DIY Holiday Tablescape Ideas from an Interior Designer and Mom

winter holiday table decorated with evergreen garland

Sustainable and Budget-Friendly Holiday Tablescape Ideas To Take Your Decor Through Each Season

With the holidays right around the corner, now’s the perfect time to consider giving your decor a refresh with our holiday tablescape ideas. Gathering around the dinner table with loved ones is one of the most cherished parts of any holiday celebration. If you’re tired of having the same settings each year or are looking to add in some dimension and warmth, we’ve tapped Kate Pechinka, owner of Harbor House Interior Design and mom of two to help us out. With small intentional updates to your tablescape, you can create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere while still being sustainably minded and remaining on budget.

Start With Practicality And Warmth

Kate focuses on her guests’ comfort and the gift of togetherness when decorating her table. She explains, “The goal of a tablescape is to create beautiful moments and memories for your loved ones. But I also want everyone to feel welcomed at the table. There needs to be a balance between a beautiful tablescape and level of appropriateness for the guests, including children. The number one priority should be that everyone is having a good time, not worrying about spilling wine or dripping gravy on specialty linens or knocking over a candlestick.”

outdoor table setting with turquoise stoneware
Credit: Harbor House Interior Design

Go Beyond The Traditional And Embrace The Unexpected

While certain colors may be associated with certain holidays, you have full permission to go off script and create a tablescape that feels less bought and more carefully curated. “Unique color combinations can be playful yet still very enchanting,” Kate explains. Her ideas include, “Green pattern lines with natural wicker chargers, tortoise candle holders, and marigold colors, or pink patterned china with red and raspberry florals and tall white candlesticks.”

Kate’s Guiding Style Principles When Creating a Tablescape

  1. Consider your guest list
  2. Embrace pieces you already own and love
  3. Mix and match various finishes and textures for a curated look
  4. Don’t feel limited by the traditional holiday hues of orange and brown, or red and green.

Bring The Outdoors In

With sustainability top of mind at KIWI, gathering seasonal items found in nature is a wonderful and cost-effective way to add charm to any table. If you’re looking for natural elements to add to your decor, Kate encourages you to head outside. “Go out to your yard or local market and get inspired by color and texture. A live green garland for Christmas is also beautiful draped down the center of a Thanksgiving table. Orchids and paperwhites bring airy sophistication to a table. Tulips are easy to find in the grocery store. Small bunches in the same color down a table are playful and modern.” 

“Embrace the imperfection of natural elements and the inherent beauty of them.”

winter holiday table decorated with evergreen garland
Credit: Harbor House Interior Design

With two energetic preschoolers at home, Kate happily includes them in the art of gathering for her tablescapes. “My children love to collect pinecones and acorns,” she says. “Let your kids feel a part of the magic by having them sprinkle their findings along the center of the table. Then, incorporate white votive candles, earth-worn dishes, and loosely draped linen napkins. Embrace the imperfection of natural elements and the inherent beauty of them.” 

If you’re feeling crafty, you can put your kids’ pinecone collection to good use as place card holders with this KIWI craft.

Be Intentional With Your Purchases

When it comes to buying new pieces, Kate makes it count by choosing distinctive items that bring joy. She explains, “If you are going to make a purchase, treat yourself to a unique conversation piece that first and foremost you love: a platter from a local artist or vintage glassware (even if it is not a full set). But only buy items that you want to surround yourself with.”

“These are the pieces you will keep coming back to season after season because you will want to see and touch them,” she says. “They will continue to inspire you, your menu and tablescape. These types of purchases spark conversation and may evolve into a collection overtime. When guests hear you speak about an item, what it means to you or the story behind it, it may inspire their next hostess gift.”

simple outdoor tablescape with limelight hydrangea centerpiece
Credit: Harbor House Interior Design

Artfully Transition Your Staple Pieces From Season To Season

And finally, incorporating small changes for different times of year allows you to freshen your tablescape with little effort. “As you transition from season to season,” Kate says, “Just think about the colors of your surroundings. A mercury glass can be beautiful and moody in the winter and in the spring can be very sparkly with yellow and pink flowers. Candlesticks can change every season. They come in gorgeous colors and unique shapes and sizes now. It’s really just about bringing in smaller items that can be easily changed out while keeping your main collection.”

kate pechinka sitting on a white couch

About Kate Pechinka

Kate is the owner and principal designer of Harbor House Interior Design. She is a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers and has 10 years of in-the-field design experience. 

Post graduate school, her career began in corporate design and has focused on residential design for the past eight years. Kate’s full-service design firm, Harbor House, was established in 2017 and has been serving clients in all phases of design. Kate’s mission is to capture your essence of home. Follow Harbor House on Instagram.