• Creating the perfect festive dinner table

    From the outset, decide if you are colour coordinating or mixing and matching two or three different colourways. You might also want to go for a theme.

    Select your tablecloth and napkins first, then your cutlery, glasses and crockery. Match or mix it up to suit the textiles you have chosen. Mismatching to give a contrast can be impactful too.

    For a contemporary country feel, go for handblown wine and drinking glasses, linen, organic shaped tableware and seasonal foliage from your garden or nearest florist.

    Keeping it simple by using an off-white and grey/silver palette can be stunning too and linking with the natural world and great outdoors is definitely on trend this Christmas.

    Cover your table with a linen tablecloth and add handwritten place cards, named individual gifts, or Christmas decorations, for a personal touch.

    Make sure you have plenty of suitable chairs before the event. If space is tight, benches or stools can be a great alternative, as they are more compact.

    Set the scene with distinctive lighting. White fairy lights casually used can look great.

    Candles also work well, and you could incorporate them into your table centrepiece. Tea lights in statement holders, can enhance the atmosphere.

    You should consider switching off any overhead lights and use free standing lamps instead, but make sure there is enough light for people to see what they are eating.

    Selecting a centrepiece is a difficult thing to do as it really needs to be a showstopper, but it shouldn’t take up too much space or obstruct talk across the table. Try using low vases or candle holders.

    For a fresh, natural look, use a combination of bare branches and evergreen foliage from your garden or a florist. Eucalyptus, ivy and rosemary sprigs that have a silver tinge can work very well together at this time of year if you have gone for a white/grey theme.

    Alternatively, fill a large clear vase or a decorative dish with silver, gold or coloured baubles to compliment the colour scheme you’ve gone for.

    Lastly, organise some suitable background music, something you can talk over, that isn’t too obtrusive.