How To Dress Your Christmas Table With A Coastal Style - A Step By Step Guide

 Naturally, as we are in Cornwall and by the sea, our dining has a coastal influence and if you are reading this then chances are you like all things coastal too. Whist from a distance our dining table looks quite traditional, the little touches and of course our beautiful china, make all the difference and will be a talking point for your family and guests.

centre piece
One thing that is really important, is to prepare in advance! Everything takes longer than you think and there’s nothing worse than getting stressed, we want you to enjoy the preparation and make it part of your yearly traditions, so make a list, cue the Christmas music and get the bubbly on ice. 

 Once you’ve gathered everything you need, you can relax, pour yourself a glass and start arranging. If you can, do this the day or night before the big day!
 You’ve still got plenty of time to get everything and you’ve probably got most of what you need already.

centrepiece festive dining

Often space is a premium on the table as there is so much to get on it, so think about putting some of the serving dishes on a portable table or you may have a sideboard or hostess trolley you can use, [yes, they are back in fashion so get up in your attic and dust it off!]. This will allow you to have plenty of candles and other accessories on your table.
 Candles and mini garlands of LED lights create atmosphere and go a long way to making everything look wonderful, so plenty of those on the table is a must. Wind the LED lights through the centre garland on your table. This will also create some extra light so that you can see your food! It’s always good to have lighting from sources other than overhead lights, which are often too bright for creating that inviting glow we love. Just make sure you buy good quality candles. We love St Eval candles which we sell. They are not only made in Cornwall but made in the traditional hand drawn way using a Victorian machine, still in perfect working order. They burn for hours and don’t smoke!

candles and tea lights

  We chose a warm colour scheme dictated by the colours in the gorgeous sea urchins that Allison bought a few years ago from a man in St Mawes, who sold them from a basket on the quay. Unfortunately, he’s no longer with us and so not much use if you don’t live in Cornwall, so luckily you can buy them online.  This is the best option as they need to be really clean! These had a lot of pink and orange in them. The mini scented candles are a soft orange and the baubles are an antique pink, just shiny enough to bounce the candlelight off them.

christmas baubles

You can use whatever you like as our blue and white china is so classic and so reds, pinks, oranges look great with it.

 The beautiful centrepiece and table garland were made by the lovely Gemma from Green Rabbit Flowers. The garland was just over two metres long and made entirely from a mix of eucalyptus and fir. The centre piece is a wreath of greenery and we used approximately two packs of our ivory taper candles. If you don’t have a large table then use one or the other, rather than both and if you have a sideboard or alcove, you can put the centre piece there.

csnteepiece for coastal dining

 So, how did we do it?

 We laid the garland down the centre of the table and gently curved it in and out to allow space to put the other decorative accessories we wanted to use.Then we took our matte white ceramic candle holders and mini candles scented with orange and cinnamon, we used six on the two metre table, and placed them either side of the garland at intervals.



 You don’t need many, naturally it depends on the size of your table, but we used three. It’s the same as when you are arranging anything, always use odd numbers, never even, so one, three or five etc. Place them along the table, we put two fairly close together and then one further along on its own.
   Next we placed the baubles, they are meant to hang but we like them just resting on the table, they are quite large, so we only used three, but if you can’t find large ones, then group a few smaller ones together for more impact.
 We bought some pine cones which were already sprayed with a touch of white and we scattered these around the candle holders, baubles and urchins, just a few to create interest. We also have some sea urchin tea light holders in store and we used these with a tea light scented with orange and cinnamon, in them.
 The final touch were some tiny scallop shells, again, you can buy these online, which we sprayed bright gold. They looked fantastic and looked almost bronze in the candlelight. We scattered them at random on the table and used one in the napkin rings Gemma had made from some greenery. They looked beautiful and were the finishing touch.

gold scallop shells

 Last but most definitely not least, we added our china. We photographed our dining scene with our napkins in two different ways. One is to fold the napkin in half and pace it under the plate so that the napkin hangs down, showing off the design. The other way is when you have napkin rings and they are rolled and either placed on the left or on top of the china.

napkin ring with scallop shell

 You can still make a greenery decoration for each place setting if you want to use the napkins, a sprig of greenery such as eucalyptus, fir and some berries and perhaps a small shell if you want to create the coastal theme. Tie them loosely with some ribbon, raffia or string and when you’re ready to eat you can add them to the centrepiece!
 For the photos , we layered the china, placing the dinner plate first, then the side plate, the pasta bowl and finally cereal bowl, but you can get creative and arrange it in your own way.

lobster bone china dinner service
Now you have your coastal dining table ready for a wonderful feast and we would love to see how you style your table, so please #creamcornwall or @creamcornwall.

Nadelik Lowen,


 Rebecca & Allison



Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published