A rustic tablecloth accented with a textured table runner will create the perfect backdrop for your other decor and dishes. Layer each place setting with rustic accents such as a needle felted pumpkin, pine cone turkey or corn husk doll. Check out this amazing ruffed burlap tablecloth by Grandin Road.
Make naturalistic candleholders: Instead of using standard candleholders for tapered, pillar or tea candles, turn seasonal produce and natural branches into decorative candleholders that will become the talk of the party. Stick with produce that captures the feel of the season.
Hollow out the tops of apples and pumpkins to use as candleholders, or wrap vegetables such as asparagus or green beans around the base of a pillar candle, tying them together with a decorative ribbon.
If you're handy with a saw, you also can make candleholders out of large tree branches from your yard. Not feeling confident in your woodworking skills? Church House Woodworks offers a wide selection of handmade tree branch candleholders for your holiday events.
Use basic white plates: Sharon Rowley from iVillage suggests an alternative to highly decorative place settings. "My recommendation would be to get basic white pieces," Rowley says. "Then you can always add a colorful place mat, a colorful charger to go with it, or colorful centerpieces and place cards."
Using basic white plates and dinnerware allows you to focus on the rest of the decor without making the table seem too muddled or cluttered. White plates will make the rest of the table decor stand out. Check out the beautiful selection of white dinnerware at Pier 1 Imports. West Midtown ceramic shop Honeycomb Studio makes decorative tableware that your guests will love.
Christmas decor ideas
Create holiday menus: You already know what your guests will eat during a holiday party. But you can make family and friends feel special by offering handmade holiday menus that feature everything you will serve. You can either hand your guests menus as they come into the door, or place the menus at the dinner tables. This not only helps guests prepare for the meal, but also speeds up the buffet line.
Print out a holiday menu on decorative paper from your computer, or go the homemade route by using cardstock and scrapbooking materials found at Michaels.
Decorate with trendy holiday lighting: Traditional scented candles may add the lighting you want for your holiday party, but you can take this idea a step further by introducing a few innovative lighting ideas. Insert strings of LED microlights, such as those found at Christmas Central, into decorative paper or wicker balls to hang around the room. Or place candles inside rustic lanterns or hurricane lamps and set them atop tables and countertops.
Placing scented candles inside a lantern or lamp not only keeps your candles away from tiny hands, but also transforms boring pillar candles into a decorative display. Krog Street Market's Mama Bath + Body caries locally made candles. Weave strings of LED lights throughout your potted plants to create a winter wonderland in the room.
Decorate your chairs: Although the table may look fabulous, you don't want your chairs to look bare and out of place. This year's top tip for Christmas party decorating is to deck out your chairs, too. Think of your chairs as a blank canvas to showcase your creative style. Wrap the base of each chair with a chair skirt to give it that rustic charm. Then attach a large burlap, velvet or satin bow on to the back of each chair, and decorate with holiday ornaments, cinnamon sticks and pine sprigs.
Atlanta's Lewis and Sheron Fabrics sells hundreds of patterns and can help pick out the best fabric and pattern to match your style. If you don't have time to put it all together, you also can purchase pre-made chair decor such as the one found at Grandin Road.
For more ideas about gifts, decorating, where to eat and what to do, check out our complete Atlanta Holiday Guide.