Table setting with Rosanna

  • Written by Rosanna Bowles for Molbak’s Garden + Home
Special to the Weekly

Tablescapes are something I have been doing for decades. Every season, I get excited because I know that my table design will be constantly changing. It is fascinating to see how dishes and glasses can create such a different atmosphere. Here are some tips and ideas for how to set your table for the holidays.

First, there are no basic rules for creating a tablescape. I would say the most important aspect of creating a warm and inviting table is to pick a theme and stay with it. Make the table reflect your own personality and style. Also reflecting your own family history is another great way to create a warm table setting. If you follow these "rules," you can’t go wrong.

Space is key when it comes to setting the table. Leaving space for the wonderful platters of food to be passed is essential. When you set the table, make sure the guests are not too crowded so they can relax and enjoy the celebration. And most importantly, set the table with your own personal style. Add some family heirlooms such as your grandmother’s candlesticks or a lovely centerpiece to the table. Buy a new set of salad plates or desserts to refresh your holiday look. This can create a fun tradition that can be passed down from generation to generation.

The color theme of the tablescape is something else to consider. Don’t worry, color is easy. Follow nature. Look outside and emulate what nature is doing. It is a great rule to consider in decorating for every season. For the holiday season, some ideas would be to use sparkly, glittery accessories and/or anything light catching. Lighting décor is a must for the holiday season. Have a good stock of candles on hand and use them every night.

Some of my most favorite things for setting a table are those which capture your own personal style. How do you live your life? What is your family history? Keep your table setting authentic to who you are. Are you a sports enthusiast? Do you love art? Do you love to travel? Do you have a strong connection to another culture? Incorporate the things you love into your decorating. Authentic decorating never goes out of style. These are decorations that come from the heart and your personal history. When it is genuine, your guests will feel it and be naturally drawn to it.

Lastly, unexpected items on the table can be fun and a great conversation starter. I always like sitting down to visual surprises at the table. A few ideas are place cards on the table or little favors to welcome guests. Everyone always loves a surprise and loves to feel special. Entertaining your guest visually with small bowls of nuts, candies or multiple votives are lovely. You can also set the table with small favors such as a small bowl of candies, a small bar of soap or a special candle. Have fun. Set your table every night. Happy holidays!


Rosanna Bowles is an international fashion tableware designer and president and owner of Rosanna Inc. Her delightful tableware is shipped across the country and around the world. Bowles is originally from Portland, Oregon, but now makes Seattle her home.

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