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.


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!

Shop This Look


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!

Shop This Look


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.

Shop This Look


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!

Shop This Look


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.

Shop This Look


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.)

Shop This Look


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.)

Shop This Look


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

Want some help bringing your dining room dreams to life?

Start My Project


15 Holiday Decorating Tips from Modsy Designers

holiday decorating tipsIt’s that time of year again! After we’ve had our full of turkey (and only then) we’re diving into full-on festive mode and getting our homes set for the holidays. No matter if you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Festivus, or nothing at all, it can still be fun to add a few seasonal or festive touches to your home decor.

And when it comes to holiday decorating, some people love to follow tradition while others prefer to shake it up with something new and unexpected each year. If you’re looking for some holiday decorating tips and inspiration, we’ve got you covered. We polled our team of Modsy designers to see how they decorate for the holidays.

Scroll on to get inspired with some designer-approved holiday decorating tips and ideas!

holiday decorating TipsDeck Out a Holiday Focal Point

“Pro tip: if you have a fireplace mantel, take advantage of it! You can string garland and lights on it with some of your favorite holiday decor. A fireplace/mantel is a statement for any home, so why not make it grand?”

– Miranda W, Modsy Designer

Read This Next: 3 Fall-Ready Mantel Decor Ideas

“If you celebrate Christmas, go all out on the tree! I like to use ribbon, a set variety pack of ornaments, select specialty ornaments and some of the decorative sticks and BAM.. awesome tree.”

– Leah W

“I love a real tree. I take the clipping from the bottom and use them in vases all over the house. My daughters decorate our tree with the ornaments they received growing up and then—if there’s room—my husband and I will try and hang up some of ours too.”

– Janna C

Make It Uniquely Yours

“I enjoy picking a new, unique theme for my tree each year. A few of my favorites have been poinsettias, hats, ski lodge, and even childhood memories.”

– Julia G

“Each year I try to choose a new, out-of-the-box material to decorate my mantle. One year it was cork, the next it was tinsel. I pick a new theme and run with it but always strive to keep the overall look classic and timeless.”

– Erin K

It’s All About the Lights

“I love using string lights everywhere. They make any room feel more magical!”

– Tais K

“Lights are always a must! A strand of white and red lights can make any space feel warm and cozy.”

– Silver H

“I love white lights and garland, it makes my entire space so cozy! I always chose white lights over colored, they just add warmth to the whole room.”

– Morgan V

small space holiday decor tipsWork With What You’ve Got

“I live in a tiny apartment with my boyfriend and puppy, so space is limited! Instead of a tree, we like to hang some ornaments in our big living room window using different length ribbons. It looks so pretty and festive!”

– Mackenzie R

Read This Next: How to Host a Holiday Party in a Small Space

“I live in a condo with limited floor/shelving space and a curious toddler, so what really gets me excited for any holiday or season is a decorative wreath on the front door. It provides the wow-factor that I want and it really makes a difference to have a nice wreath greet me, my guests, and neighbors during this time of year!”

– Andrea S

“For years I did an abundance of fresh garland and a real tree. It’s still my favorite because it doesn’t take much to make a big impact. However, this year I’m in a third floor walk-up so I’ve had to get creative. I have a small white on white flocked tree, pampas grass garland, and lots of paper snowflakes.”

–Logan R

colorful holiday decorating ideasPlay With Color in Your Holiday Decor

“I recently started investing in seasonal pillows, they’re a fun way to introduce more colors that I wouldn’t normally decorate with. Think muted reds and oranges around fall and forest greens with icy blues for winter.”

–Lauren H

“Stick to a color palette, and let that flow throughout your home! Currently, mine is white, silver, gold, and rose gold.

–Diana K

“The easiest way is with pillows and throws in my opinion, but there are also lots of fun ways to bring in some holiday decor unexpectedly. I have a few built-ins and shelves were there are everyday baskets and bins, and I like swapping them in with more festive pieces, either with cozy textures or fun holiday colors and patterns.

– Lauren M

Feeling Inspired by These Holiday Decorating Tips?

Start My Project