With all of the manic preparations that go in to hosting a holiday dinner, dressing the table for the occasion can get put
off until the very last minute. Kristan Cunningham shows you how to set a beautiful table in just a few simple steps.
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Featured Pro: Kristan Cunningham Category: Home Décor Time: 3:58
KRISTAN CUNNINGHAM: Want to make Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings even better? I’m Kristan Cunningham with another GMC Trade Secret. Come on.
With all of the hustle and bustle during the holidays, from getting all of the food ready and picking up the friends and family at the airport, the thing that will end up being the most stressful and always winds up getting put off until the last minute is the actual dressing of the table. And this part’s supposed to be fun. And I can tell you first-hand, as the designated hostess for the last 10 years of Thanksgiving, I look for every opportunity I can to take a shortcut and make it really easy.
So, believe it or not, this really elegant, really done-looking table hardly took any time. And there’s actually a pretty good method to how it all got placed out. So let me start with the first part.
Instead of going with a tablecloth, I chose runners. And the nice thing about this is we’ve got one that serves for every two place settings, and it was a really good way to add a graphic element to the table and make it look a little cleaner, because when you do holiday dressings and all this stuff starts happening, it’s very easy for things to get lost. And this is a nice way to create some clean lines.
Next thing to really drive home a clean look is placing the napkins in the middle of the plate. I love that this again creates those elongated lines and gives you one nice, simple, clean arrangement, knowing that there’s going to be lots of other things going on.
Now, this part’s really important. The silverware – who knows which fork goes where and which spoon is supposed to be where? And, very honestly, when you have really formal settings and you’ve got all that silverware all over the place, there’s nowhere to put anything else. The whole table becomes filled up.
So I find that taking the three pieces, putting them inside a napkin ring, you shove them in there, you put it at the table, and you don’t have to spend all that time straightening and laying and spacing out. It makes life very, very simple.
So now that we have a nice, tidy perimeter of the table established, let’s talk about having some fun in the center. Brightly colored glassware is a great way to inject a signature color in a way that’s really tasteful. When we think about Thanksgiving, very often we think orange and red and brown, all the rust, the harvest colors. But that doesn’t necessarily work in everybody’s interior scheme. And in this house, the teal works. So we use that as our signature color, and we’re going to build off of that.
Now, the teal is really, really strong. So to soften that a little bit, I added in all these watery blues, the smoky topaz, so the whole blue scheme gets softened as it trickles throughout. We’ve got our wine glass, our cordial glass and our water glass. With the pairing of the three of those, all in kind of different random places flowing down the table, we get a look that’s a little more loosey goosey. So, again, the outside is structured. We have more soft fun in the middle.
Then that takes us into our actual centerpiece. Flowers are beautiful. They’re perfect for some things. But for a sit-down like this, it’s all about the conversation. And you want to make sure that people can have eye contact from one end to the other.
So I like using candlesticks. Keeping them nice and high means that you don’t have any accidents, no setting things on fire, but they’re also really easy to see through and cast really nice lights on everybody. But you can put together entirely different schemes that are just as simple and inexpensive as this one.
This first guy is kind of rustic, really, really simple, and we base the whole thing around a mailing tag which you can get in sets of, like, 100 for a few bucks. And it keeps it really simple and really unfussy. The next one we based around a luggage tag, which is a great hostess gift. Everybody gets to take something away. And it’s an unexpected way to, again, have a name tag at each setting.
The most important thing is to keep it simple. Don’t pull out every trick in the book. The goal is to have it look fluid with the rest of your home. And at the end of the day, this is about the people and the food. Remember that part.
I’m Kristan Cunningham, and that’s your GMC Trade Secret.