What is your favourite thing about festive decorating?
Having fun and getting into a festive mood!
Are you a less-is-more or more-is-more festive stylist?
I would say somewhere in between. I go all out on the table and tree but elsewhere I keep it simple with some scented lighted candles and wintry flowers around the house.
What is your festive focal point?
We always have a tree that is full to the brim with decorations that I’ve collected over the years so that is probably our focal point. I tend to buy one or two new decorations each year – it’s a nice thing to do over time and they remind you of different times. If you haven’t got many it looks so lovely to tie ribbons on the tree too.
A decorated fireplace can look so beautiful as well and has the feeling of another time, so if I had a fireplace I would definitely adorn it with foliage and candles and stockings!
Could you give us some advice on how to choose the colour palette?
I think Christmas should be about having fun so I wouldn’t get too set on a colour palette but using one thing such as the flowers or a tablecloth is a good starting point, and then you can build around that. I’m a great believer in mixing it up!
Do you use a lot of colour or more muted tones for your table decoration?
I tend to go for relatively muted tones and then have pops of colour, whether that be with crackers, napkins or tableware. I have such a mix of vintage serving dishes and bowls which I’ve bought over the years and they always make the table look cheery and not so formal. I’m always on the look out for vintage ceramics at antiques fairs, charity shops and car boot sales. I also love coloured glass – I have some gorgeous green bubbled tumblers that I bought in France years ago and they seem to go with everything.
You have an eye for textiles, how do you incorporate this into your festive table?
It’s always lovely to use a tablecloth for special occasions. I often use plain linen ones in rich dark colours as they’re a little more practical, and then mix and match with colourful napkins. I also love block printed tablecloths for a bit of pattern.
How do you light your festive table?
Tall candles! My favourite are natural beeswax candles – the ochre yellow colour is so lovely and warm. Tea lights are also so pretty but I like the drama of a tall candle because of the height they give. I don’t have a chandelier over my table but if I did, I’d certainly hang some decorations like handmade paper chains or vintage baubles from it.
Two candelabras and a chandelier create a sense of symmetry and draw attention to the centre of the table. Image source
Replace plain white dinner candles with a mix of brightly coloured ones for a more cheerful look. Image source
Incorporate colour into your festive table setting with bright tableware, candles, and napkins. Image source
You are a true creator at heart, and we would love to know if you are into table centrepieces. If so, are they ever DIY? Do you incorporate nature such as dried flowers or foliage?
I wouldn’t say I have one centrepiece as such but I normally have a little collection of candle sticks and vintage vases that I dot around the centre of the table filled with wintry flowers. I’ve just planted some gorgeous Hellebores in the garden this year which would make lovely cut flowers to go in these. I’d maybe mix these with some wax flowers or eucalyptus and some wintry red berries to make it a little more Christmassy.
I don’t like anything to feel too formal and having flowers and candles dotted down the table somehow makes the table feel more intimate and a little more casual than one centrepiece.
We know that your daughter Anouska is a brilliant sketcher, do you ever incorporate artwork into your table decor?
There’s never much room left on the Christmas dinner table but a lovely way to incorporate some artwork is with personalised name cards – if you have time in between cooking!
Get creative with your winter flower vessels. Dried foliage such as thistle heads or honesty seed pods will last without water. Image source
To add a personal touch to your table setting, arrange foliage sprigs and branches across the table and use them as pretty place-card holders. Image source
Drape a fresh, fragrant green garland over a large picture frame (or two) to draw attention to your favourite artwork. Image source
Untitled, 2017. Two plate etching with aquitint by Anouska Cave
Top Tips from Cave Interiors:
Instead of one centrepiece, go for flowers and candles dotted down the table to make it feel more intimate and casual
For a bit of drama, use tall candles in your favourite colours
Decorate your chandelier with foliage, baubles, and paper chains
To make it stylish and practical, use a tablecloth in a dark colour and match it with bright colourful napkins
Use vintage tableware and coloured glass to make the table look cheery and less formal
Christmas window designed and made for Cave Interiors by Anouska Cave, 2016