The 4 Easiest-Ever DIY Projects for a Pinterest-Worthy Holiday Table, According to Designers

published Nov 4, 2022
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Tablescapes from the front of Dine by Design, Apartment Therapy's event in partnership with Pinterest
Credit: Christopher Broe for Apartment Therapy Media; Additional Prop Styling by Alix Winsby

If you can’t make it to Apartment Therapy’s Dine by Design event in partnership with Pinterest at the brand-new House of Showfields in Brooklyn, New York, before it closes on Nov. 13, don’t worry. You can see some of beautiful tablescapes and holiday tabletop trends right here — and learn a thing or two about creating a memorable meal for your guests this holiday season and beyond.

Because tiny touches and handmade details make a tablescape really shine, we tasked our ten designers to come up with quick and easy DIY projects for elevating just about any gathering, from a Friendsgiving dinner to a holiday brunch. These ideas truly are simple and stunning but can also be completed in about an hour’s time, which is key during the busy holiday season. For even more information on the designers and the products used on each tabletop, visit the Dine by Design Pinterest board and check back on Apartment Therapy for more exclusive coverage and designer reveals.

Credit: Christopher Broe for Apartment Therapy Media; Additional Prop Styling by Alix Winsby

DIY splatter candles

“This is a wonderful DIY to carry your color palette into your candle display,” says designer Eddie Ross, whose “To the Max,” tabletop trend and candle project fits in well with the ethos of his book, “Modern Mix.”

For this project, first choose a base candle color; Ross went with gray tapers from Creative Candles. Then pick a shade for your accent splatters (Ross selected hunter green and black, which play nicely with his featured tablecloth, dishes, and glassware). Light the wick of your first accent color candle and allow it to melt, so you can carefully drip drops of wax from the flame on your base candle, where they will harden as shards. Repeat as desired to create an all-over splatted design on your base color tapers. 

Credit: Christopher Broe for Apartment Therapy Media; Additional Prop Styling by Alix Winsby
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Ornament centerpiece

Want to create a stunning centerpiece in less than five minutes flat? All you have to do is find some ornaments or baubles, and put them into a decorative bowl. You can go the secondhand route, as author of “Big Thrift Energy” and designer Virginia Chamlee did with colorful pieces from her personal collection for her “Vintage Vibes” trend, which she then interspersed with citrus fruits and pomegranates for a little bit of extra festiveness.

Picking a theme or sticking to a defined color scheme is another option, just as designer and Yowie founder Shannon Maldonado did in her “New Wave ‘80s” tableau with mini disco ball ornaments in a variety of sizes. These centerpieces are great because they’re low, so they won’t obstruct the flow of conversation across the table. Even better, you can repurpose the new pieces you buy for this idea after the meal, or shop your pre-existing stash of holiday decorations to get this look without spending any extra dough.

Credit: Christopher Broe for Apartment Therapy Media; Additional Prop Styling by Alix Winsby
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Crafty place cards

A handful of the Dine by Design designers went wild with bespoke place cards by creating theirs from things as diverse as stone orbs and agate slices to drinking glasses and even plants (yes, plants!). Place cards provide a simple, easy way to create a more personalized, elevated, and special table setup, so don’t skip them. Even better if you can DIY yours and turn them into a takeaway for guests.

For the “Boho Flair” trend, influencer and plant and design expert Kamili Bell Hill of Plant Blerd created burlap trimmed place cards, which she then wrapped around small potted herbs that guests could take home as favors. Designer Noz Nozawa used agate slices for her “Celestial Chic” place cards, while designer Mat Sanders used small marble spheres for his “Natural Selection” neutral table; both can double as paperweights or decorative objects post-meal. Finally, event planner Amber Mayfield of While Entertaining used her water glasses as canvases for guests’ names in her all blue “Monochrome Mix” tablescape. All you have to do in each of these examples is find the right type of marker for your place card surface, and write guests’ names on each of the pieces.

Credit: Christopher Broe for Apartment Therapy Media; Additional Prop Styling by Alix Winsby
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Gorgeous gourds

If you like to have fun with spray paint, this last one’s for you. Instead of leaving squash, mini pumpkins, and other gourds in their original state (which, of course, is still super-lovely), why not paint them a fun or festive color?

You can choose something totally unexpected, just as Mayfield did with her bevy of blue pumpkins parading down the table in her “Monochrome Mix” tableau. On the other side of the spectrum, you can stick with metallics that bring the holiday heat, just as Bell Hill did in her “Boho Flair” tablescape. Pick a color or set of colors, and coat your veggies or fruits outdoors so you don’t have to worry about overspray or fumes. Then simply nestle them around the candles and dishes near the center of your table.