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........


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!