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Unusual (and easy) festive table decor for a stylish Christmas dinner

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Amy Swales
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We all have that one friend or relative who trims up their house like it’s in an interiors mag come December.

Where we tolerate embrace the Christmas chaos of half-working lights and tinsel of indeterminate age, they perfect Scandi chic and showstopping trees with muted colour schemes. But, when it comes to the dinner table at least, it’s not as hard as you think to style a Christmas to impress.

Scroll through our gallery below for unusual – and importantly, easy – decoration inspiration for this year’s Christmas table. We’ve got statement centrepieces, personalised place settings and, of course, a touch of natty Nordic class.

Bring on the hosting, because we’ve got this...

  • Contrast Centrepiece

    This tree table decoration from All Things Brighton Beautiful shows that simple designs can be striking against a contrasting, plain background. (Invert this if for some unfathomable reason you don’t have black walls.)

  • Statement Cutlery

    Leave the statement-making to the cutlery: a colourful iridescent set (like these electroplated ones from Urban Outfitters) look stunning on a neutral background. Zara Home also does coloured steel flatware.

  • Chalkboard Placemat

    Keep your linen pale, your fairy lights simple and your place mats customisable. An interesting, less severe take on festive monochrome tableware by Newton and the Apple.

  • Christmas Brights

    A simple version of neon Christmas by Instagram user @hhhhourra – keep the colour central with just a touch on each plate.

  • Repurpose Cards

    Repurpose striking Christmas cards as name cards for your guests. These papercut styles from Etsy have enough space to write the name as well as a modern Christmassy feel.

  • Mismatched Glamour

    This cluster of candlesticks, holders and ornaments from Graham and Green demonstrates the shabby-chic elegance in simply bundling your favourite Christmassy things together.

  • Tropical Touches

    Scatter a selection of unusual decorations over your Christmas table, such as these cacti, flamingos and pineapples by Oliver Bonas. They’re stylish, but recognisably Christmassy thanks to the sparkle and colour (and hey, you’ll be eating turkey around them no doubt).

  • Precise Baubles

    While the aforementioned scattering is an excellent tableware choice, well-placed baubles (as seen in this Instagram by Paperchase) can give off the right mix of organised and ever-so-slightly random.

  • Candle Centrepiece

    Easiest Christmas table shortcut ever – a fancy candle focal point (such as the pictured, by Graham and Green).

  • Creative Place Settings

    Making your own place settings doesn’t have to be an overblown affair resulting in several paper cuts, tissue paper stuck to your forehead and many, many curse words. Try three candy canes and a bit of card instead, a la this from mummyshorts.com.

  • Pineapple Love

    Pineapples are the in thing these days. So why not incorporate gold and copper versions into your Christmas table? A fast track to glam by Oliver Bonas...

  • Display Differently

    Fill your glass cake stand with something other than cake and bam: an interesting, yet understated Christmas table centrepiece just made itself. Featured stand from The White Company.

  • Suspended Arrangements

    If you have the space (and appropriate fittings), you could try focusing on what’s above the table rather than on it. This hanging bough arrangement from neptune.com displays lights and baubles in an unusual and striking way.

  • Modern Accents

    You can go traditional with the majority of your colours and introduce one striking shade for a touch of modernity, such as using these rose gold crackers from Waitrose with a red and white colour scheme (all other items also available at Waitrose).

  • Outside Inside

    Bring the outside inside with these tarnished metallic acorn baubles from Graham and Green – a scattering on a bare wooden table top adds a rustic Christmas finish.

  • Monochrome Xmas

    This from Instagram user @mkmamavibes demonstrates how eye-catching a simple colour scheme can be. What’s more, this black and white theme with brown paper accents is easy to DIY.

  • Table Tree

    More festive than your standard light jar, this Graham and Green curved Christmas tree number needs little else.

  • Candle Cluster

    Why have a few dancing flames when you can cram your table full of them and create the simplest Christmas centrepiece known to man.

  • Copper and Slate

    The combination of copper and slate, especially on a wooden table, is chic and simple, as this styling from houseology.com shows. Christmas it up by adding these bauble string lights.

  • Fresh Shades

    Stick to natural woods and greenery, as in this wayfair.co.uk-styled table, and it’ll look bright and festive without going overboard.

  • For The Kids

    Not only will this activity table by Simply Sweet Soirees look great on Christmas Day, it’ll keep the kids busy (for a few blessed moments before the food-throwing resumes, of course).

  • Layering

    Layer wood with simple crockery (as seen here by Lene Bjerre Design) and use decorated pine cones for a natural, rustic look. (Just keep it minimal to err on the side of stylish, rather than tipping over into full-on table forest.)

  • Simple and Sparkly

    Take a tip from The White Company and match plain pillar candles with sparkly glass or silver baubles for a low-key, but glamorous, look.

  • Wood Runner

    Table runners are usually cloth, but salvaged, painted wood as seen here by nordichouse.co.uk, is a great addition to a white-themed table.

  • Brown Paper Packages

    Who needs fancy place mats? Brown paper + felt tips = personalised, low-effort table settings. Visit blog Pritee Penee for more decoration ideas.

  • Christmas Rebel

    For when the idea of a theme all just gets a bit much (firebox.com).

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Amy Swales

Amy Swales is a freelance writer who likes to eat, drink and talk about her dog. She will continue to plunder her own life and the lives of her loved ones for material in the name of comedy, catharsis and getting pictures of her dog on the internet.

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