Expert Advice

How to Set a Stunning Holiday Table in 5 Simple Steps

Adorn with abandon.

By Caitlin Clark
holiday dinner table setting nicole fisher

Few decorating projects provide more of a rush than adorning your home for the holidays. (There’s a reason people have been doing it earlier and earlier since the start of the pandemic.) And while you can earn instant cheer from decking out a tree or facade, there’s something truly magical about festivity that’s meant to be shared. Case in point: a holiday table setting.

The heart of any gathering, a joyful tabletop moment is crucial for setting the dinner party tone, but it can be a challenge to nail the perfect aesthetic. For a bit of guidance, we consulted designer Nicole Fisher. The New York native got her start in fashion design (she even styled Lady Gaga on tour) before pivoting to interiors and serving as Lead Designer for One King’s Lane. Today, she’s the owner and principal designer of her own firm, BNR Interiors.

From color schemes and scents to nailing the perfect bar setup, Fisher lays out the building blocks to creating a cozy, convivial holiday table that’s entirely your own.

Photography by Helena Palazzi.

holiday dinner table setting nicole fisher

Create a Color Scheme

I love to pick a color and work with different shades of it. For the holidays, I went with silver. It shimmers in the candlelight and is a perfect neutral. Different shapes, textures, and tones of silvers are seen throughout the table with candle holders, glassware, and vases. 

Adorn With Abandon

Take all your found objects, candles, and vases, and display them at random. It makes it seem more natural. Different heights and textures are key. No two alike should sit next to each other. The best part is there is no formula here, so it’s very easy to replicate! Be mindful of scents. Stick to one scent throughout the dinner party. 

Keep It Simple

For a cozy dinner party at home, keep the greenery to a minimum. It’s important for your guests to feel at home and welcomed into your beautiful space. Simple bud vases are perfect for a sprig or two. Let the candles and your accessories do the talking. For an extra pop of greenery, place a small sprig of rosemary on each table setting.

holiday dinner table setting nicole fisher

Jazz Up the Bar

I love making a statement with the bar! Give the same amount of love to the bar as you did with the table. Here I like to add a wow floral moment, display all the formal wine and cocktail glasses, and tier the set up so everything is easy to reach. Don’t forget to keep one of each liquor out so guests can pick and choose for their cocktails, and keep the champagne chilled in an ice bucket. Additional candles here add a beautiful ambiance. 

Break Out the China

A perfect time to take out that wedding china you never use! Create each table setting to include a decorative charger, a dinner plate, and a salad plate. A folded dinner napkin on each table setting polishes it off.