How to Decorate a Small Dining Table for the Holidays

I love gathering with friends and family during the whole year but there is definitely something undeniably special about the gatherings that happen this time of year. We are all cozied up together to keep warm and share in good times and fulfillment. For those of us with smaller homes and smaller groups, I've created a tablescape with some holiday dinner decorating ideas as well as tips for servings people at a small table.

These tips are part of this month's The Global Styler series where myself, Stephanie from Casa Watkins Living, Katie from Up To Date Interiors and Jessica from House Homemade come together with our globally influenced styles to shares tips, DIYs, and ideas around a monthly theme. This month we are taking on Entertaining as we are upon that season of the year. I hope you enjoy all of the posts we have put together for you. My cohosts' posts are linked at the end of this one. 

My home is not a big home and it's not a tiny home. At right about 1,300 square feet, it's big enough for us but not big enough to accommodate many more people than what live here. We have lived here for 6 years now and I have experimented with hosting a few gatherings. I've come up with a few creative solutions that help things run more smoothly. I'll share those with you as well as my ideas for decorating a small table for those special small holiday dinners.

I keep a few thing on hand at all times. Colorful cloth napkins, plain wood napkin rings, a few inexpensive tapestries, a couple different vases, some colored drinking glasses, and a variety of blue and white bowls and plates. By keeping everything in the same family of colors, they feel united without being one massive set. I can have a few smaller sets that work cohesively with each other so that I can pull them all out when we have additional guests. 

If you do have a nice set that you like to pull out for special occasions, buy inexpensive every day dishes that are in coordinating colors so that you'll always have dishes to pull out should an extra guest or two arrive. 

Tips For Hosting A Small Holiday Dinner In A Small Space

1. Bench for Extra Seating- Keep a slim bench in the room to pull up to the table. You'll fit more people than you would be able to fit with multiple different chairs. And benches are easy to push off to the side when they're not needed without taking up valuable storage space elsewhere in the home.
2. Dollar Store Dishes- I always buy my dishes at the dollar store because the designs are simple enough to mix and match whenever a plate breaks or more need to be bought. This means I can have a lot of different small sets on hand for very little money. 
3. Bar Cart For Food- Use the surfaces of a tea or bar cart to put the served food on. The cart can be moved around even between multiple tables if you need to use multiple tables during the dinner. 
4. Low Profile Vase with Plant Clippings- Don't waste too much space on the table with an elaborate centerpiece. Something too tall will hinder eye contact amongst those gathering while something to wide will take up valuable plate and glass space. A vase that's short, skinny and/or transparent filled with something low and thin will help keep the space from being overwhelmingly crowded.  
5. Thrift the Accessories- To make the simpler dishware feel more luxurious, thrift unique accessories. It's very Anthropologie with the kitschy, collected feel that one of a kind thrifted items bring to a table. For this table, the napkin rings, candle holders and coasters are thrifted. 
6. Double Duty Salt and Pepper Shakers- To save on tabletop space, display decorative salt and pepper shakers to enhance the centerpiece. 
7. Embrace an Eclectic Mix- If you intentionally embrance an eclectic mix, you'll be able to curate pieces that truly compliment each other for your dinner parties. Think about how new pieces will vibe with your existing pieces. 
8. Utilize Adjoining Spaces- Since a smaller table doesn't allow you to put out as much food in front of your plates, set up a buffet style station in a nearby room so people can fill their plates and then join for libations and good company at the table. Kitchen counters, coffee tables, media stands, book cases and dressers all make great dinner party buffet surfaces!
9. Decorate Surroundings- To add more ambiance to the space, decorate the space around the table as you would the center of a larger table. Light candles, fill vases, add figurines and plants. The occassion will feel just as special if you gather within the decor as if you were gathering around the decor. 
10. Serve in Multiple Courses- To save space on the table, bring out just a few dishes at a time and swap them out with new ones periodically so people can try different dishes. 

Keeping the table decorated with just a few items makes it easier to clear the table for some post dinner card and board games. Do you still play physical games these days? We still like to get together as a family and with friends to play monopoly and children friendly card games. It's a relaxing way to kill time with the people we love.

Here Are Three More Entertaining Ideas For The Upcoming Holidays:

5 Minute, Family Friendly Thankful Tree - House Homemade


  1. Corinna it’s beautiful! I always love seeing your tablescapes. They are always so welcoming, cozy, and full of boho style. Great tips!!!

  2. These are such great tips for small space entertaining. Love how your tabled turned out with so many colors and textures. Gorgeous!

  3. Such Pretty pics and great tips!


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