Hydrangea and Holly Tablescape

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Christmas tablesetting
Hydrangea and Holly Tablescape

My holiday table is inspired by the hydrangea in my backyard. I was able to cut the hydrangea before it matured and turned brown.

White Hydrangea Bush
White Hydrangea

The hydrangea in the tablescape came from a white hydrangea bush.  It dried this beautiful shade of green that blends well with my dining room wall color and the tabletop tree and so the hydrangea became my theme for the tablescape.

Dried Hydrangea
White Hydrangea Turned Green When Dried

How to Get the Custom Curated Look

The key to achieving a custom-designed tablescape is to strategically plan the look and make it cohesive. This can be done by first choosing a theme and color scheme for the table. I find, once I have selected a theme, it keeps me focused in the tablescape creation.

In this tablesetting, I have chosen a somewhat casual, relaxed theme that focuses on elements from my garden. Because, the hydrangea has turned a pretty shade of green, I have chosen the neutral green as my main color supported by gold, ivory, and white accents.

Holiday Tablesetting with Hydrangea, Holly, Boxwood, and Gold Trees
Hydrangea and Holly Tablescape

Before I buy anything for a tablesetting, and to achieve a tablescape that looks curated and custom made, I start by looking around the house to see what I already own or have available in the garden or backyard that can be incorporated into the tablescape. Nothing new was purchased for this tablesetting. I have had the gold trees and baubles for years and re-purpose them to wherever I need them each Christmas. Integrating items you already own creates a curated look, makes the setting more personal and, of course, it’s more economical.

Gold-colored glittery tree
Gold-colored tree and soft green dried hydrangea form Christmas tablescape

Create the Tablescape Before Arranging Placesettings

When constructing a tablescape, piece by piece, directly on the table, I recommend starting with an unset table. You don’t want to be touching glassware with your arm and potentially knocking glasses over, causing breakage, as you try to reach into the center of the table to place items in the tablescape. Also, if there are pine or fir needles (fresh or faux), glitter, etc., involved, those will inevitably find their way on to plates and napkins and into glasses and, well, that’s just not the kind of garnish guests want to see in or on their food and drink! It’s just awkward to try and create a tablescape amidst placesettings. If you need to have parameters set for the spacing of the tablescape itself, I suggest setting the charger plates at each placesetting as markers. These can then be cleaned before the actual plates to be used for food are added.

Top-down view of Hydrangea and Holly Tablescape
Hydrangea and Holly Tablescape

Sometimes, I leave the table bare and other times I use a tablecloth such as the vintage Irish linen white tablecloth I have used in this setting. I find the white makes a great canvas for the elements of the tablescape to stand out.

One of the most important factors to consider when constructing a tablescape is its height. For the comfort of guests, and to enable them to communicate across the table during the meal, keep the height of the tablescape below the eyeline of seated guests.

For this tablescape, I started with a couple of good quality large faux greenery piks placed end-to-end in the center of the table. This provided the anchor base and shape, added depth and fullness, and also dictated the general size and expanse of the tablescape.

Faux Greenery Piks for Tablescape
Base of Artificial Greenery for Holiday Tablescape

Next, I used an odd number of the focal point items – in this case, the three gold trees – and positioned them into place.

Adding gold-colored trees to a tablescape
Constructing the holiday tablescape piece by piece

From there, I took the hydrangea and placed it in, around, and throughout the tablescape. There is no need to be overly fussy about keeping the hydrangea placement perfectly symmetrical. Instead, work on the flow, movement, and keeping the look natural.

Creating a holiday tablescape with faux greenery, dried hydrangea, and gold-colored trees
Adding the dried hydrangea to the tablescape

Any place where I noticed gaps, I filled in with some greenery. Either fresh or faux greenery can be used. I chose freshly cut boxwood and holly from the bushes along my walkway. I opted to use just branches of holly that had no berries as there was no red connection to the tablescape and the leaves of the holly tree have such a lovely shape. Every time I step out my front door, I marvel at the stunning beauty of the holly bushes, particularly after a fresh snowfall.

Snow on Holly Berries
Holly Berries and Leaves

I find, when creating a tablescape consisting primarily of flowers or foliage, it is best to limit the number of different kinds used. A general rule of thumb is to choose one signature flower (in this case, the hydrangea) and use a significant amount of it. This allows it to make a statement without competing with a number of other varieties of flowers. Using the boxwood and holly leaves, which are darker shades than the hydrangea, gives depth to the tablescape and also contributes to the seasonal look.

Some Christmas balls/baubles in light colors were added to inject some brightness into the tablescape and the metallics, of course, add texture, shape, and interest.

Christmas Baubles
Christmas Baubles Add Texture and Interest to Tablescape

I added some ribbon here and there to connect the tablescape to the ribbon on the tabletop tree in the dining room, thus keeping the look cohesive and coordinated.

Wire-edged gold and ivory ribbon bows
Pretty Ivory and Gold Ribbon Bows
Flocked Tabletop Tree
Tabletop Tree in Dining Room Coordinates with Tablescape

Because the hydrangea is tinder dry, I don’t want any open flame from candles on the table so have opted for battery lit gold glittery votives to give a warm glow and sparkle. A string of battery-operated twinkle lights with fine gold wire is strung throughout the arrangement to give a magical ambience to the table, particularly for evening dining.

Gold trees, dried hydrangea, and holly leaves form a neutral holiday tablesetting
Hydrangea and Holly Christmas Tablescape

Some brightly wrapped parcels in gold and white were placed, kitty-corner, on opposite ends of the table, adding a festive and glitzy look.

Gold and white gift-wrapped packages
Gold and White Wrapped Gifts
Gold-wrapped Parcels
Gifts wrapped in gold foil paper add glitz to a holiday table

Placesettings

Placesetting of white plate on gold charger plate
Placesetting for Hydrangea and Holly Tablesetting

This neutral, nature-inspired tablescape is versatile enough that it will coordinate well with a number of different dinnerware choices. Here, I have set the table with plain white dinnerware (my all-time favorite!) but the tablescape will go equally well with my formal china that has enough green and gold in it to match. It will also work with my red and green plaid casual dinnerware and it would also complement my green and white vintage dishes. It’s always great when this can happen as it extends the use of the tablescape over the holiday period and the table’s look can be changed by simply switching out the dinnerware, napkins, and glassware.

I am a big fan of charger plates not only because I think they dress up a table and frame each placesetting but also because they serve the practical purpose of protecting the table linen from stains should any food find its way off a plate (it happens). The basic white dinnerware atop simple gold chargers is always elegant and sophisticated, goes with anything, and food colors pop against a white plate.

I have chosen to use white napkins with a glittery gold snowflake motif. Apart from contributing a soft textile texture to the table, the napkins connect to the gold in the tablescape and to the charger plates, again maintaining a cohesive and sophisticated look. In order to best show the motif, I have purposely used a simple flat napkin fold.

Gold Snowflake Motif on White Napkin
Snowflake Napkin

The placesettings reflect the order in which the meal will be served. In this case, the two plates and cutlery placement indicate there is a salad course followed by the main entrée. Stacking the plates gives a layered look that adds visual depth and fullness to placesettings. I have chosen glassware with lots of cut glass so that it will reflect the light and add dazzle to the table.

Gold and white placesetting
Stacking Plates Gives Placesetting a Layered and Full Look

Setting a well-styled holiday table need not cost a lot of money. In this case, the use of free foraged natural products collected from my garden and yard provides a connection to nature and creates a neutral, yet festive tablescape.

Christmas Tablesetting in shades of green and gold
Hydrangea and Holly Tablesetting

 

To view other Christmas-themed tablesettings from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting
Snowmen and Snowballs Tablesetting
The Christmas Rose Tablesetting
Blush Pink Holiday Tablesetting
The Christmas Greens Holiday Tablesetting
Just Hear Those Sleigh Bells Jinglin’ Tablesetting
Twas The Night Before Christmas Tablesetting
The Warmth of the Christmas Light Tablesetting
A Tartan Holiday Tablesetting
Pretty Poincettia Tablesetting
Poinsettia Trio Tablesetting
The Holiday Table
The Pink and Green Holiday Table
Purple Tablesetting for the Holidays
Christmas at My Island Bistro Kitchen
Christmas Eve Tablesetting and Dinner
Cupcake Tablescape
Evergreens and Reindeer Christmas Tablescape

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