Interior stylist Steve Cordony’s tips for a beautifully festive lunch or dinner table

In need of Christmas table decoration ideas? We tapped leading Australian stylist Steve Cordony to help you create a tablescape fit for a truly special spread.

Steve Cordony’s beautiful tablescape is as easy to recreate in your own home as it is in his, in the NSW countryside

The festive season is one of joy and coming together, and for many, that will take on a special significance this year. Lockdown restrictions and social distancing have meant many of us have been separated from loved ones for stretches of time (perhaps the whole year!) so this will be a time of reconnecting and cherishing the moments we’re able to spend with them once again.

It’s something Steve Cordony — one of Australia’s leading interior stylists — can relate to. “After a very interesting year, I am so excited to get home, to relax, and celebrate with my family and friends,” he tells us. Cordony is a master at setting a stylish scene for a celebration, whether it be in his home, or helping others create their very own tablescapes to enjoy. He knows that the trick to a truly enjoyable meal is to let the table do the talking, so that you can simply enjoy the time spent sharing food and catching up with your guests.

Cordony adding touches to a truly special festive table setting

When it came to helping inspire you for a stylish soiree of your own, we couldn’t think of anyone more apt to lend his expert eye than Cordony. The result is a tablescape fit for a leisurely long lunch or dinner, with Cordony’s characteristic hybrid of down-to-earth Australian elements and polish (he calls this spread “relaxed but quite tailored”).

Discover his expert tips below, then shop all the essentials you need to effortlessly create the look in your own home with David Jones. If you’d like to watch the full video series (and see Steve in action), head to @davidjonesstore and view the ‘Christmas’ Stories highlight! Don’t forget to show us what you create — you can do so on Instagram by using the hashtag #AtHomeWithDJs.

Keep things simple with one distinct statement colour

1. Choose a statement colour

This classic look means you need not be overwhelmed by several colours or over-the-top elements. Where to start? “Always with a beautiful crisp linen tablecloth,” advises Cordony. A quality white version means you can keep things minimal and still looking polished. Then, he says: “Think about a colour palette. Keep it really simple, really neutral, and then inject one pop of colour.” For this look, Cordony opted for blue (a nod to our inimitable oceans and clear skies), which is complemented by hints of gold, silver and white.

DAVID JONES

Linen Tablecloth

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ECOLOGY

Malta 12pce Dinnerset in Denim

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ROYAL DOULTON

Pacific Side Plate

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MAISON BALZAC

Set of 4 Large Goblets in Azure

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2. Set the table

Build out your tablescape with the essentials: dinnerware, cutlery and glassware in subtly varied colours, textures and materials. You could try switching out your everyday silver cutlery for statement gold or black, to keep it feeling distinct from your daily meals, or play with interesting shapes in servingware and glassware. Cordony’s expert tip? As you build up your table, don’t forget to leave room for practical, functional things like salad bowls, carafes and wine bottles. Avoid incorporating so many elements that you have no room left to serve the main course!

Keep things simple and chic

COUNTRY ROAD

Nolan 16pce Cutlery Set in Soft Gold

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RIEDEL

Vinum Sauvignon Blanc

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COUNTRY ROAD

Nolan Salad Servers in Graphite

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NACHTMANN

Classix Single Old Fashioned Glasses

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Cut stems at different lengths for an organic arrangement

3. Add some flower power

The beauty of this spread is that it leans heavily on soft, natural elements — which means flowers and greenery from your garden will go well here. Cordony has plucked white roses and blue spruce for his setting, but also recommends ivy, jasmine, or whatever else is abundant in your garden. Choose a statement vase or two for flowers, then weave in some greenery for a beautiful native look. If you’re short on room in the centre, you could pop a splash of greenery on each guest’s personal setting. When it comes to vasing your flowers, Cordony recommends to “cut them at different heights and different lengths” for an unfussy and organic look.

LSA INTERNATIONAL

Metropole Yalta Vase/Bowl

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IITTALA

Alvar Aalto Vase in Sea Blue

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NACHTMANN

Bossa Nova Vase

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DINOSAUR DESIGNS

Tall Pebble Vase in Lagoon

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4. Keep your decor feeling festive

When it comes to decorative touches, you can’t go past baubles and bon bons — ‘tis the season, after all. Don’t feel as though you have to reinvent the wheel entirely when it comes to adornments; Cordony loves a classic white linen napkin and a festive cracker to “introduce a last little metallic flourish that’s very Christmas-y.” (Christmas crackers can also act as a nice icebreaker for guests.) Likewise, baubles are an appropriately festive touch, and you could even add a personal touch with each guest’s name on a decoration for them to take home, which will be a welcomed surprise.

Christmas crackers add a festive touch and are always a hit among guests

DAVID JONES

Stripe Damask Napkins

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OBERFRAENKISCHE GLAS

Glamour German Glass Bauble Box Set

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DINOSAUR DESIGNS

Large Rock Cup in White Marble

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DAVID JONES

Snowflake Crackers

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Set the scene with subtle elements such as scent and music

5. Set the mood

Once the table is set, Cordony says: “The [final] thing I like to think about is the mood. Think about a beautiful scented candle, like this one from Jo Malone, or having music on in the background before guests arrive.” Perhaps it’s an all-out musical theme, or simply an album or artist that has special significance for your guests. As for a fragrance, why not match the scent to whatever is blooming in your garden? Personal touches will make the day all the more treasured. As Cordony reminds us: “All those intangible elements make the space feel really special.”

JO MALONE LONDON

Wild Bluebell Candle

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TOM DIXON

Elements Diffuser

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MAISON BALZAC

La Plage Candle

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TOM FORD

Neroli Portofino Candle

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