Whether you’re hosting a few close friends or are expecting a big party, the dining room is likely to be where everyone ends up. With that in mind, you can’t leave your dining room decor up to chance — especially when it comes to creating an atmosphere worthy of its important place on the day’s itinerary. Here are 20 ways to make sure your dining area shines brightly this holiday season!
1. Add natural elements
Gather some pine branches and spruce them up with some simple garland for an easy but festive centerpiece at your next dinner party. You can also add some decorative gourds around the base of the trees for good measure.
2. Use reflective surfaces
Go for glassware instead of metal utensils, and opt for light-colored dishes instead of dark ones. This will help brighten up the space.
3. Light it up!
Track lighting is always a good choice because it’s functional, but you can also add decorative lights around your dining table if you want some extra emphasis on your dinner party for this year. If you’re working with limited counter space on your buffet, try adding under-shelf lighting to make sure there are no dark spots in the room where guests could bump into.
4. Create an entrance statement piece
Much like the living room , your dining area should have some sort of focal point that welcomes guests when they come inside — whether that be a mirror or piece of art, it can help set the mood for your event.
5. Add some greenery on the walls
Adding some plants to the wall is a great way to add life and color into your dining area without cluttering up space on your table — and if you’re working with a small table (and even if not), it’s smart to use as much vertical space as possible in order to make things feel more open and inviting.
6. Pick a color palette & stick to it
Creating a cohesive color scheme, from walls down to table linen , will help tie everything together so that no matter where anyone is sitting they’ll have this at least one thing in common with their fellow guests. That also means putting plates of different colors on the same table, just be sure to put silverware that matches your color scheme on all of them.
7. Use patterned tablecloths for contrast
One of the easiest ways to play up the festive nature of the holiday season is to use a patterned tablecloth — whether it’s an ornate print or something with holly leaves, patterns are perfect for creating small focal points without having too much going on at once.
8. Set buffet-style tables
If you’re serving more than three courses (and even if not) setting up some self-serve stations is a great way to keep things casual and allow your guests freedom in terms of what they want to eat and when they want to eat it.
9. Don’t skimp on the seating!
Place settings are always a lot more fun when you have some room to work with. Give your guests plenty of elbow room by using place mats and larger tableware, and don’t forget about having enough high chairs for any little ones in attendance.
10. Use cloth napkins
Even if you’re going casual with your dinner party decor, adding in some fancy linens or cloth napkins will add a touch of class that won’t go unnoticed — plus it’s an easy change from regular paper napkins
11. Rethink the table covering
If you normally use a tablecloth, why not make it three? Layer different fabrics for added color and texture throughout the space and you’ll be surprised at how much this little addition can do.
12. Get in the holiday spirit
Holiday decorations are a must when it comes to creating the perfect mood for your upcoming dinner party — and we’re not just talking about Christmas ornaments . Add wreaths, pine cones, candles, garlands, etc. to get into that festive spirit!
13. Embrace natural elements
Natural elements will always work to give your dinner party decor some added flair — use wood plates , cut greenery from your backyard , add some fruit if you feel like it’s missing something… you get the gist. Just make sure everything has a cohesive theme so that things don’t look too random or cluttered!
14. Get creative with your lighting
Give special attention to the lighting in your dining space and you’ll find that it gives off a much warmer and more intimate feel than just having the overhead lights on. Candles will work as long as you’re not expecting any major gusts from Mother Nature, but if you can invest in some mood lighting or holiday-themed string lights for this year’s dinner party , we know everyone will appreciate it!
15. Choose practical place settings
Forget about fancy china — using everyday plates, bowls, glasses and silverware will make the entire spread look a lot more put together without going into too many costs . Just choose something that matches well with everything else going on in the room!
16. Place the buffet in a less-than-obvious place
If you’re going for that café or restaurant feeling, think about changing up where people will find the buffet . Instead of placing it in plain sight so people can see all your yummy food as soon as they walk through the door, put it low and behind a wall or something else large so guests have to go looking for it and appreciate all your hard work and efforts even more!
17. Keep things short & sweet
Who says you need hours upon hours before dinner? Keeping things short with some appetizers while people are arriving at their seats is perfect for if you have an early dinner party planned — who’s going to say no to mini sliders, after all?
18. Serve smaller bites & encourage sharing
If you really want to keep your dinner party casual, serve up mini bites for people to snack on while they hang out with each other or take their time getting to the table. This will also help with keeping things low-key since people are more likely to share something when there’s less of it!
19. Keep the drinks flowing
Have bottles of wine , canned cocktails or sparkling juice drink chilling in ice buckets on the table — people love having options that don’t break the bank! If you’re feeling really ambitious, find some small bottles of liquor and make a signature cocktail everyone can enjoy while catching up .
20. Don’t sweat it if things get messy
Dinner parties are hard, man. If you’re going for a buffet-style sit down where people can constantly get up and serve themselves, it’s going to be okay if the table gets messy — nobody will judge! You just have to do a little cleaning when things wrap up and everyone will be none the wiser.