How to style your Christmas table

We ask super-stylist and design consultant Kirsten Stanwix for her tips on how to create a beautiful table setting this Christmas.

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How will you be celebrating Christmas this year?

I will be with my children and ex-husband, and his family and fianceé for a very modern, inclusive, family lunch.


How would you describe your own style?

Unfussy and modern, with a touch of tradition.


What are the biggest styling trends you have being seeing for Christmas this year?

Folded paper Christmas decorations, home made cards and simple brown paper wrapping with black and white twine. Summer food such as prawns rather than a heavy roast lunch.


What would be your best piece of advice for styling an impactful Christmas table setting, and what’s your advice for creating a beautiful centrepiece?

It does depend on the length of the table and the amount of food you will be putting on there.  If you have the space to put food, then small clusters of vases down the table in tonal colours can be lovely. Otherwise, get big cuttings of rosemary to scatter down the table and mix that with cuttings from an olive tree or local Australian gum. Scatter tea light candles in votives through the cuttings, and food can be placed on top and around. Sometimes there can be a tendency to make table settings too fussy, but a heap of one item can be enough.


Where to spend money and where and how to save?

Firstly, you need a great table and chairs. Once you have those, the rest is easy. Tablecloths and napkins always feel special. You can use a linen sheet from IKEA or Sheridan. Napkins tied with a black grosgrain ribbon and a name tag look great - even better when the tags are drawn by children.  


Flowers are wonderful. They can be from the garden or from around the neighbourhood. I often ask my local florist for older bunches of flowers, which are generally in full bloom and only last a day, but are a lot less expensive than buying flowers that are still closed.


Do you have a favourite DIY trick for a Christmas table?

Nothing says Christmas like cherries. I place heaped bowls on the table which add that lovely red colour, and of course you can eat them as the meal progresses. I like to use the 'good china' daily and not save anything just for special occasions. This way, I get the delight of beautiful items daily. It means that cut crystal glasses and bone china don’t sit gathering dust at the back of the cupboard. These special pieces also looks great mixed with more modern items on the table. An eclectic mix of plates adds a nice charm.


What are your favourite places to shop for the home?

I love IKEA for paper napkins - I buy them in bulk. I shop at The Baytree for almost everything, and I love great vintage finds. Country Road is good for modern classics. Mud Australia have for the best plates and I shop at Cultiver for beautiful linen napkins and tablecloths. Peppermint Bark from Williams Sonoma is a must at Christmastime.


One style tip to live by?

Don’t save anything just for 'special' occasions.  Life and family should be enjoyed every day!


What's your new years resolution?

To buy less and grow more... And eat less sugar, but who am I kidding?


Follow Kirsten on Instagram @stanwixstudios.

Get the look ...

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Paper Jewel Ornament in Dusty Rose, $12.95 from Nordstjerne.

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Paper napkins in Yellow, $2.99 for 50, from IKEA.

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Alto Tumbler, $12.95, from Country Road.

Main image styled by Kirsten Stanwix.

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Dinner plates in assorted colours, $59, from Mud.

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Large linen tablecloth in White, $205, from Cultiver.

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Large Resin Earth Bowl in Lagoon, $280, from Dinosaur Designs.