For this instalment of our Curate Christmas at Home, interior stylist Emma Jane Palin shares her top tips for dressing the table come 25th December

We figured if we’re all going to be home for Christmas – well, we may as well go all out. We’ve recently learnt how to make festive wreaths and designed our own Radley London wrapping paper. Now it’s time to tick off the final piece of décor: the Christmas tablescape.

To round up our Curate Christmas at Home series, we asked freelance art consultant and interior stylist Emma Jane Palin to share her top tips for creating a beautiful table setting.

After studying Graphic Design and Illustration at university, Emma started her blog, where she writes about design trends and interior advice. She champions small businesses and believes a home should be filled with things chosen with love and longevity in mind.

What makes a great Christmas dinner setting?

Christmas is all about bringing family together where possible – especially this year. For me, the perfect Christmas dinner setting is intimate with lots of personality and festive cheer.

Where do you begin?

I always start with the base: the tablecloth. Instead of simply buying one, I love going to a fabric store and picking out a fabric that matches my theme. It’s much more affordable, more personal and it can be tailored to the exact measurements of your table.

How do you make sure it’s symmetrical?

Symmetry is key to making your tablescape look professional. My top tip is to place something, like a tray, in the middle of the table and work around it. I then begin laying placemats with interesting textures; again, you can make your own fabric ones or buy these in stores – I think round rattan placemats make a good base.

“For me, the perfect Christmas dinner setting is intimate with lots of personality and festive cheer.” – Emma Jane Palin

What’s your favourite dinnerware to use?

I love teaming items from different collections to make a statement. I mix and match large plates, side plates and dessert bowls to create height and then do the same with glassware to create interest.

Each wine glass should go in the top corner, nearest the centre of your table, and the water glass just in front. I then complement it with decorative cutlery – brass is my favourite – and keep things relaxed by positioning it all on one side of the place setting.

And finally, do you have any tips for creating an atmosphere?

The best way is to make it personal: try adding name cards, a menu, and a couple of decorative objects to elevate your place setting. I love incorporating seashells when I dress my table at home as I’m based in Margate and it’s a nice way of bringing the beach inside.

At Christmas, I like to make my own festive floral arrangements using greenery I’ve picked up from my local florist or tree stockist. You can either create your own centrepiece or decorate your napkins by rolling them up, wrapping a bow around them and adding some mistletoe.

Candles also create a lovely atmosphere – just remember to choose unscented ones for when you’re eating!