As the old Italian proverb goes, ‘At the table with good friends and family, you do not become old’. The original statement may not have held relevance to your festive décor, but in our mind at least, it holds equally true when it comes to setting the Christmas Day table in preparation for family and friends.

With the presents wrapped, the decorations up and the fridge stocked, rental property website has released its top 10 suggestions for adding style, colour, warmth and flair to the table at Christmas, suitable for any rental property.

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No matter whether it’s a picnic at the beach, a quick catch up with friends over a drink or a formal sit down, bringing stylish elements into the home is an easy way to bring a bit of sparkle to Christmas Day, says Director and Stylist for Empire Events, Clare Wall.

“It’s easy for renters to incorporate fresh, stylish design into their special occasions,” she said. “Just because you’re renting doesn’t mean you dip out on style and colour this Christmas.”

“Colour, texture, placement and imagination are all key to creating a memorable table,” Wall said. “At the end of the day, it’s all about family and friends. No matter whether it’s a formal lunch with family, or a picnic in the park, there are some things for renters consider to transform your space from the routine to the extraordinary.”

Whether it be with your friends, family, partner’s parents (daunting) or just your flatmates, here are 10 tips on decorating your table with effortless cool and subtle effort. Get creative and celebrate the season.

At the end of the day – it doesn’t take huge amounts of money, but creative effort and thought. Remember it’s your rental – express yourself and enjoy.

Wishing you a safe and very Merry Christmas – from the team


Create a theme and the rest will flow. Think European market, Spanish tapas, Hawaiian colour, Moroccan magic, winter wonderland or beachside breakfast. Setting the boundaries with a clear theme for your Christmas table will make the colour, styling and food look seamless without thought.

Make a statement

Make an entrance statement, whether it’s at your front door, in the dining room or the kitchen. Translate your theme to your guests’ arrival with a themed placement or welcome sign. While everyone appreciates a pretty wreath welcoming them at the front door, now’s the time to try something unique.

The centrepiece

Take centre stage with a stand-out candelabra, a flower arrangement, glass fruit sculpture, or festive decoration to catch the eye and imagination. Your centrepiece should be the focus of the table, but you don’t want it to use up valuable space. Look for items with narrow bases so you can see across the table and have plenty of space left for the food.

Draw the eyes up

Decorating doesn’t just have to draw focus onto your table. Think about what’s hanging above your space. Create a sense of height and perspective by hanging festoon lights, paper lanterns, a vintage chandelier or a wreath of olive branches to add magic and a whimsical touch to your table.

Fabric, textures and layers

It might be tempting, but don’t just throw a cloth on the table. Choose a textured table runner, cut up some hessian, sprinkle rose petals, rosemary or dried flowers, or use a combination of contemporary and traditional fabrics from around the world to showcase your menu.

Place cards and place settings

There’s nothing nicer than sitting down to a personalised welcome, even if it’s just for you and your partner or roommate. A named place card adds a pretty touch to the dining table, as well as letting you seat certain groups together – or apart, as the case may be! Write names on tall wine glasses with magic ink pens, or pin mini blackboard clips to each setting.

Cutlery and crockery

While it might seem obvious, the last thing you want to do is push your creative soul into the decorations and skimp on the crockery or cutlery. Christmas is a perfect time (and often the only occasion) for you to bring out the silver. Don’t have any on hand? Visit an antique shop and pick up some interesting pieces, or see if your grandparents have anything they’d be willing to lend you.

The menu

Even if you don’t cook – fake a menu! Place a handwritten blackboard at the top of the table, print out your menu or attach as a scroll to each glass. Your guests will appreciate the thought and effort. These added touches make the perfect keepsake for your guests.

Food for thought

Think colour, think seasonal, think fresh – less is more. Ivy, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, flowers and leaves from your garden or local market – they’re all perfect additions to your table or plate decorations for your food. No matter what style of food you have (or people bring) – present it with colour and flair.

Light your way

Don’t forget the sparkle. Flameless candles operated by remote control from the kitchen, festoon lighting, solar lights in the garden, a tall willowing candelabra, or just tea lights. There are endless options to set an ambient mood in your space.

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