EAT OUT IN STYLE
James Treble shares his budget-friendly ways to make your alfresco feast special.
If you’re entertaining outdoors, don’t miss James’ tips on how to make alfresco dining special this season.
THE BEST AND EASIEST way to create a stylish Christmas dining experience outdoors is to ensure consistency throughout your space. Basically, having one simple colour palette and/ or styling theme is the way to go, and can make even the most basic backyard stylish, inviting and ready for a fantastic festive feast.
STYLE YOUR TABLE
For the table setting, repeating the same type of object, like matching
hurricane lamps, or a row of vases with the same coloured flowers running down the centre of the table, is stylish but subtle and allows the food to shine.
For a daytime event, use the same colour plates and bowls on a neutral tablecloth, or do the opposite: use a brightly coloured cloth or table runner, with white crockery.
One thing we do each year is let a family member pick two colours, then we use them on everything from the tree to around the front door. Wherever you see decorations, they’re the same colours. We keep the costs down by
upcycling some of the decorations to match the new colours. Respraying Christmas baubles isn’t as hard or messy as its sounds: just hang them on wire inside a large cardboard box and spray. We also make decorations each year and often add details like the new colour in ribbons, or coloured paper wrapped around boxes and placed on the sideboard or entry console.
USE A SHEET & CHEAT
A white Christmas is always stylish. One long white table covered in many smaller tablecloths will look really special and you can add colour with flowers, crockery and serviettes. You don’t need to use expensive linen tablecloths; a set of affordable white
sheets can work brilliantly – and if you are joining tables, the extra fabric hanging down on either side will hide different styles of table legs. For a low-budget option a roll of white
paper can do the trick.
Simple slip covers can make all your chairs match like a wedding but, if you don’t sew, see if white pillow slips will slide over the backs of your chairs.
“Natural elements can make an old table look quirky and hip.”
KEEP IT SIMPLE
As with many things in life often the simplest things are the most effective. Your festive décor doesn’t have to be perfect or expensive.
Contrast is a strong principle in design; it provides interest and lifts the energy within a space. A worn outdoor table setting doesn’t have to be hidden – instead, use a runner of fresh new fabric down the centre to contrast against the greying timber top. Rather than buy new plates, use the ones you have or collect interesting old plates that don’t match from the op shop, and let each one tell a story.
Groupings of items can make a great style statement. Get out all the old family silver and mix and match the pieces together, letting each different shape and size make the space feel interesting and unique.
Look around you for natural
elements and found objects, which can create a wonderfully rustic table on a budget. Pine cones are standard at Christmas, but piled down the middle of the table with candles of different heights they look stunning – and all of a sudden you’ve created something special. Try doing similar using seedpods, nuts, fruit and even old boxes or containers, as the different heights and layers can make a boring old table look quirky and hip.
Have a great Christmas!
Set the scene
A variety of small vessels and flowers looks stunning.
Sitting pretty Add a touch of glamour to basic chairs with bows or slip covers. FESTIVE GLOW Festoon 10m LED light kit, $99.95, from Beacon Lighting.
PRETTY PIECE Ella ceramic hurricane, $19.95, from Emporium.
Pot of Copper hurricane, $19.95, from Amalfi. RETRO PICK Everingham and Watson hurricane lantern, $69, from Country Culture.
Twinkle twinkle Hanging above or on the table, candles create instant ambience.
Nature’s bounty Cut branches with blooms make a sweetly simple display.