Is it really the holiday season unless you’ve spent the last 45 minutes on TikTok watching videos of dinner tables being styled up for a festive party? Probably not, considering that the hashtag #ChristmasTablescape has racked up 63 million views. The well-styled table has become the unexpected centerpiece of the holiday fete. Maybe it’s because we all embraced cooking and hosting at home during the pandemic, maybe it’s because peak entertaining season presents an excellent opportunity to pull out that linen tablecloth you hardly use.

To be clear, the modern tablescape is less Martha Stewart and more Molly Baz–quirky, imperfect but undoubtedly chic. It’s not precious or uptight, but rather joyful, spontaneous and unfussy. Perhaps your glassware doesn’t match, or your plates are a mix of standard white dinnerware and heirloom treasures. Bud vases, tea candles, springs of greenery or a string of delicate lights are all fair game. The idea here is to play and create a whimsical spread, one that your guests will remember long after the bubbly has gone flat.

Amy Burstyn Fritz is no stranger to setting a beautiful table. Along with her sister, she’s the co-founder of Misette, a gorgeous range of artisanal plates, linens and table decor. Her tablescape ethos? “We want a table to feel like a work of art, something special that you curated where all the pieces come together beautifully and naturally.” Misette’s pieces are designed to be paired with things you already own, like plain white plates. “Collecting and passing tableware down to generations is in our roots,” she says. Here, Burstyn Fritz offers her best tips for nailing your tablescape, no matchy plates required.

Mix it up

“You can use a different plate on every setting,” offers Burstyn Fritz, evoking visions of a Mad Hatter tea party. But, if a different plate for each guest sounds like too much collecting for one year, you can offer a different napkin for each guest instead.

Misette linen napkins

Fête Embroidered Linen Napkins (Set of 4), Misette, $221


Consider place cards

No, they’re not just for weddings and galas. Writing each guest’s name and presenting it at their table setting is an unexpected extra touch to elevate the eve—especially if you have pretty handwriting. And who says that place cards have to be on paper? “Write someone’s name in sharpie on an orange,” suggests Burstyn Fritz

Place Cards, Etsy, from $7


Layer your linens

You know that rug-layering trend that’s big in home decor right now? Same idea. Instead of one hero tablecloth, considering layering two, or adding a table runner in a contrasting textile to up the interest.

Table Runner, Simons, from $13


Use candles liberally

Burstyn Fritz says that candles add instant “intrigue” to a table. Plus, as your beautifully plated food gets picked at, and crumbs start to dot the table, the candlelight glow will cast a forgiving, gentle light on it all.

Dusen Dusen taper candles, Areaware, $35


Vases for the win

“Most people aren’t professional floral arrangers,” says Burstyn Fritz. Instead, she keeps the florals simple and focuses the interest on the vases. “Then, just throw in some simple sprigs of eucalyptus or something else seasonal.” Plus, vases can become permanent decor in other areas of your home.


Vase, Ikea, $15