How to Set a Simple & Elegant Holiday Table


It’s no secret that the holidays have become synonymous with frills, fuss, and “pulling out all the stops.” This is the picture painted most often by advertisements, social media, and maybe even at Nancy Neighbor’s next door. If embracing the holiday frenzy stirs excitement in your heart, then by all means, go for it! 

But if these expectations invite more stress than joy into your life, there’s an alternative.

Imagine hosting that feels relaxing and carefree. Imagine zero stress to set an elaborate table, no pressure to achieve decorating perfection or flawless hospitality. Just the people and places that make you the happiest.

The answer lies in keeping it simple, and today I’m sharing how to do just that...

In last month’s post on meaningful holiday gatherings, I mentioned that table settings do not have to be overly extravagant to feel classy, special, and enjoyable. Simplicity works just as well — better in many cases.

The trick is to look for fine craftsmanship and trust your eyes.

What do I mean? If you were presented with a mass-manufactured vase and a hand-thrown vase and asked to choose your favorite, I can almost guarantee you’ll pick the handcrafted piece every time. Great craftsmanship has that wow-factor that visibly stands out.

Simple design + fine craftsmanship = elegance.

My suggestion is to set your table with simple yet elegant pieces, and I’ll share a few of my favorites below as examples. If you already own simple place settings and need one or two pieces to make the whole table feel special, I have some ideas on that, too.

But first…

You’re invited! I want to personally welcome you to STEEL + PLANK’s next in-store gathering. Brett Glenn (European Floral Design) and I will be sharing some of our favorite tips for setting the table with local wares and beautiful arrangements to create an inviting and natural feel.

If you’re ready for a relaxing time and tips you can take home with you, I’d be delighted to see you there!

When: Friday, November 8th [5pm-7pm]

Where: Steel + Plank at 675 Pulaski Street, Suite 200, Athens, GA 30601 

Now let’s browse some beautiful tableware...


This earthenware dishware is simple but expressive, everyday yet special. A set like this matches nearly any other style you might have at home and goes beautifully with printed napkins, natural centerpieces, or a gorgeous wood table. (You can find it here.)


These round bamboo table mats have a simple shape, subtle texture, and will enhance the beauty of a wide range of tableware, from traditional to modern to contemporary. I also love that this material is easily washable, 100% phthalate-free, and contains 25% renewable vegetable content. Whoever said we couldn’t embrace simple beauty and be considerate of our planet? (Find it here.)


Here’s another example of a simple design that will speak volumes at your table. Display food on this teak organic cutting board and (without you trying too hard, or even at all) its beauty is eye-catching. This item also makes for a great gift — it works with everyone’s tastes! (Find it here.)

There’s nothing quite like a gorgeous wooden spoon to stir things up at the table. These teak stirrers are sleek and minimal, sustainable and functional. Not to mention highly versatile in function and appearance. Use them for cooking in the kitchen, or add them to a salad or side dish for instant beauty. (Find them here.)

Simple yet innovative, this glass decanter is topped with a sphere of mango wood, one of the most sustainable wood options out there. Not only will it inspire your guests to keep on pouring (stay hydrated, friends), but it can work just as well on its own as it can with a wide range of decor. (Find it here.)



If you come to our gathering on November 8th, we’ll be talking about centerpieces and showing you how to make them. But for now, here’s some simple advice, whether you’re in a time-crunch or want that effortlessly simple look. Ready?

Pair hand-thrown ceramic or porcelain pottery with a fresh clipping or two from a tree, and you have a tasteful, elegant centerpiece with enough time left to cook the turkey… or your animal-friendly alternative. ;)


Coasters can be beautiful as accessories but are also highly useful for protecting your nice tables from water rings. These Chilewich Bloom Coasters offer a fresh interpretation of florals and will instantly decorate your table, whether holding drinks, candles, or their own. (Find them here.)

Lit or unlit, candles can make any gathering more intimate. I especially love these Steel Vessel candles, featuring three unique scents. The best part? These steel vessels are perfect for a plant once the candle burns down! I smell a great gift idea…

As you can see, it doesn’t take much to dress your table in elegant simplicity. With a little time and even less stress, you’ll have a beautiful table, pieces you can use and appreciate on any occasion, and a gathering that’s focused on what’s most important: enjoying time with your loved ones.

I hope you’ve found this info inspiring (maybe even a relief to hear), and that you’ll consider stopping by to see us on November 8th. We can’t wait to see you there.

To you & yours,


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1 comment

  • Felt like a visit
    You covered soo many partS
    Athens. Is uptown now
    It’s a blessing you moved here and do your vision

    Thanks giving perfect time

    • SHirley cHambliss