Rad Plaid Holiday Tables

When guests come to my home for dinner during the holiday season, there are two things they are guaranteed to find: a meal made by someone – anyone– besides me and a table dressed in plaid. This time of year, I am firmly committed to never, ever cooking. And, to filling my life with as much plaid as I can get away with.

Plaid just calls out to be invited to a beautifully set holiday table. Here’s why. It’s a fabric steeped in tradition, yet also reinterpreted time and again so it doesn’t feel stale and stodgy. It gives you a million different colors to work with, so you can pull out the hues you like best. It can be formal or fun. And, it just looks like Christmas.


Interested in adding a little rad plaid to your holiday table? Here are some ideas from a few of our inspiration tables at Nell Hill’s to get you started.

First stop is this winter wonderland table created by Nell Hill’s tabletop designer Chery. She started with a plaid table topper and plaid napkins. St. Nick presides at the table’s center, surrounded by a forest of snow covered trees. To try this look on your table, find a plaid table topper that looks amazing with your dishes. We often use plaid blankets or squares of plaid fabric turned on the diagonal in place of tablecloths.

Mixing different dishes together is a foundation of the Nell Hill’s look. We just like how interesting tables are to look at when they sport a combination of colors and patterns. In addition to combining these delightful red and white dishes with everyday white dishes, Chery tucked in some of our popular ticking chargers and trays. Sometimes, the only thing you need to do to change out the look of your table is to add new chargers or seasonal napkins.

I’ve become obsessed with poppers ever since my nephew brought them to our family’s Christmas Eve dinner. He hails from merry old England and wanted to share this fun tradition with us. We had a blast opening our poppers, donning the funny hats and sharing the jokes. If you don’t have poppers in your life, you need to get some. They add another fun element to your gatherings.

I’ve always had a weakness for holiday tables that have a rustic feel. They have all the elements I love, like buffalo check tablecloths or napkins. Candlesticks made of tree branches or faux horns. Forest or wildlife accents.

This table is rich and regal, but doesn’t take itself too seriously. The candlesticks marching down the table’s center are a great addition. Check out how simple our centerpiece is! If you have a collection of Santas, use one as your centerpiece this year.

Majolica-inspired cabbage plates are a mainstay on our tabletops, all year long. Like classic white dishes, they are chameleons that take on the feel of anything they are paired with. Here, we mixed them with a few different deep red and green plaid patterns. In a snap, they feel like winter. Want to give your everyday dishes or china a quick holiday treatment? Add a ring of holly berries between plates, like we did in the picture below.

Even on the most formal tables, we like to toss in a bit of whimsy. Because, we all need to smile more, don’t we? One of our favorite tricks is to put a surprise on top of each place setting. Here, Chery tucked a sweet rabbit Christmas tree ornament in a soup bowl – a take home gift for guests so they can remember this evening for years.