Dining In, In Style: 5 Inspiring Holiday Tablescape Ideas

It’s obvious by now that holiday celebrations during COVID look mighty different than years past. But, even without large gatherings of family and friends, you can still make your home feel cheerful and festive this holiday season.

One great way to do that? Getting intentional about your holiday dinner place settings and table decorations! We’re making our holiday meals feel extra special by creating a thoughtful holiday tablescape. Just because you aren’t hosting guests doesn’t mean you can’t make your table settings and centerpiece feel merry and bright, right??

Read one for seven holiday dinner table ideas and holiday hosting tips for intimate gatherings. They’ll delight and inspire you, whether you’re flying solo this holiday season, celebrating with your partner or roommates, or if you have an immediate household that will be gathering around the table.


holiday decor in traditional style dining room

Setting Something Special

When setting your table for your big holiday meal, give each place setting a little something special. A surprise at each place setting offers an element of excitement and thoughtfulness to your holiday table. You can either do the same thing at each place setting or give a unique gift to each person at the table.

Need some ideas? Perhaps an ornament each person can hang on the tree and keep for years to come. Maybe a simple stocking stuffer or a favorite candy, tucked inside a mini stocking or a clear plastic tree ornament! We also love some simple greenery with a name card or petite candles they can burn later. You can really do anything that’s small and feels festive and charming!

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holiday decor in traditional style dining room

Let Your Light Shine

For casual dining settings, try creating a centerpiece with an assortment of your favorite candles for added warmth. Create visual interest by mixing candles of different heights and shapes. An added bonus? They’re not just for the holidays! You can keep these up into the New Year and throughout the winter for continued brightness and cheer around the table!

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holiday dinner table ideas

Keep it Simple

Have a teeny table in a dining nook? Go simple with your Christmas table decorations. We love using small wreaths as a simple centerpiece. They look (and smell!) festive on their own—but you can also throw a few candles in the center for a lively and bright Christmas centerpiece for an intimate holiday gathering! A lower centerpiece like this in a small dining nook doesn’t take up a ton of space, and it really elevates the look of your tablescape.

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holiday dinner table ideas

The Case for the Coffee Table

This one might be one of our favorite Christmas table setting ideas for 2020. If you’re flying solo or celebrating the holidays with just one other person, embrace the different year and gather around your coffee table for dinner instead! This small and intimate tablescape is perfect for those who are video calling other members of their family or enjoying a virtual cocktail hour with friends. A coffee table also allows you tons of space to spread out a family-style dinner or charcuterie board! Add festive touches around your coffee table—like seasonal foliage, candles, and cozy pillows and throws!

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Holiday decor dining room

A Formal Affair for Just a Few

Miss hosting large gatherings and want to create a more formal tablescape even though it’ll just be your immediate family around the table? We get it—and just because you have a smaller group this year doesn’t mean you can’t go all out with some stunning holiday decor ideas! And pulling it off is quite simple. Showcase a few of your favorite decorative objects (such as vases or nutcrackers) at the center of the table. Then, add in seasonal greenery to create contrast and add a bit of festive color and texture.

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holiday dinner table ideas

Sprinkling Festive Decor Throughout the Room

Not super into ornate or complicated tablescapes? You can always skip the holiday tablescape and instead introduce other elements of holiday or winter decor into your dining room. We love the idea of setting up a small tree in your dining room, or hanging your stockings into this area to help spread holiday cheer throughout your whole home! (Check out our holiday lookbook for more fun decor ideas.)

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neutral dining room with fall decor

Unexpected and Understated

Ok, so we may have highlighted this look for our Thanksgiving tablescape ideas earlier this fall. But we think it’s still relevant for Christmas! After all, just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you have to decorate your dining room in reds and greens. If understated, neutral, and timeless is your vibe, try going neutral with your decor. Opt for marble or stoneware vases with unexpected foliage. Then sprinkle in bits of cream, grey, and green to create contrast. (But with the green, opt for something other than winter greenery—like a bowl of fruit—to keep things unexpected and understated.)

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Want more dining room design ideas? Check out our dining room furniture checklist for all the essentials your dining room can’t live without!

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Holiday Interiors Inspired by Your Favorite Christmas Movies

The holiday season looks mighty different this year. We’re all hunkering down at home, and holiday celebrations during COVID are turning into virtual gatherings. The bright side? It’s a great excuse to go all out on holiday decorating this year! Just because you’re not hosting a holiday party or having a big family gathering doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy trimming your Christmas tree, draping your home in red and green, and enjoying all the magic this season has to offer.

If you’re ready to load up on the cheer and festivity in your home this year, we put together a little something to inspire you—a guide to holiday decor ideas based on our favorite Christmas movies! We took five of our favorite classic Christmas movies and their interiors, and reimagined them for today! From The Grinch to Home Alone, peek inside these holiday-inspired living rooms full of Christmas movie decorations, and steal some inspiration for your own place!

Bonus idea: Coordinate a virtual holiday bash, where you and each of your friends decorate your home based on your own favorite holiday movie and give out prizes for the best decor! Tired of virtual gatherings? Have a holiday movie marathon from afar, complete with plenty of hot cocoa or eggnog and tons of twinkle lights.

Need help designing a room in your home? Holiday decor aside, our designers are pros at helping you reimagine the possibilities for your exact room in 3D! Start your project today and see how amazing your space can look.

classic christmas movies – the Grinch

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

If there was ever a living room designed to make your heart grow three sizes larger, this would be it! Step inside the first interior inspired by one of our favorite classic Christmas movies—How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

A room that combines the holiday spirit of Whoville with the funkiness of Mt. Crumpet, we imagined the Grinch would (perhaps reluctantly) enjoy curling up by the fire in his new digs. The Mr. Grinch house decorations in this space have a very Grinch color palette—lots of greens, a few pops of red, and some high-contrast black and white. We stocked the space with a few touches from his old home on Mount Crumpet, along with some stolen Christmas gifts (because he’s still the Grinch, after all), and a few nods to Max.

Love the whimsy of Whoville? Us, too! The Christmas tree in their town square is among the top five most iconic christmas trees out there—in our humble opinion.

classic christmas movies – the holiday

The Holiday

Would any post on classic Christmas movies really be complete without a Nancy Meyers-inspired space? The home we all want to visit (or live in), our designers used Amanda’s LA mansion from The Holiday as the inspiration for this interior.

Staying true to the colors used in the film, our living space features a palette of neutrals with pops of greens and burgundies to give it some cozy touches. The furniture feels traditional, but has a contemporary twist that gives the space a modern update. The only thing missing? The magical combo of Jude Law sitting on a Nancy Meyers-approved sofa. Alas!

Are you an Iris or Amanda? Dig into The Holiday movie design style with more decor ideas from both of the iconic homes in The Holiday!

classic christmas movies – the nutcracker

The Nutcracker

For our third interior inspired by classic Christmas movies, we took design direction from the 19th-century ballet, The Nutcracker. The room is full of classic European-inspired design elements—a rolled-arm sofa, medallion patterned rug, and damask wallpaper—all drenched in a sugar plum purple color palette.

A few hidden gems for true fans of the classic ballet include a smattering of white sugar plum decor, the grandfather clock, and a few modern-inspired nutcracker tchotchkes. Finally, the art above the mantel is a nod to Uncle Drosselmeyer—the famous character behind the story.

classic christmas movies – white christmasWhite Christmas

The next of our favorite Christmas movies is truly the most classic of the bunch: White Christmas. Set in the 1950s, we styled this interior true to the traditional design aesthetic of the time. Think: your East coast grandmother’s style.

Really nail this classic look with two spindle-back windsor chairs flanking the fireplace. A pair of cozy wingback armchairs across from a velvet chesterfield sofa also bring this look to life.

The overall color scheme offers a nod to the movie as well as some of the prints, textures, and fabrics. For those looking to bring this look into their home, try sticking to a more traditional style and don’t be afraid of too much tinsel!

classic christmas movies – Home AloneHome Alone

The truly Christmas-obsessed will revel in this interior inspired by the classic 90s Christmas flick, Home Alone. Kevin McCallister’s family lived in a gorgeous early-20th-century colonial revival home, and our designers wanted an interior look that would complement the home’s architecture.

In case you missed it during your last viewing, the entire movie set of the Home Alone house interior was designed with red and green as the main color palette (even down to the kitchen countertops!) so we wanted to bring that element through to our Home Alone-inspired interior.

In true Home Alone movie fashion, we couldn’t help but deck the space out head to toe in classic Christmas decor—a large, bushy Christmas tree, garlands, wreaths, and nutcrackers galore! There’s no Kevin McCallister (or Macaulay Culkin) in sight, but we’re pretty sure he’d have a ball spending Christmas in this space. (And we’re pretty sure you would, too.)


Need some extra holiday decor inspiration? Check out our holiday decor lookbook, which features three curated looks with different decor packs to help you decorate for winter (the holidays and beyond) with ease this year! This includes some holiday mantel decor, and some great living room design ideas.

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