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Rustic Woodland Christmas Table Decor

January 3, 2024

Deer Inspired Tablescape

This Woodland Christmas Tablescape inspired by some silver deer napkin rings is a perfect blend of rustic and elegant decorating for your holiday table.

CHRISTMAS   |   Updated November 25, 2023

Deer Inspired Placesetting

Designing a tablescape for the holidays is one of the best ways to really find freedom in your decorating.

There is no right or wrong way to do it. No rules to follow. Your table can be elaborate or kept very simple, colorful or neutral, trendy or classic. And at the end of the evening, it can all be undone allowing you to design again.

The surface your family will be gathering around to share a meal is your chance to experiment with different styles, colors, and decor while ultimately creating a space where everyone feels comfortable and welcome.

As long as you take into consideration things like giving your guests enough room, keeping the centerpiece low enough for conversation, and where food will be placed, you are free to take chances with the layout and table decorating.

Christmas Tablescape
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Christmas Dining Room


For me, decorating (or in this case, creating a tablescape) is always the most fun and rewarding when it feels like everything is coming together and that starts by having a vision.

That's not to say that it doesn't take awhile moving things a little to the left, a little to the right, replacing one piece of decor with another, adding and subtracting......but as you do that, it feels like you are getting closer and closer to the look you want.

During the planning stages in my mind, this table looked nothing like it does now. Yet once complete, I couldn't be happier with how it looks that it feels exactly the way I wanted it to. In the end, it really is a mix of both formal and rustic that I think anyone can enjoy.

In this post, I'd like to walk you through how I came up with a slighly unconventional theme for my tablescape and my thought process as I designed it, in hopes that it will inspire you to put some thought into how you will be setting your own holiday table this year!

Elegant Rustic Christmas Table

Start with a Theme

Rather than gathering together random table setting supplies and decor trying to "make it work," it is helpful to have a theme or color palette to work around when decorating your dinner table for the holidays. Let that be your guide so that you can easily pick and choose what to include in terms of dinnerware, centerpieces, and favors.

A couple of months ago, I grabbed a set of silver deer napkin rings in Hobby Lobby, and they were the kick off to this table. Although I had no intention at the time of proceeding with a "deer" theme, what I gathered together ended up leading in that direction.

That is where the fun comes pick one inspiration piece and watch how everything takes shape from there.

At Christmastime, we often see lots of reds and greens or completely neutral decorating themes. But decorate with the colors you love.

Be inspired perhaps by new ornaments you purchased for the tree, a vintage set of holiday napkins you've saved from your grandmother, or your collection of mercury glass candlesticks. Anything that will allow you to begin forming the basis to your tablescape design.

Christmas Placesetting

Choose a Table Runner

Table runners are a prime place to add a bit of texture, pattern, and color to any tablescape. There is a lot of hard textures in the dinnerware, flatware, and drinking glasses, so a runner is an easy way to soften that look. (You can also use placemats for a different look.)

Choose something pattered or plain based on the look and feel you are trying to create. There are a lot of plaids and stripes used at Christmas, but you can even choose a more organic, everyday print just for the contrast it will provide with the rest of your decor.

Also consider the weight and texture of the fabric. Maybe you are looking for something lighter like a lace or linen if that is more your style.

I actually chose to layer a pretty dark blue plaid scarf from the thrift store over top of a traditional textured table runner for something a little more special and cozy.

The scarf itself is lightweight wool and wasn't providing the impact that I was hoping for, and the cream runner wouldn't provide a distinct base for the centerpiece to rest on. But together, they provide just the look I wanted, without making things too bulky for the drinking glass to rest safely without tipping.

Christmas Table Runner

Assembling a Centerpiece

Layered on top of the runners is my centerpiece constructed of some realistic looking faux greenery, mercury glass candle holders and tea light cups, silver glitter deer, and real deer antlers.

I also spread some tiny silver ornaments around the table for shine and to add a touch of laid back, casual feel to the somewhat formal table.

There are a few things to keep in mind when putting a centerpiece together for a gathering:

  • Centerpieces can be made using whatever inspires you. We typically see things like flowers and candlesticks, but feel free to use favorite figurines, things from nature like pinecones, a collection of trees, bowl of ornaments, or whatever else fits into the theme you've chosen. Don't be inhibited to try something non-traditional.

  • Keep it low for easy conversation across the table OR build the centerpiece on something like a tray or slab of rustic wood that will enable you to remove the display when it is time to eat.

  • Consider whether there will be food served on the table and build your display around the available space you have. For a table setting like this one, you'd likely have to be serving buffet style or plating the food for your guests because there isn't much space to set food down and the centerpiece is set in place.

  • Think about where your guests will be sitting. You can have a long stretching centerpiece if you only need to place people along the sides of the table. But if someone needs to sit at the foot or head of the table, the centerpiece needs to be container to the center. And make sure that no part of the centerpiece will interfer with your guest's ability to have room for the drinking glasses, setting down their silverware and napkin, or just an overall feeling of having enough space.

Rustic Christmas Centerpiece

Silver Christmas Centerpiece

Christmas Centerpiece

Choosing Dinnerware

Although I consider this a rustic woodland tablescape, the elegant white dinner plates with a silver rim paired with cut crystal wine glasses add a more formal touch. The silver on the plates reinforces the silver elements throughout the table and it all provides an intentional style contrast for a fancier Christmas dinner.

There was no need for bowls or salad plates at this particular meal, but if you need additional pieces feel free to layer them on top of the dinner plate or place them to the side depending on the space you have to work with.

While I would normally use chargers underneath the plates for added texture, I chose to keep it all simple and uncluttered here. The plates are so pretty that I like to let them shine on their own.

Often, you won't have dinnerware or glassware that will coordinate with your theme. Or, you have dinnerware but not enough. Either you need to be sure to design your theme around working with what you already have, mix and match your placesettings with the dishes that are in your cupboard, or take a trip to your local thrift store and see what they have available.

For $10-$15, you can completely outfit your place settings to fit in with your design. I know many people who spend just as much on paper plates, cups, and silverware for picnics in the summer and they just get thrown away. You can always donate the dinnerware back if you don't intend on using it again.

Elegant Christmas Dinner Plate

Placing Linens and Flatware

Finally, topping each dinner plate on my table is a dark linen napkin tucked inside the silver deer napkin rings that were my initial inspiration. Rather than placing the vintage silverware alongside the plate, I opted to rest them on top of the napkin inside the napkin ring.

Again, feel free to think outside the box. You don't have to have your napkin and silveware lined up alongside the dinner plate just because that is what is expected.

Drape the napkin on the plate, tuck it inside the wine glass, or look up some different napkin folding techniques online. Skip the spoons on the table if there isn't a necessity for the them. This is your design and you can execute it however you see fit!

Deer Napkin Ring

This is really a table of contrast that I think came together beautifully.

Christmas is a holiday where I think it is nice to break out the "good" dishes and put more effort into making a special place for your loved ones to gather.

But at the same time, I love how this table incorporates an equally laid back approach by using something as ordinary as a winter scarf down the table. While you observe sparkle of the crystal glasses and mercury glass candle holders, it it brought back down with natural items like Christmas greens and deer antlers.

Rustic Woodland Table for Christmas

Christmas Tablescape

More Christmas Posts You Might Enjoy

DIY No-Sew Table Runner for Christmas - Create it out of burlap or any heavy woven fabric

Easy Christmas Vignette or Centerpiece - Step-by-step tutorial for creating a simple Centerpiece in 5 minutes!

Cookies and Hot Chocolate Tablescape - Forget the hot chocolate bar and set a pretty table for a casual Christmas get together.

Holiday Housewalk with Balsam Hill

Vintage Inspired Christmas Favor


I am honored to be able to join in the Seasons of Home Tour hosted by Kristen of Ella Claire Inspired. Everyone involved has been busy decorating their homes for fall and now Christmas. There are always so many ideas that pop into my mind when I see what can be done in the home as part of this tour. Obviously, today is all about Christmas tablescapes, which quite honestly are always one of my favorite to put together.

Be sure to visit some of my friends below to see the lovely Christmas tablescapes they've designed in their own homes.

Ella Claire | anderson + grant | Home Stories A to Z | Julie Blanner

Dear Lillie | My Sweet Savannah | French Country Cottage | Rooms for Rent

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