Home & Garden

Easy tips for freshening your holiday table

We may repaint, recover and renovate – but then we still use the same old napkins, place mats and dishes in our refreshed dining rooms and kitchens. A few careful switches can help you create a new look that will have you and your guests dining in style. During the holiday season, as entertaining hits its peak, you have more selection at better prices than any other time of the year.

The backdrop

If you have a set of solid-colored dishes, you can create a multitude of fresh arrangements. By adding just a few dishes in contrasting colors or patterns, like salad plates, you can make a splash.

Today’s table is all about mixing and matching. For example, you could add a set of salad plates that harmonize with your current china. Great examples are Pottery Barn’s appetizer and dessert plates. If you have bone, ochre, or moss-colored dinner plates, pair them with the Fresco Turkey plate for a beautiful fall or Thanksgiving table ( potterybarn.com).

Make your dinner-scape more interesting, too, by mixing round and square plates.

Year-round appeal

Whether you want to add a spot of new color or create a more versatile collection, think about how you like to dine. If it’s out by the pool, choose colors that take you from spring into summer. In the fall and winter, look for accent pieces that focus on autumn colors.

Cutlery also comes in a variety of styles and colors and can really change the look of your table. Add a stylish feel with Anthropologie’s Resplendent flatware, which can coordinate with summer or fall place settings ( anthropologie.com). Vintage is all the rage; try flea markets and swap meets to find pieces.

Bottoms up

Don’t forget about making some changes in your beverage glasses.

Whatever your favorite libation, try to have the coordinating glass, like a cool margarita glass. Adding a bright, shiny set of Moscow mule mugs will bring some sparkly fun to the table. Get a set of these copper mugs for about $60 ( overstock.com). Instead of cups and saucers, try a coordinating set of coffee mugs for dinner gatherings.

Table linens

Tired of the same old place mats? Slip them under the cat’s dish or line your refrigerator vegetable drawers, then use pretty tea towels or rattan chargers for a change of pace.

Use table runners spread across the table as shared place mats. If you use table cloths, try layering them, with a large cloth on the bottom and a smaller square or round one layered in the middle.