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How to Decorate a Dining Table for Christmas

I’m Zoe.
My mission is to teach you to  confidently build magazine-worthy DIYs. I used to be terrified of power tools, which is why I'm a firm believer that ANYONE can DIY.
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Price

>$25

Time

>4 hours

Difficulty

Easy

This post was sponsored by Krylon. All opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, I may earn a small commission, but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Click here to read our full disclosure.

Even though we might not be hosting a big Christmas dinner this year (thanks COVID), setting the table and making it feel ready for guests just makes my heart happy.

Once I have our Christmas table decorated, I leave it for the rest of the year. It’s just so pretty to look at!

I’m a sucker for a simple, neutral Christmas table, but I also crave a little sparkle and color for the holidays.

This year, it was my goal to find that perfect balance. Simple, yet every piece of decor has a little something special to make it reflect the magic of the holiday season.

Almost every single piece we used on this tablescape has a simple DIY element. You’ll learn my secret weapon for quick, yet impactful transformations in just a second😉

Alright, let’s dive into exactly how to decorate a dining table for Christmas. There are four key elements to keep in mind.

Easy Christmas Table Decorations

STEP 1: CENTERPIECE

Since the centerpiece of your table decor will be, well, the center, of your Christmas dining table display, we want to kick off decorating our holiday table by deciding exactly what you want your centerpiece to be.

To me, Christmastime calls for all the warm, flicking candles it can get, which meant it was the perfect time to break out the candelabra I found a few months back.

The sea blue color definitely wasn’t the vibe I was going for, but luckily I know of a secret weapon that can transform pretty much anything in just a matter of minutes…

Spray paint!

spray painting metal candelabra with Krylon Metallic in Gold Leaf

And recently I’ve discovered the absolute prettiest gold spray paint that catches the light in the most magical way. Seriously, it looks so fancy!

To prep my candelabra, I wiped it down to make sure it was clean. It had a little bit of chipping paint, so I sanded that down to make sure it wasn’t going to chip any further.

Then I applied 2 coats of Krylon Brilliant Metallic spray paint in Gold Leaf.

To say that it was an instant upgrade is an understatement. Look at the difference 2 coats of spray paint and a few minutes makes!

spray painted gold candelabra

For more spray paint inspiration and project ideas, visit krylon.com.

STEP 2: TABLE RUNNER

Now that we have the centerpiece figured out, we need to decide on a table runner. The runner will be the foundation of all of the Christmas table decorations.

Since it’s the foundation, I like to keep it simple with a classic white table runner.

Keeping it simple allows the table runner to ground the tablescape without distracting from the other elements or making it feel too busy.

And before we move onto the next step, we need to add some garland. What’s a Christmas table without garland?

Christmas garland on dining table with gold and glitter vases

The easy Christmas tablescape is coming together, but now let’s add the accents that will really make this table decor pop!

STEP 3: ACCENTS

When choosing your accents, try to pick a few pieces of different heights or textures. For me, I decided on a taller bud vases, short bud vases, and some pine cones to give me some variety.

Let’s start with the vases. Rather than finding some metallic vases that would probably cost a fortune, I picked up some dollar vases to transform with…you guessed it: spray paint!

For the tall vases, I used the same gold spray paint that I used on candelabra: Krylon Brilliant Metallic in Gold Leaf.

For the little vases, I decided to try something new: Krylon Glitter Blast in Golden Glow. Let me tell you, this stuff is FUN.

I was shocked at how solid the coverage was after 2 coats. Here’s a little side-by-side comparison of one coat vs. two.

Krylon Glitter Blast in Golden Glow one vs. two coats side by side
Left: one coat of Krylon Glitter Blast, Right: two coats

While I had my Krylon Glitter Blast out, I decided to give the pine cones a little sparkle too.

I just applied two light coats to the tips of the pine cones. I didn’t worry about trying to get in all the nooks and crannies–I just wanted the tips to have a little glitter.

close-up of pine cone and garland on Christmas tablescape

STEP 4: PLACE SETTINGS

Now that the table is looking decorated, it’s time to add all the place settings!

I made some easy DIY wood chargers for underneath the plates.

But rather than leaving them plain wood, I wanted to Christmas-fy them a bit by adding a single red line.

To do this, I taped either side of the line I wanted to paint, covered up the rest of my chargers, and added 3 light coats of Krylon Fusion All-In-One to the wood (I told you this stuff works on any surface!)

I let the paint dry for 15 minutes and then peeled off the tape.

Krylon Fusion All-In-One in Gloss Red Pepper

Once the chargers were in place, I placed a dinner plate and a salad plate on top of them.

Now here’s what will take your table from nice to looking professionally decorated:

I placed a nicely folded napkin on top of the plates and then topped it with a little sprig of greenery.

DIY wood charger with red stripe down side, white napkin place setting

You could also use a name card here instead. I’m telling you, whatever you use, that little extra something will take your Christmas table decorations to a whole new level.

There you have it! Now that everything’s in place, all that’s missing is the smell of fresh-baked gingerbread filling the room.

Recap: How to decorate a dining table for Christmas

To recap, when you’re thinking about how to decorate a dining table for Christmas, think about including these key elements:

  1. Centerpiece – Candles or candelabras are the perfect Christmas table centerpiece.
  2. Table runner – The table runner will ground your tablescape and give you a clear boundary between the beautiful decor and where everyone will gobble down their delicious Christmas dinner. Bonus points if you top it with some garland!
  3. Accents – Pine cones and small bud vases are the perfect little accents. Spray paint them metallic gold or with glitter to give them some extra shine and sparkle this holiday season. Remember, even cheap glass vases can easily be turned into beautiful accents with a few minutes and some spray paint.
  4. Place settings – Yes, it’s fun to have a pretty table, but you also need a place for everyone to eat! Set the table and take it up a notch by adding some wood chargers and a sprig of greenery or name cards.

Most importantly, have fun! Decorating shouldn’t be stressful. Don’t be afraid to try things out and mix things up.

If you’re looking to test the DIY waters, spray paint is a great way to get your feet wet. It’s quick, it’s inexpensive, and talk about a transformation.

Vases and candelabra before spray painting

After spray painting everything from our wood chargers to our table runner and vases, we barely made a dent in any of our spray paint cans. And each individual piece only took a couple of minutes to transform from start to finish. You gotta love the ease of spray paint…and the awesome results!

Check out more spray paint ideas.

overhead shot of simple Christmas table decorations with gold, red, and garland

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