Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Where To Begin When Designing a Holiday Table!



I received a comment from a reader that really made me stop and  think? Jill Sorensen  is not only beautiful but extremely talented.
 One of the many things I admire about her is her total abandon when it comes to using colors and whimsical pieces in her home.
 If you have not read her blog, and you LOVE colorful interiors with a touch of whimsy you must go and visit her HERE. 
She will actually be on the Nate Berkus show this coming Monday.




Back to her comment! She wrote this……..

Live Like You has left a new comment on your post "Using Natural Elements for Easter!!":
If I only had the talent...I don't know but I'm useless with holiday decorations. I need you to come over to my house and give me a true tutorial. I can design a home but this kind of stuff I feel really lost and have no idea where to start!!!


First, I was surprised, because trust me this lady has major talent, but her comment made me think.. What seems to come naturally to one person does not always come naturally to another, even for a designer.

It made me realize that maybe it might be helpful to talk about how I come up with ideas for my holiday decor by taking you through my process.

  I will use this year's Easter table as an example:

When I know a holiday is  approaching I begin to think about what I might like to do for the decorations. I usually will start with a color combination.
 This inspiration usually will come from something that I saw and was attracted too for various reasons.

This years color scheme came to mind from seeing all the beautiful bright pops of yellow being used in homes........

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I wanted a fresh crisp look so I decided I would use white as my accent with touches of green.

Now that I had my color scheme I needed to find a jumping off point or a Spring board!!

I already had some solid white and  solid yellow plates to use. I thought it would look nice to use  a pattern and some color in the linens.

I did not find any ready made linens that suited me and really was not quite sure that I had made the right color choices until I saw this……..

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I knew I would not be able to find something ready-made  in this pattern so that meant finding fabric. Lucky for me one of my readers Laekitha, from Home To  Three Duncan Boys blog found the fabric for me so I did not even have to go on a search.( I love the blogging community!)

This fabric is pretty bold so I did not want the whole table covered in it.  That meant a runner would be a better option. The fabric was ordered and given to my seamstress.


Figuring out the size of the runner:

I have a 48 inch wide table that will make out to 96 inches long. I chose to use a plain white table cloth underneath as a backdrop. It will  measure 120 inches. Because of the 120 inch length I knew the runner needed to be wider than a normal runner or it would look pencil-like on such a long table.


 How I decided the  width of the runner:

I got out a plate and measured how much space I would need to set a plate on each side of the runner. 12 inches on each side seemed to be perfect. So with a plate on each side of the runner that left me a total of 24” for the runner to be placed in the middle. The runner will be 24” wide by 120” long.

Now I was on my way. Yellow and white zig-zag which totally reminded me of rick-rack that my Mom use to put on my dresses. Perfect!!!
Excitement ensues with the possibility of the elements that I could use.I must keep a tight rein here so I don’t over-do.

Choosing flowers:
Next I need to think of the flowers, and natural greens I will use with this color scheme of yellow and white and pops of green.
Flowers will be pretty easy to find in yellow and whites. So I make a list of the possibilities:
  • Daffodils (if I can still get them)
  • Tulips
  • Gerbera daisies
  • Margarite daisies
  • Mums
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All these flowers will  come in the appropriate colors. These are also  easy flowers to arrange by just placing in a vase so that works for me!!

So now I have:
  • Colors: Yellow and white with touches of green
  • zig-zag fabric runner
  • flowers: Yellow or White with yellow accents
Next I need to decide on what other elements I need to  add to the mix.
This is where I make a list of items that I think might work with my base.

Possible elements to use:
  1. Eggs, white or yellow
  2. birds nest
  3. chicks
  4. sheep/lamb
  5. clay pots
  6. rick-rack
  7. greenery in the form of moss or wheat grass.
Actually the list could go on and on. I usually base my list on items I like and/or already have.

Now the hard part is to limit it to only three-four elements. If I were to use everything that is listed or available it would look like a Hot Easter Mess!! Not quite the look I was going for.

Keep-It-Simple is always a good mantra to follow when doing a table. Remember there will be dishes and glasses and silverware on the table also!!
I narrow it down too:
  • Eggs
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  • Birds nest
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(I chose to use metal!,you will see why when I explain the containers I am using.) You can find the metal nest HERE from My Sparrow stylish responsibility.

  • Possibly  yellow rick-rack that will repeat the zig-zag pattern in the runner.





  •  Green in the form of moss/grass
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Choosing a container:
Since I am having flowers I will need something to hold my flowers. I decided it would be fun to use galvanized metal. I like the way it looks with the bright golden yellow that is  in the fabric.
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I came to this conclusion after looking around on-line at different floral arrangements. I found I was attracted to the casual feel of the galvanized metal French flower buckets, and it felt a little unexpected to me.

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Here is my list of elements that I will be using:
  • Bright yellow/gold zig-zag runner
  • Simple white table cloth (No pattern ,the runner is the star here)
  • Galvanized metal French flower buckets
  • Daffodils or daisies
  • Moss/ wheat grass/baby tears
  • Bird nest also in metal (found here) to repeat the element of metal that I am using in the galvanized containers.
I am keeping  a tight color scheme and simple flowers in buckets. Festive and casual, perfect for a family dinner.

What about Napkins?:

Since the runner is bold I am going to stick with simple white cloth dinner napkins. I thought it might be fun to add a bit of color to the napkin in the form of a napkin ring/holder.
I had an image saved in one of my files that I planned on using at Christmas time on some packages, and I never quite got around to it. Since it involves silver metal I thought it would be perfect to use on my Easter table.(notice how I am repeating the metal element? Good design always repeats elements in a room)
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So here is the run down:
  1. Choose a color, fabric or dish as your Spring board.
  2. Make a list of elements that you like that would go with your inspiration piece.
  3. Narrow your list down to three-four elements
  4. Choose what flower or natural element you would like to use as your centerpiece. Keep it simple. I think any flower done in mass is the most effective and simple to do.
  5. Choose the appropriate container for your flowers. Think outside the box. Have fun!
  6. Pull all elements together to make sure there is a flow of color, shape and texture(just like you would in a room design)
  7. Once you are satisfied with your elements you are ready for your holiday table.
  8. Allow time to pre-order flowers and greens.
  9. Wash and iron all linens ahead of time(I like to use lavender water on my napkins)
  10. I set the table two days before the occasion just in case I need to do any tweaking.
  11. The flowers are added to the mix the day before so they look fresh and crisp!!!

Remember in design there are no mistakes only opportunities to become more creative. Your guest will never know that it did not turn out exactly as you had planned. They will only see that you did something very special for them to enjoy.
As I always say:

“Enjoy the Process” Of:
Planning a special Holiday table for your friends and loved ones!

Kathysue

15 comments:

Sally@DivineDistractions said...

What a great lesson in the process! You're tables are always so beautiful and well planned. Now I know why!! Just like everything else in design, it's not an accident when things come together well. Can't wait to see your finished table this week!

LiveLikeYou said...

Thank you for this post Kathysue!! And thanks for the kind words. I'm missing the gene for holiday decorations as well as for cooking,and I'm always in complete awe when I read things like this. Nothing is more fun than sitting down at a table for a delicious meal that's beautifully decorated. Reading this I realize it takes a lot of planning and also focus, as well as good ideas. My new quest inspired by you...I will start focusing on it and try to do something! I still would love for you to come to my house and make it all look so nice!!!

Janell @ Isabella and Max said...

What a great post, I never really know how to approach setting a beautiful table. I guess getting a large table is the first step, I've got that, did my runner this week, so I'm on my way! LOVE the yellow chevron fabric!
Janell

laxsupermom said...

Thanks for breaking down how you narrow down your table focus. I like to set my holiday tables a couple of days ahead, too. It saves me from running around like a crazy person on the day of.

vignette design said...

Your post is perfect timing for me Kathysue! I'm pulling all my elements together this morning to create my Easter tablescape. Not to be confused with my Easter table on Sunday, which is slightly different--only because of the number of plates I need. Beautiful post! Hope you are enjoying the pre-Easter festivities. xo Delores

Anonymous said...

i love your blog.

The Buzz said...

Like Jill, I'm definitely missing the holiday decorating gene (unless it's Christmas which I'm all over!) and the planning gene - we're making do with a BBQ on the porch and a basket of plastic eggs filled with jelly beans... Love your post and will hold on to it for the next holiday!
xxoo

quintessence said...

Great step by step with all the inspiration!! So generous of you to plot it all out for us! Lucky for me we are eating out this Easter - I only have 2 of the 4 kids at home so it didn't seem very festive staying in!!

Marcus Design said...

This is a great post Kathysue, and I too have troubles setting the table just right! Breaking it down for us into 11 steps is perfect!!

And PS. I LOVE Jill's style and can't wait to see her on Nate's show!!
Nancy

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

What a wonderfultutorial Kathysue! Putting it all down for us to follow and be inspired by is wonderfully useful!
Thanks so much!
Yvonne

Love Where You LIve said...

What fabulous inspiration I find here! Love the pops of yellow; it's a color that makes you smile, isn't it?! Wanted to stop in, see what's going on, say hello -- and invite you to check out my latest GiveAway -- porcelain enamel house numbers from Denmark. Have a great weekend, -susan

Linda Hartong said...

I love the way you walked me step by step through the process. I love to present a pretty table much more than I like the cooking part. Great, fresh color scheme

Dovecote Decor said...

Loved the post! Drop by to see our fabulous giveaway of a subscription to Traditional Home Magazine! You don’t want to miss out on this fantastic prize.
Best,
Liz

La Vie Quotidienne said...

Great hints and tips ~ thank you. Have a lovely Easter.

Blooming Rose Musings said...

Great post, Kathysue. I'm usually off to a good start but then I get to a point where I could use some guidance...which you have now provided. Wonderful help! Thank you so much for the very useful information. XO