26 Beautiful DIY Table Setting Ideas for the Holidays

Indulge your creativity with one of these crowd-pleasing table settings.

Outdoor dinner table setting
Photo: Deborah Jaffe

A gallery of elegant table-topping ideas to enhance any occasion.

01 of 25

Fill tiny tin cups with fresh-cut blooms and place at each setting for sweet-smelling ambience.

Outdoor dinner table setting
Deborah Jaffe
02 of 25

Start with a design theme (like cozy and rustic, complete with “log cabin”), then follow it through with all the elements―including napkins, centerpieces, and tablecloth.

Family-friendly table setting
Anita Calero
03 of 25

Natural elements can be surprising additions, whether as centerpieces or tucked into a pretty ribbon fastening the silverware.

Dinner table setting
Michael Paul
04 of 25

A whiteboard makes a clever charger-slash–place card―not to mention the perfect receptacle for dinnertime doodling.

Whiteboard place mats
Lucas Allen
05 of 25

Look to the craft store for inexpensive decorating materials, like red felt rectangles used as place mats, and matching lengths of ribbon.

Table setting with red felt place mats and a wooden bead centerpiece
Lucas Allen
06 of 25

Scatter votive candles about the table to set the mood simply.

Wedding Menu Ideas: Outdoor table setting
Getty Images
07 of 25

For an eye-catching place setting, rest a bold colored napkin in between stacked white dinner and salad plates.

Formal table setting
Francois Dischinger
08 of 25

Even a casual setting can have a hint of drama, here supplied by geometric-patterned salad plates.

Place setting for an informal lunch
Jonny Valiant
09 of 25

Refreshingly different place cards for summertime entertainment: personalized flags anchored in zesty limes.

Limes as place holders
Anita Calero
10 of 25

A pretty table runner laid down the length of a table can serve as both decoration and place mats.

Place setting
Francois Dischinger
11 of 25

Get playful with seating arrangements by using alphabet magnets to mark each guest’s spot.

A table place setting with alphabet magnet accent
Formula Z/S
12 of 25

Awning-striped “menus” add a bright, summery note.

Striped notebooks on table settings
Anita Calero
13 of 25

Plastic place card holders are a good low-cost investment for future parties.

Eraser as place card holder
Lucas Allen
14 of 25

Cut chalkboard paper into place mat–size pieces―and be sure to provide each guest with chalk.

Place settings with chalkboard placemats
Anita Calero
15 of 25

Ideal for windy outdoor dining, printed rubber bands prettily secure napkins and silverware to plates.

A place setting
Anita Calero
16 of 25

Sum up the evening for your guests in fun and imaginative make-your-own place mats.

Place setting
Lucas Allen
17 of 25

Make place cards that are favors too, like this one using an inexpensive seed packet.

Seed packet as place card
Lucas Allen
18 of 25

Even on its own, a splashy place mat creates an interesting setting.

Place setting on bright place mat
Francois Dischinger
19 of 25

A generously sized place mat in a graphic pattern serves up visual interest in a minimal arrangement.

Table setting
David Prince
20 of 25

Surprise guests with small treats that act as both placeholders and favors.

Dramatic table setting
Anita Calero
21 of 25

For a little French-bistro flair, turn a colorful dish towel into a shared place mat.

Yellow dish towels as placemats
Antonis Achilleos
22 of 25

A properly set table has an array of glasses―one for water, one for white wine, one for red.

Place setting for a special-occasion dinner
Jonny Valiant
23 of 25

Use stamps to mark card stock with pretty designs for an instant place card solution.

Place card at table setting
Marcus Nilsson
24 of 25

Simple variations on a color are an easy way to pull together a table.

Green place setting
David Prince
25 of 25

A combination of florals―a pretty quilt repurposed as a tablecloth; dinnerware; and straight-from-the-garden blooms―turn an outdoor dinner party into a lush affair.

Mix and match table setting
Anita Calero
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