How to create a festive dining table with Dove Cottage

I don’t know about you, but one of my favourite things about the festive season is planning my decorations and how I’m going to style my home. While my husband is peeling the potatoes and prepping the turkey, my mind is always on the dining table, and putting together a beautiful display for the perfect Christmas lunch.


This year I’ve got a new table to play with – the Brindle dining table from Oak Furnitureland – and I’ve been working on transforming our boring, impractical dining space into a winter wonderland, ideal for hosting family on the big day. The Brindle collection is perfect for a traditional, country-style home, and extends to over six feet, ideal for hosting lots of family or friends.

Christmas dining table

I’ve chosen to go for a really simple, classic look this year, sticking with my favourite gold, white and green colour palette. Every year I toy with the idea of going for a different theme – I usually get my head turned by lots of other beautiful looks – but always end up going back to my old favourite! It’s tempting to go big at Christmas and include a bit of everything in your festive décor, however sticking to two or three complementary colours will enable you to create a beautiful, cohesive look throughout your home. All the items I’ve used here are either green, grey or white, with pops of gold to add some sparkle.

Christmas dining table with eucalyptus runner

I absolutely love all the houseplants and foliage that seems to be making its way into homes recently, so have decided to create a statement centrepiece using lots of beautiful eucalyptus. Not only does this complement the green in the tree and the other decorations in this room, but it makes the perfect base for adding decorative bits too.

You might prefer to stick with fresh eucalyptus stems, however to save time and money, I’ve gone with artificial. The good thing about using faux means that you can set this up a few days before Christmas, without the worry of the stems drying out too much – saving you valuable time on the day. As the berries are fresh though, I would recommend snipping the sprigs to length the day before, then keeping them in water overnight, popping them onto the display in the morning.

Eucalyptus festive table runner

For this look I used 15 eucalyptus stems, laying them either side of some candlesticks, spreading them along the length of the table. Make sure to layer them up to create a full display, and keep the end of the stems covered as much as possible for a more realistic look. I then topped the eucalyptus off with some sprigs of fresh winterberries, saving a few behind for the table settings. I finished off with some tea light holders – because you can never have enough candles at Christmas, can you?
 Christmas dining table with candelabra

Now onto my favourite bit: the table settings! Again I’ve stuck to my chosen colour palette for my dinner set, making sure they fit in with the theme, and not distract from it. With lots of different things on a dining table it can easily look very busy, so keeping the colours simple is one way of tackling this. I’ve added a neutral coloured linen napkin, topped with a sprig of winterberry and a black ribbon tied into a bow.  A very simple place setting, but really effective looking I think.

Christmas place setting

Our home is a little on the small size, and with a big family, it can be a bit of a tight squeeze at Christmas! So I’m really looking forward to being able to make the most of this space, and create a welcoming area out here in the conservatory. I can imagine enjoying mulled wine out here in the evening, with the candles and tree lights creating a beautiful, cosy atmosphere guests will want to sit in. 

Christmas dining table style

Top tips for creating a striking centrepiece

  • Stick to one colour palette, choosing complementary colours throughout your decorations will make sure the table ties in with the rest of the room, and doesn’t look like an afterthought
  • Don’t overcrowd the table – sometimes less is more! Think about how many people will be seated and where, and make sure they have enough space to eat comfortably
  • Create a cosy feel with lots of candles – using seasonal scents such as fir tree and winter spice will add to the festive atmosphere

My favourite simple Christmas recipes

In the run-up to the festive season I love to make my own dried orange slices. It’s a simple, fun activity perfect for getting you into the festive spirit. It might sound like a lot of work, but I promise it’s the easiest craft ever. Not only that, but a gorgeous Christmassy smell will fill your house while they’re cooking in the oven, which really gets you into the festive spirit.

How to dry orange slices:

Simply slice up some oranges – you can also use limes, apples or pears, anything brightly coloured will work! Lay them onto a baking tray and bake on a low heat. I usually stick to 100 degrees, for 2.5-3 hours. Keep a close eye on them as they can burn quite easily. Once they’re done allow them to cool before using them in your decorations, or even as a cake toppers.

How to dry orange slices

I also love to make my own mulled wine – again an easy activity to get you in the festive spirit, and is the perfect drink to welcome your guests on Christmas morning. A really easy crowd pleaser!

How to make mulled wine:

In a saucepan, pop the following:
A bottle of red wine
60ml ruby port
A cinnamon stick
A handful of star anise
50g of light brown sugar
Zest of one orange
Juice of one orange
750ml cold water

How to make mulled wine

 Warm over a low heat, stirring constantly. Once the sugar has dissolved turn up the heat and leave to simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with a cinnamon stick and some rosemary for garnish.

To find out more about Sam’s Christmas preparations head over to her blog or get inspired on Instagram, @dove_cottage.