Last-Minute Holiday Design Tips from Anne Chessin

Last-Minute Holiday Design Tips from Anne Chessin

Annie Werbler
Nov 25, 2009

Accomplished Brooklyn-based designer Anne Chessin has just launched her new website, featuring even more detail from the beautiful projects pictured in this post. Before your loved ones start gathering around an empty table, she's been kind enough to share her last-minute tablescape ideas with Apartment Therapy.

Anne tells us what makes her occasions feel like holidays:

"This economy is giving us an opportunity to simplify. It's all about the simple pleasures: good food, good family, and good friends. Take a break from things being over-complicated!

Here are a few simple solutions for your table: Keep in mind less is more and let the food be the star. Use things that you already have around your house or apartment. Avoid gourd overload, stay away from buying too many turkey tchotchkes and over-the-top floral arrangements, and opt instead for a simple, organic tablescape. Use a crisp white tablecloth as your foundation, and cut or find fallen branches with some fall foliage still attached. Japanese maples are stunning if you can find them — oak and maple are also good options. Spread your collection along the center of the table and space hurricane lanterns or votives evenly between branches. (Be sure to check for bugs…you don't want any uninvited guests!) Remember not to use scented candles at the table, because you don't want the smells interfering with the flavors and aromas of the food.

If you do want to buy flowers, don't bother with the pre-made Thanksgiving arrangements. Instead, purchase one or two dozen flowers of the same color (orange roses are a nice option). Don't be afraid to change the scale, cut your roses short, and make three miniature arrangements to disperse around the table. You don't even need expensive vases, because short water glasses work great.

Keep in mind that this is the season for giving thanks. It's been a very challenging year for many and now is the time to relax and enjoy each other's company."

Thanks, Anne! If you're feeling inspired, be sure to check out, or drop her a line at to discuss bringing her expertise into your own space.

Images: Raeford Dwyer and Janna Dinolfo

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