Holiday Entertaining in Style

07 Nov 2019

Wilmington designers share their tips for a festive and seasonal tablescape


Football, falling leaves, pumpkin patches, and shorter days. Autumn is in the air, which means the holidays are right around the corner. From Halloween to Thanksgiving, followed by Hanaukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and ringing in 2020, it is time to think about how to deck your halls and tables for the holidays. Local Wilmington designers are at it again sharing their creative tablescapes to help inspire you this holiday season. Whether you prefer a rustic fall-themed picnic or an elegant winter wonderland tablescape, we are sharing ideas and tips for all tastes.

Big Sky Design
Rileigh Wilkins & Lauren Brown

Big Sky Design is a full-service licensed interior design company, offering complete commercial and residential interior design services in Wilmington and is owned by Jennifer Kraner. Her all-female staff is dedicated to reaching for the SKY and conceptualizing clients’ visions during an organic, creative process with BIG results.

This year, Rileigh Wilkins, Big Sky’s Retail Manager, and Lauren Brown, Interior Designer, worked to create the 2019 tablescape, which was designed as part of Big Sky Design’s  2nd annual Dining in Style event, which featured six unique dining schemes to inspire holiday entertaining.

“Our concept became a “Whimsical Winter” dessert table,” explains Wilkins. Twinkling lights are weaved in between an array of silver and glass serving trays that host an assortment of white frosted and powdered desserts. “Get creative with your centerpiece. The tiered cake stand and acrylic trees provide height in place of an expected floral arrangement.”

The tablescape, which truly does look like a winter wonderland, is the perfect blend of designer-trending neutrals and a pop of color. “Whites, grays, and beiges are sticking around as a trend because of their timelessness,” says Brown. “From furniture to tablescapes, we suggest using neutrals as a practical base, then playing around with sprinkling in a color that brings you joy. Pink dahlias made a statement on our table. Red flowers would’ve been a classic choice, but we wanted our holiday table to push the boundaries of a traditional holiday scheme.”

When it comes to conceptualizing and decorating, Wilkins and Brown explain that creating a one-of-a-kind custom look does not have to be expensive. “We found a sheer ombre fabric at a local fabric store and had it sewn into a tablecloth two widths wide, so the clean white table top drips down to a silver sheer band around the bottom. We also cut up a yard of decorative beaded trim to make unique napkin rings that dressed up ordinary white cotton napkins,” explains the design duo.

When thinking about do-it-yourself tips, Wilkins suggests, “Embrace the welcoming nature of a collected table. While the place settings were uniform, the centerpiece was a curation of various decorative trees, vases, cloches, and serving trays that offer cohesion, but not too much structure.”

Additionally, Brown recommends, “Be resourceful by using what you have as a starting place, whether it’s your grandmother’s collection of silver or your knack for baking powdered desserts. Remember that an impressive holiday display doesn’t have to
be extravagant!”

Big Sky Design
4037 Masonboro Loop Road, Suite 2K

Deeply Rooted Interiors
Morgan Dail & Stacey Dunn

From vision to reality is the mantra of Morgan Dail and Stacey Dunn’s Deeply Rooted Interiors, an interior design studio in Wilmington that specializes in curated designs for southern hospitality. Their mission is to truly enhance your home’s best feature; an authentic place reflecting you, and they also offer virtual visions services, which offers clients an alternative approach to their full-service design and can be done no matter where you live.

Dail and Dunn chose to focus on an outdoor fall-inspired look for their holiday entertaining scene. “When designing a tablescape you always want to have varying textures and a complementary color scheme,” explains Dunn. “We were inspired by the outdoor coastal landscape, which we chose as our backdrop. We wanted a casual, comfortable yet elegant fall setting.” In this case, Dail and Dunn chose a pair large Windsor chairs across from bales of hay for seating on either side of a table with a white table cloth and decorated with a variety of autumnal, natural, and rustic accents.

According to Dail, “We like to mix and match metals to create interest. Our color selections are complementary. Textures vary by having smooth items juxtaposed against rougher textures. The smooth pumpkins and gourds in the center with the layered effects of the greenery around them create varying textures. The rough woven plate charges against the crisp white plates creates a great juxtaposition between textures. The selenite and quartz candles stand out against the other smoother elements on the table, as well.”

Another eye-catching element is the large basket of colorful apples spilling out onto the green grass, the perfect seasonal accent that adds dimension and color next to the table. For do-it-yourself decorating, the Deeply Rooted Interiors team recommends using remnant fabrics as napkins, tablecloths, or placemats. They also recommend mixing a print pattern with a striped fabric or adding a velvet or silk fabric to create even more interest and a variety of textures.

“Right before guests arrive, cut fresh greenery from your yard. This will ensure the greenery lasts throughout the dinner,” suggests Dunn. “Run two table runners in the opposite direction for an unexpected touch! Just like we did!” A few other DIY tips from the Deeply Rooted team include mixing vintage china with contemporary elements, including candlesticks and utensils. Little touches can go a long way and can create a casual yet elegant look, and you can save money by mixing and matching, using things you already have and pulling in simple, seasonal natural elements like apples and pumpkins. Happy fall, and happy decorating!

Deeply Rooted Interiors

Nest Fine Gifts and Interiors
Suzanne Reid

Nest Fine Gifts and Interiors is a unique home furnishings boutique that offers interior design and decorating services. Owned by Monika Williams and managed by Marie Polak, Nest inspires creativity and helps turn imagination into reality. Interior designer Suzanne Reid helped create Nest’s 2019 holiday tablescape which features classic golds, mixed with traditional holiday reds and greens, and softened with woven shimmering placemats.

When it comes to creating a table design, Reid suggests beginning with the centerpiece. She recommends mixing a variety of heights, textures, materials and color to help draw the eye to a focal point. “Thoughtful layering of these elements is the key to a visually interesting table,” explains Reid. “All of the elements need to balance each other...too many berries, too much red or gold, for example, and the individual items become the focus, rather than the design as a whole.”

For Nest’s holiday table, Reid started with a gorgeous burnished gold chalice, which is the perfect bold centerpiece since its scale balances nicely with the table size. “The warm tone of the chalice is a nice contrast with the grey distressed table finish,” explains Reid. “Beautifully detailed faux red Amaryllis topped with lush green moss at the base complete the bowl and give just the right amount of height.” Reid layered the greenery and berries around the interior of the table and gracefully draped them off each side of the table to add softness to the overall design. She also tucked greenery and red berries between the hand-painted gold dogwood napkin rings and embroidered linen napkins to add a touch of red to the perimeter of the table.  

Throughout the greenery, Reid also tucked in hand-poured red Vance Kitira pillar candles in varying heights. “I love adding textured candles to the setting, so that everything is not so 'perfect'. Using varying candle heights helps taper the height down from the amaryllis and ground it to the table,” explains Reid. She also recommends using unscented candles to avoid detracting from the aroma of a delicious meal at the table.

According to Reid, “It would not be a Nest tablescape, especially in fall and winter, without an element of antlers incorporated!  The gleaming large antlers, arranged on each side of the chalice, create the feel of a 'runner' on the table.  The golden antlers highlight the hand-painted 18-Karat gold rims of the Casafina dinnerware. Shimmery gold place mats are the perfect foundation for the dinnerware.” Additionally, she added large hand-blown wine glasses to round out the tablescape.

When considering DIY decorating, Reid recommends investing in beautiful faux florals and greenery which are time and money savers when decorating your home and table. She also suggests looking in your own yard for ways to bring natural outdoor elements to your interior decorating including greenery, pinecones, grapevine, and camellias, among others. Lastly, Reid recommends stocking up on unscented pillar candles in a variety of sizes of the same color for your theme. “Remember to have fun and look around your home and your yard for inspiration!” says Reid. “Nest designers are happy to guide you for any tablescape needs. Our tables are always set to impress year-round.”

Nest Fine Gifts and Interiors
1125 Military Cutoff, Suite T

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