Red, White and Blue for a Holiday Tableau

There’s no denying it. I. Love. Plaid. My roommates at Auburn referred to my closet as the “Al Borland Collection.” You remember Al from Tim Allen’s Tool Time on Home Improvement… anyways. I do love plaid – especially blue plaid. And gingham, and Tattersall’s, and buffalo and cabin… ya’ll know this.


I love the geometry that plaids and checks create (geometry the only course of math in which I excelled) and I relish how the repletion of pattern creates order and style. For a tabletop in particular, I just cannot wait to blanket the board with a grid of gingham or plateau of plaid. Christmastime in particular is a plaid-tastic time of year – from the shirts to the pants to the socks and stockings and ribbons – plaid finds its way into our décor and into our wardrobes.


When it comes to a tablescape, I delight in a favorite color combo just about any time of year – red, white and blue. Different shades and hues are totally apropos for the changing seasons, but the deeper tones for Christmas makes a terrific splash. Take my table setting for our Cousins’ Christmas. Each year my clan of cousins grows just a bit with the addition of in-laws and babies coming in 2013.

Since yours truly stills calls our hometown home, the honor of setting the table has settled on me. Besides, I truly LOVE setting the table. It is one of those “instant gratification” projects – whether you’re working with heirlooms aplenty or paper plates and Dixie cups, you can set a table lickety-split!  I tell my clients that a room and home’s décor can take some time to collect and evolve and garden takes seasons upon seasons to evolve. But a tablescape satiates my design fix for instant results!

Here are a few tips on using red, white and blue for the holidays:
  • Red: Don’t be afraid of red. Red is awesome this time of year. I don’t love it necessarily all throughout the year but for Christmas it is a must for this Farmer. Berries, flowers and other accents are perfect pops! For this particular tabletop, I used nandina and carnations amassed together to form solid statements of red. And yes, I use carnations! They last 2 weeks, smell lovely and are inexpensive. Massed together they look like peonies!
  • White: Every butler’s pantry, larder, buffet or breakfront, should always have a stockpile of white dinnerware. Whether it’s fine with a gold or silver rim or simpler more every day, white china and white dinnerware are always classic, in style and neutral. White flowers too are totally apropos anytime of the year. When in doubt, a palette of green and white or blue and white is always tres chic.
  • Blue: Have yourself a blue Christmas! Blue plaid napkins and tablecloths come in a myriad of patterns and tones. Each season can boast a different style plaid that’s befitting the time of year simply by the texture of the colors. I like to buy bolts of blue plaid whenever I find a pattern I like. And I’m not talking about a-hundred- dollar-a-yard fabrics but something fun and inexpensive from a fabric shop, remnant sale or craft store. I then have the fabric cut into napkins and cloths in the shapes I need rather than hunting… although, the thrill of the hunt is fun!
  • Don’t forget green – every tablescape needs something green. In this case I used boxwood topiaries and a bit of nandina foliage for that particular pop. Green brings nature front and center to the table as it is Nature’s Neutral. It pairs so elegantly with the brown cones and wooden deer and complements the reds, whites, and blues too!
No matter the season, I want a beautiful tablescape to reflect the time. Red, white and blue make a lovely formula and I find myself drawn to this trio and their varying shades throughout the year.  This trio is beyond patriotic but always worthy of a salute! A salute to good taste, traditional tabletops, family dinners and a salute to the merriest and brightest of Christmases, y’all, from this Farmer’s table to yours!