We're Elevate

What started as a side hustle for two creative, driven sisters has now become one of the Midwest’s premier event planning and design firms. At Elevate, we find pure, unbridled joy in celebrating all aspects of life - big moments, small gatherings and anything in between.

Tips and Tricks: Holiday Table Setting Inspiration and Decor Q&A

Can you believe it!? In the words of N’SYNC, “It’s that time of year, Christmas time is here!” While we have NO earthly clue how that came so quickly, we do know that lots of you are gearing up to host warm holiday gatherings with family and friends this weekend and beyond, and while the menu, presents and even what Christmas album you will be playing have likely been planned out for weeks, there’s always that pesky dinner table that seems to be forgotten about until 15 minutes before folks are headed over. 

Well, fear not, place setting procrastinators, because we have compiled some of our favorite holiday table inspiration, sprinkled in a few tips and tricks of our own, AND even answered some of YOUR questions when it comes to eating and embellishments!! Of course, the “who” around the table is always what’s most important during the holiday season, but we’re here to help you with the “what,” because re-using Mom’s decorations from 1985 can only get you so far for so many years. 

So please enjoy our table inspiration, take note on some of our decor tips (which can apply to more than just the holidays), and see if any of your questions have already been asked by our readers and answered below.



Our secret key to elevating table settings will always be through the use of chargers. If this word is new to you, chargers are essentially larger plates that stay put during the entire dinner, and serve as the base to all of your salad, dinner, and dessert plates. They come in SO many different shapes and sizes and can be purchased at pretty much any store that sells kitchen goods and household items. We recommend buying one set of classic white, gold, clear or silver chargers – that way, they can be reused time and time again and will coordinate with any season or decor you decide to mix in!


There’s a reason Pantone just made this the “Color of the Year” for 2017 – it’s SO hot right now, and luckily, it’s also super easy to incorporate this trend into your holiday tablescape! While you’re out buying your Christmas tree, ask for a few extra branch clippings of your favorite evergreen (or just clip a few from a pine in your backyard!), store them outside until you’re ready to decorate, then line them up end to end lengthwise down the middle of your table, and you have yourself a merry little runner! (Plus, your table will smell divine.) Bonus: mix in some pinecones or small wintry flowers for some added texture and visual interest. 


Another classic look for any table, holiday or year round, is the addition of candlesticks in all shapes and sizes scattered down the length of your table. While you’re out and about snatching up those last minute gift ideas, swing by your local Goodwill or consignment shop and take a gander through the kitchen/homegoods section. We can almost guarantee you there will be some vintage candlesticks and pillar candle holders for the taking. Add some fresh taper or pillar candles from your local craft store, and boom, classy candle time. 

Patterns and Texture

We LOVE playing with different patterns and textures when decorating, especially for the holidays! Going with a more classic white/silver or white/evergreen selection in your table linens will ensure that you can use and reuse the same runners and napkins for years and years, but can we also talk about this plaid/buffalo plaid pattern that is having a MAJOR moment this year? We love the simple trick above of using your favorite blanket scarf as a table runner, just remember to wash it before you wear it again! 🙂


No matter what sort of holiday decor you decide to use this year, our biggest mantra when it comes to table dressings is: KEEP. IT. SIMPLE. A little really goes a long way, and using classic materials in clean, neutral colors will always be a hit, regardless of the trends that year! 

Bonus: Your Holiday Tablescape Q&As Answered! 

Q: What are your favorite places to shop for simple and durable tableware?

A: We love stores like Crate and Barrel, World Market, Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma! Currently, we love all things clean, white and light grey, and these stores have no shortage of those on hand! 

Q: Where do you recommend splurging vs. saving? 

A: DEFINITELY splurge on high quality, classic tableware that can be used for years and years. You honestly can’t go wrong with a really great set of simple dinnerware – it will last for YEARS and looks great in all sorts of settings! 

While you can splurge on the quality dinnerware, you can save on table decor by shopping your local Goodwill or consignment shops like we mentioned above and even clipping your own evergreens from your backyard (hello free stuff!). We recommend NOT spending a ton of money on the decor elements of your table since holiday trends will change from year to year

Q: How do you dress up a table and also provide age-appropriate place settings for the pint sized guests? 

A: We all know that kiddos can be messy, and will likely end up playing with the decor before the meal is even finished! We love the idea of using kraft paper as the base of the kids table, writing their names in pretty font, then using really minimal, SAFE decorative items to dress it up! Battery-powered candles made to look like the real thing are a great idea here, and using small votives filled with pretty candies and maybe a few greens will ensure that even if things get tipped over, messes can be avoided!