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Creating a Fall or Winter Tablescape

I love a beautifully decorated table.  It is art to me. At the moment, with all of our grandkids being young, it doesn’t last long.  However, while it does last, I think it upgrades the mood of a simple dinner.  When creating a fall or winter tablescape there are several things that I consider. A textile of some sort is always  the base layer for me. My next layer is usually something vintage because vintage immediately adds character and can also have sentimental value.  A natural item is also important to me just because I like it (artificial can definitely be used).  Lighting is really important as well for that special glow.

Ready to create a fall or winter tablescape?

A Soft Layer

Let’s start with the soft layer.  You can choose a tablecloth, runner, or even a throw, or baby afghan to add a bit of softness.  I just think a vignette looks unfinished if there isn’t a little fabric somewhere.  I use many different things but my go to is usually a runner just because you can still have use of the table around it.

Naturally dyed cloth as a fall or winter tablescape runner

Vintage Layer

If my vintage item is large, I use it next.  I have an old toolbox that belonged to my great grandfather that I use from fall through winter on my table.  It is the perfect size to contain colorful fall branches or winter’s evergreens along with anything else I want to add.  Sometime’s my vintage item might be smaller like a book or a small framed print that I may add last.

Natural Pieces

Nearly always, you will find natural items on my table.  For the winter, I sometimes tuck pinecones and evergreens along with a few bare branches into my wooden box.  Other times, I arrange the natural items down the middle of the table in a long line.  I like to use cuttings of cedar, boxwood, pine, and magnolia that I get from our property.  I especially love to use the red berries that grow on a bamboo bush or holly. 

I think it is fine to mix artificial and natural.  I like to dress up artificial greens with some natural pieces tucked in along with some small vines.  Often, you can’t even tell the difference between the real pieces and the artificial ones when you mix them in this way.  

Nuts that you can buy or find in the wild are also fun additions to fall and winter decor.  I think acorn caps are adorable in small containers and walnuts look great surrounding a candle.  Just remember to heat them for a bit in a very warm oven to get rid of any bugs that might be hiding in the natural ones.  You certainly don’t want any surprises!

Also, remember to use caution when using any natural items around children and pets.  I don’t use berries that have any toxicity in my decor now that we have little ones in the house.  I also avoid choking hazards.  Remember that natural items are usually more combustible and caution should be taken around open flames, too.

vintage place mats, dishes and dried herbs on a fall table.

Lighting for your fall and winter tablescape

Choosing between a real flame or an artificial one is an important consideration for lighting and should depend upon your purpose.  If it is a cozy evening as a couple or with a few friends, real wax is a must for me. Pillars, votives, tea lights, or tapers are lovely when scattered around or strategically placed when creating a fall or winter tablescape.  

I have used just about any kind of stand for a pillar or votive candle along with jars or other glass containers with salt in the bottom as a nest for tea lights or votives. The last few years Kenny has been creating tea light holders from small tree stumps and I have loved using those.   I usually go with traditional candlesticks for tapers but I have used wine bottles and they are gorgeous.  Although I love the dripping wax, your base layer would probably need to be disposable.  

The new artificial lighting options are also very beautiful and safer when you aren’t going to be able to constantly supervise.  A busy holiday party might end in a hole burned through a favorite cabinet (or worse) if you use real candles.  I know this because it happened to me once during a birthday party.  I now know better than to place a real candle on a covered shelf, even if it looks like there is plenty of space.  

Therefore, you definitely could have more options for placement with artificial candles.  I have seen some very realistic ones available although they are a bit pricey.  A string of battery operated fairy lights twined in my greenery is another artificial option for an added glow.

creating a tablescape is fun!

I didn’t always create fall and winter tablescapes.  One decorative piece did the trick for me years ago and there is definitely nothing wrong with that.  In spring and summer, I actually prefer a more simple table decoration.  I have found that doing a bit more with my table during the shorter and darker days of the year gives me a creative outlet and makes me feel festive at the same time.  I encourage you to give it a try!  

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