Entertaining, Holidays

Mix Vintage with New for a Simple Holiday Tablescape

If you know me, you know that I absolutely love vintage homewares. I actually have an online shop called Viand Vintage where I curate all sorts of different décor and housewares for sale. It’s a huge passion of mine, and I love helping people bring old into their homes and style.

The question that I hear most often about how to incorporate the old with the new is: “what should I look for?” And while the answer is pretty hard for me to say, considering everyone’s homes and styles are different, I invite you to ask yourself what types of wares intrigue you the most. You see, there’s really no right or wrong answer. It’s about searching for what you like, and that’s the fun of it!

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Maybe brass candlestick holders catch your eye, or maybe it’s smoky wine glasses. Maybe you love mismatched silverware or old cracked ironstone serving-ware. No matter the answer, the trick to curating a lovely collection is to pick what you find the most interesting, fun, and different.

No matter what, a vintage item will add instant color, style, or texture to your home, simply because it was produced in a different era. Start with what catches your eye, only buy what you “triple love”, and begin to curate your collection and look. You’ll learn so much as you go.

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Now I must say, you may make some mistakes along the way. Like, “Oh, I should have bought that when I saw it”. Or, “Shoot I paid too much for this, I don’t really love it.” And while those are of course bummers, it is totally okay! Those will be experiences that inform your buying decisions next time. Every time you browse antiques you have another opportunity to learn, so don’t fret.

Now, let’s get to what you’re really here for, my 5 tips for styling a holiday tablescape:

1. Start with new linens.

Yes, vintage linens are stunningly beautiful, and absolutely have a place in your kitchen and home. But, they can be hard to come by and are pretty devastating to ruin with red wine or candle wax. There are so many beautiful linen options these days that are easy to clean and make for one less thing to worry about.

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For my table, I chose a vintage-style lace tablecloth placed over an easy ducking-type plain tablecloth. I like that it’s a total balance of texture and that the colors are slightly different.

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I wanted to bring in a pop of red for holiday cheer, so I picked a casual frayed edge red napkin and popped on vintage napkin rings to elevate them a smidge.

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2. Decide on your candle setup.

I almost always start here when it comes to the tabletop’s style. It’s like working from the center out, tallest/brightest first. At this point, you can choose to go entirely vintage or mix old and new through texture and shape.

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Here, I picked a classic set of 3 old brass taper holders and mixed it with new glass and wood tea light holders. I love the way these modern tea light holders balance out the candles themselves with a sleek low profile and nice texture.

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This set up doesn’t feel too formal and still gives a romantic glow on the table both up high by eye height, and down low by food height.

3. Pick your florals.

It may not be every day that you have some sort of floral arrangement or greenery on your table, but I definitely think a holiday table should have them. Pick a vessel for your arrangement that lands somewhere in the middle of your two candle heights. I like to see something live, abundant, and fresh between the flicker of candle flames.

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Vintage Buying Tip: If you have a lot of plain glass vessels from floral arrangements that you’ve been gifted, I invite you to start the search for vintage vases to replace the “blah” ones that you may have accumulated.

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For my table, I decided that I wanted to forage some holly from my yard to highlight the red of the napkins. But I don’t love holly in an arrangement, so I decided to make them part of my place settings down low. Plus, I have another design trick up my sleeve that, in my opinion, requires a minimal on-table centerpiece.

4. Decide on your place settings.

Here’s where I really love to mix and match old and new. I think so much balance can be achieved in combining the two in a setting. Try to set it up as evenly as possible. If you have vintage plates and silverware, try for modern glassware and side plates.

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Here I picked all-new plates with plenty of texture and added vintage silverware, a silver salt cellar (plate), and vintage glassware. I went for a full-on formal setting to add flare and used components of each, old and new, to achieve something fun and interesting to sit down to.

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5. Last but not least, style something off the table!

Last but certainly not least, style something off the table! This is my favorite tip for creating a really special table for the holidays. Especially because I wanted our table to feel really magical and fairytale-like. It’s been quite a year for everyone, and this holiday season feels like it needs to be a touch more special. Off table styling where modern buys are particularly helpful!

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In order to achieve my look, I purchased ready-made paper snowflakes to hang from the chandelier and over the windows. They dance just above and around the flame (but not too close, of course!), making for a whimsical vibe.

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Next, I wanted a little extra glow to draw the eye over into our living room where our Christmas tree and fireplace is. I decided on two oversized lanterns with a single pillar candle in each. It sets the mood by bringing candlelight off of the table in a minimal but impactful way.

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I hope that you enjoyed my 5 tips for creating a holiday table using vintage and new wares! Tag us if you use any of these tips in your own home. Happy holidays!

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