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Devika Narain draws from her expertise in designing stunning wedding decor to show us how to prep our homes for the holiday season. For this Christmas dinner look, our guest stylist decided to stay clear of the traditional red, gold and green; focusing on moody aesthetic with dark colours and lots of Indian elements. “The reason I designed this setting is because normally when we think of festive décor, we only see bright colours. I wanted the modernity of edgy dark colours and streamlined furniture,” she explains. She has offset this with the rusticity and visual interest of an assorted setting. “I don’t like an extremely manicured look where everything matches. I like to fill the room with eclectic pieces that are fascinating.”
Check out these tips on creating a beautiful Christmas dinner table:
“Instead of going for traditional Christmas colours, try a moodier palette. In this look, I’ve worked with deep blue walls contrasted with burnt orange cushions. The greenery elevates the colour palette and brings life to the setting.”
A table setting with a dark yet dreamy vibe can be created by playing around with dim lights, contrasting colours, lots of layering with plants and some personalisation.
Blend the contemporary with the ethnic
“The minute I think of Indian festive looks, I think of brass. I like to juxtapose the ‘Indianess’ of the brass with the contemporary feel of dark colours. The dark wood furniture also has quite a modern aesthetic with clean, simple lines. I skipped using a tablecloth in this setting as the glass top pairs beautifully with the setting. I also added a strong Indian aesthetic through the fabrics with the printed and colourful cushions and carpets.”
Enhance with lots of plants
“I am intrigued by the idea that you don’t really need flowers; all you need to do is layer greenery and leaves. Just walk out into your garden – or the market – and get fresh leaves of different shapes and heights. Any leaves would work, like palms, money plant, ferns and even succulents. I’ve flooded this setting with hydrangea and eucalyptus leaves. I love the pleasing and calming fragrance of eucalyptus along with its medicinal properties. This adds another sensory layer to festivities. My home is filled with large glass jars of these leaves which dry beautifully as well and can last up to a week. Don’t be too worried about what to use as vases; anything that can hold water will work. I’ve used a mix of clear glass vases and bottles with hammered brass tumblers and a kettle.”
Layer, layer, and then layer some more
“I like it when the eye has different places to travel to in a room. Fill the dining setting with varying heights, shapes and textures; it gives so much depth to a space. Another thing I like to do in a dinner setting is to bring in a console. I don’t like placing the dining furniture flush against the wall, instead I prefer to create a vignette behind it to add depth, but also for convenience. It can double as a place to set up the food without cluttering the dining table.”
Make merry with lights
“I think it is very important to have a beautiful pendant light above the dining table, softly illuminating the entire setup. Layer on more lighting with candles of different heights and battery fairy lights. I personally love using battery fairy lights bunched up in clear glass vases or jars. For the candles, I’ve used glass tumblers and copper bowls.”
Make the area cozy and warm by putting in cushions and fabrics with traditional prints and patterns. Don't forget to add bold colours to make a statement.
Layering your table is key. Especially with different lights and lamps. You can add some candles and glass jars with fairy lights in them.
Brass cutlery will immediately add to the Indian aesthetic we are trying to bring in this look. Place a note or a small menu card to add a personal touch.
Set the table
“Use a brass thali as an underplate; a regular dinner plate will fit perfectly on top of it with just a hint of metal peeking through. With cutlery, place only what you will use – a spoon, a fork and a knife, if necessary. Brass cutlery, instead of stainless steel, can really uplift the plate setting. Also, with glasses place only those glasses you require. However, don’t shy away from mixing different colours, patterns and styles of glassware.”
Bring in that personal touch
“Finally, a little hack that I like to use for all my parties at home is to place personalised menus, name cards or thank you notes on each plate; it’s an inexpensive way to add a special touch.”
Brass Hanging Light
Lotus Dining Table
Red Blue Yellow
Red Blue Yellow
Red Blue Yellow
Le Leyonnaise Wine Glass Smoke (set of 6)
Hammer Grey Textured Glass Tumbler
Flower Wall Decoration
Kansa Dinner Plate
Kansa Nut Bowl
LOS Persian Rug
Persian Shiraz Rug
Delicate Glass Vase
Fork and Spoon
Red Blue Yellow
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Devika Narain draws from her expertise in designing dream weddings to show us how to prep our homes for Diwali. In the fifth part of our series on styling for Diwali gatherings, she uses rangoli and marigold as inspiration to create a setting that is inspired by her childhood memories of festivals