We asked one of our in-house prop stylists to give us her best tips, tricks, and advice on creating an eye-catching tablescape for the holidays, keeping budget in mind. Here are 8 approachable ways to create modern elegance, warm ambiance, and visual intrigue for all of your holiday feasts.
Table Setting Getty Image
Credit: Getty Images

The expert has assured me, holiday decorating your dining area with a modern touch doesn't require a background in prop styling or a lofty budget. Below are a handful of simple tips that will have a big visual impact from a woman who chooses the right dish, drapes linens just perfectly, and creates stunning table settings and spreads every day for a living. Unlock your own inner stylist by giving these 8 holiday decorating pro-tips a try.

1. Start with white dishes.

Always start with white plates, then accent with other solid colored or patterened vintage plates, and mix-and-match stemware. The holidays are the time to bring out your China and silver, but if you don't have any, do not be afraid to go in a more shabby-chic direction.

2. Update your color scheme.

Red, green, and saturated metallics are so overdone. To show some modern options in terms of palette, try using pastels for Christmas (especially blush pink) with lots of textured neutrals and softer, less opaque ethereal metallics, especially silver and copper.

3. Forage for your centerpieces.

For beautiful and affordable bouquets, purchase a star flower and then forage for the extra filler. Woodsy tones--pinecones, interesting twigs/curlicue vines, branches with berries, and magnolia branches--are great for holiday looks. You can also add a little sparkle to your centerpiece with gold spray paint and white battery lights.

Holiday entertaining food bar image
Holiday entertaining food bar image
| Credit: Getty images

Holiday entertaining food bar image Getty images

4. Cozy-up your linens.

White will never go out of style, but if you're looking for a more homey feel, neutral nubby linens are a great way to cozy things up. A table runner will do---especially if you have a pretty wood table to show peeking out from underneath. Burlap is a fun texture, and you can experiment with painting burlap and canvas for some beautiful table surfaces.

5. Elevate dishes on the buffet.

If you're serving buffet-style, elevate a few dishes by setting items on crates turned upside down, stacks of books, wood pedestals, etc. covered in pretty linens so the line has a nice flow in height.

Tea Lights
Credit: Getty Images

Getty Images

6. Have fun with votives.

Always use lots of votive candles, and don't be afraid to mix gold and silver. Mercury glass votives, which you can find (affordably) at West Elm and World Market, are always a pretty touch for the holidays.

7. Best places to shop?

On that note, World Market is my go-to place for affordable, modern, and unique pieces. But Hobby Lobby, West Elm, and even Target are also good options. Minted is one of my favorite decorative sites. They can be pricey, but you might get some crafting ideas from their holiday décor. More expensive shops are often a great place to start building inspiration, and you can create your own spin on the look using finds from your more budget-friendly, go-to spots.

8. Keep it simple

Don't overdo it. Keep this principle rule in mind and you're going to be fine: Less is always more when it comes to decorating.