Blue Bell, PA


A Renter’s Guide to Holiday Tablescapes
We all want that holiday table that is worthy of accolades, and most important, the gram. Interior designers Grace Hackendorn and Olivia Cooper of Bernardon recently joined us at AVE Blue Bell to share simple ways to achieve a sophisticated tablescape in our apartments, no matter the size of our space and table.
Center of Attention

Grace and Olivia created a warm, holiday centerpiece for the 72” x 32” dark wood table in the dining area by taking a layering approach. “We built from the bottom up, starting with some fir greenery that you can get from your local craft store or a real nursery,” says Olivia. “We made it festive by adding beads and gold pieces of glitter branch that we snipped into pieces.”
To add height, the design duo placed a raised platform in the center and dressed it with candle votives, pine cones, and candlesticks. “The candlesticks are flameless, so apartment-friendly,” adds Grace. “And they’re from Amazon, so super easy to get.”
Grace and Olivia also took a layering approach to our 36” round, cream table, creating a base with a wreath to play off the shape, and then they added some softer eucalyptus greenery to complement this lighter color scheme. “To add height, we used a cake plate to elevate our flameless candlesticks,” says Grace.
Table for 6
“The rule of thumb for place settings is one person for every 18” of table,” shares Grace. “So we were able to comfortably and stylishly set our 72” x 32” wood dining table for eight.”
Grace and Olivia used gold chargers as the base and then layered on black dinner plates. “Black is a little unexpected,” says Olivia. “It’s sophisticated and very on trend right now.”
To keep with the sophisticated scheme, they used gold silverware and then gave us a little lesson on placement. “Your fork goes on the left and then you work inward,” explains Olivia. “If you hold up your hands and make a ‘b’ and ‘d’ with your fingers, you’ll always remember your bread goes on the left and your drink goes on the right.”
Our 36” round allowed for two place settings, but we used the peninsula to create additional seating. “We used the same place setting at the bar, so the design flows cohesively and everyone feels included,” says Grace. Grace and Olivia played up the natural, light color scheme here again and introduced a textured, woven placemat and then added a white plate that can be borrowed from your everyday dinnerware.
No-fuss, Fancy Napkin Fold
Begin by laying out your cloth napkin flat on a surface. Fold into a triangle, halfway on the diagonal. Then fold once more into a smaller triangle. Roll up from the corner into a little croissant shape, so that you can slide on your napkin ring. “If you don’t have a napkin ring, you can substitute with twine or anything around the house,” says Olivia.
For our visual learners, watch the napkin-folding segment in our video above.
“The beauty of this napkin presentation is that it doesn’t have to be perfect and each setting can have a slight variation, yet it all looks intentional and sophisticated,” says Grace.
Put in Pretty Place
If calligraphy isn’t in your skillset, you’ll love Grace and Olivia’s simple twist on the traditional name card.
For our larger wood table, they took wooden letters that you can get at your local craft store, spray-painted them gold to complement the table setting, and then placed first letter initials at each spot. “This is a simple, sophisticated way to give your guest a sense of place, without worrying about handwriting.”
The name cards for our 36” round are made out of birch wood slices that really play up the natural elements of the centerpiece and place settings. “I made these on my Cricut, but you can also get a stencil and just use a marker or sharpie to add a personalized touch,” says Grace.


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