them around the other items you want to place on the table and can act like a 'floral garland.
'Avoid high arrangements so guests can see over them and using bright seasonal flowers always adds a ‘wow’ factor. Use foliage and fresh fruit to add a dramatic or festive look, we love to use pomegranates, oranges and red currants.'
6. Light the way
Lighting too takes a starring role in your Christmas table garland ideas.
'It’s a good idea to work in clusters,' says Ailie Williams, stylist at Neptune (opens in new tab). 'Layer a bit of spruce on top of a linen runner and nestle in some of our Roseberry ceramic trees, Castleton houses, candlesticks and other small vessels filled with moss and foliage to act as a new take on the standard festive table garland. For extra pizazz, run a set of battery powered fairy lights down the center of the table.'
7. Decorate with pre-lit Christmas garlands
Opt for pre-lit garland for ease – and use them everywhere. 'Garlands are amazing – on fireplaces, banisters, and as part of your table,' says Chrissie Rucker OBE, founder and owner of The White Company (opens in new tab). 'If you don’t want the fiddle of winding fairy lights in, our pre-lit Symons garland is stunning and switches on at the touch of a button'
8. Craft you own festive garland
'Most people think you need to buy a Christmas garland to make a table centerpiece for the table, but there are some really beautiful ways to craft one yourself,' says Emma Deterding, founder and creative director at KDLoves (opens in new tab). 'For me it's all about using color and pattern to create a fun, statement tablescape that everyone will love, but balancing this with natural materials is the key to creating a beautiful and harmonious festive atmosphere.
Start by laying fronds of fresh pine or eucalyptus stems down the center of the table, fanning the foliage out to fill the space, the natural fragrance of both of these will capture the essence of Christmas with ease. Once you're happy with the foliage, you can then build this up with pine cones to add another natural element, before filling it out with glass candlesticks and baubles in an array of bright colors and patterns to add character and personality. A rainbow of colors will really make your table setting pop and add to that festive magic!'
9. Go for a slimline design
If your dining table is on the narrow side, then opt for a slimline Christmas garland that won't encroach on the limited space available. 'Our jingling bell garland is a lovely way to dress up your table,' says Chrissie Rucker OBE, founder and owner of The White Company (opens in new tab). 'Due to its slim design, it saves on space and can be used as an alternative to larger garlands, draped on tables, mantels, or round bannisters for a magical ambience. Its authentic sleigh-bell sound truly signals the start of Christmas.'
10. Forage for a contemporary garland
'For a truly modern, and on trend Christmas table, copy this fabulous gypsophila garland,' explains Lucy Searle, Global Editor in Chief, Homes & Gardens. 'It lasts well out of water so simply place bunches (cut the stems really short) along the center making sure you vary the heights to give a 'cloud' effect. Intersperse with metallic baubles and hurricane candles for a whimsy feel.'
This looks attractive and has a practical element in that it leaves space free on the rest of the table for further decorations.
11. Layer color and texture
Layer up colored decorations and tableware to give more of a sense of abundance. It doesn’t have to match, you can mix fine porcelain with chunky everyday plates or bowls.
'We love this contemporary and bright version of a festive table, the green and red are still there but in a fresh way,' says Melanie Griffiths, editor at Period Living . 'The Christmas table garland is simply perfect, and a great example of how you can make one out of anything, so be brave and adventurous with yours.'
How do you make an easy Christmas table garland?
To make an easy Christmas table garland, you can simply mimic a traditional garland, which is typically joined along its length by twine, and simply place foliage, candles and Christmas decorations along the central part of the dining table.
Another way to do so is to create a series of low floral displays in egg cups or small glasses and, again, dot them along the length of the table. If the foliage can hide the vessels it sits in, all you will see is greenery, which will give the impression of a dense table garland.
Does a table garland have to include real foliage?
A table garland doesn't have to include real foliage – you can use anything from faux foliage to tinsel to create a festive look along the length of your table. Or, you can use scented, dried herbs to create a table garland you can carefully pack away – the benefit being that it can reappear year-after-year, although it's unlikely to retain it's beautiful festive scent after its first outing.
The upside, however, of real plants is that you can enjoy the beauty of real flowers and seasonal herbs and foliage, and, of course, their heady scents.
Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events. For H&G, she writes features about interior design – and is known for having an eye for a beautiful room.
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