Russian-inspired table setting

Credit: Bob Hiemstra, styling by Catherine Leithold

This setting comes straight from Russia with love! The fearlessly fanciful Matthew David Hopkins takes a classic china pattern and builds on it to make a table worthy of Nicholas and Alexandra. In an echo of his Fabergé-like egg centerpiece (the base is florists' foam!), this table is an unabashed blend of elaborate patterns and textures. What keeps the mix from becoming chaos is its consistent palette—warm jewel tones accented with gold and navy.

Dinnerware ($100 to $300 per piece, Royal Crown Derby); chargers trimmed in 14kt gold ($98 each, L'Objet); gold-plated flatware ($39.99 for a five-piece place setting, Towle Silversmiths); gold-rimmed wineglasses ($95 each) and green wineglasses ($350 for a set of four), both Fabergé; large wineglasses ($180 each, Moser); gold silk napkins ($23 each, ABH Design); glass "gemstones" ($55 to $75 each, Global Views); arabesque trinket tray used as a caviar server ($695, Jay Strongwater); Fabergé jade-handled spoons ($500 for a three-piece serving set, Neiman Marcus); tablecloth is Bolchoi fabric from Pierre Frey; Chinese Medallion wool rug (ABC Carpet & Home).
Chinese-inspired table setting

Credit: Bob Hiemstra, styling by Catherine Leithold

Traditional holiday hues brightened with a shot of turquoise set a mood that's grand but not fussy.

A multiple-pattern place setting doesn't have to be raucous, as with these exquisite, pared-down takes on traditional Asian designs. Turquoise-banded plates ($46 to $64, Raynaud's Jardin Céleste) modernize the classic holiday color scheme of red and gold.

Gold fretwork charger ($100, Mottahedeh); sterling-silver bamboo flatware ($80 to $190 per piece, Tiffany & Co.); rose-colored wineglass ($180) and crystal butterfly serving as a knife-rest ($140), both by Baccarat; blue silk napkins ($22 each, ABH Design); tablecloth is Shima by Rubelli (Bergamo Fabrics).
Red, blue and gold table setting

Credit: Bob Hiemstra, styling by Catherine Leithold

Whether you're celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa or Chinese New Year, bold colors and rich textures make for happy hosting.

Matthew takes the same modernized color scheme of red, blue and gold, but adds in exuberance. The look here is informal (and inexpensive) abundance—instead of a formal centerpiece, he makes a landscape that stretches the length of the table, mixing tea lights, small bouquets, and ginger jars. A paper parasol chandelier might best be left to X-treme Crafters, but anyone can weave the color scheme into a table runner or the backs of dining chairs with store-bought ribbon. (For instructions on making your own woven table runner, see Shop Guide.)

Classic Longevity dinnerware in turquoise ($1.95 to $12.50 per piece) and red chopsticks ($1.75 a pair), all from Pearl River; red lacquered chargers ($9.99 for a set of four, Target); Bamboo stainless-steel flatware ($60 for a five-piece set, Ricci Argentieri); red linen napkins ($12 each) and blue cereal bowls ($18 each), all from the Conran Shop; ruby goblets ($43 for a set of four, Lenox); and lotus tea lights ($14 each, Guava).
Crystal and sterling silver table setting

Credit: Bob Hiemstra, styling by Catherine Leithold

Striking silhouettes and fine detail make the monochrome table anything but monotonous.

Dust off those odd pieces of crystal that Aunt Ida left you for this single-color scheme. Not only does the crystal and silver approach simplify matters, says Matthew, but it also allows textural elements to take center stage. Candlelight gives a dynamic shimmer to the table as it picks up the glistening tablecloth (made from iridescent City Slicker fabric, $120 a yard, Pollack Associates) and the cut-crystal surfaces.

Sterling-silver menorah ($12,000, Asprey); Diamanti champagne flute ($105 for two), tall martini glass ($105 for two), and short martini glass ($105 for two), all Salviati; Sterling Antique flatware ($435 for a five-piece place setting, Reed & Barton); round pewter-colored plate ($59, the Conran Shop); Mille Nuits large plate ($260) and salad plate ($160), both by Mathias for Baccarat; white linen napkin with silver coral embroidery ($35) and silver gum-ball napkin ring ($18, both Bergdorf Goodman); Waterlily crystal candleholders ($275 each, Swarovski); hand-gilded place cards ($28 for 25 cards, Smythson of Bond Street); decanters ($86 each, Global Views); Beaufort silver-plated, footed compote used as vase ($94, Lauren Home, Ralph Lauren); and tortoiseshell mini-saltcellar ($135) and spoon ($95), both Steuben.
Glass and stainless steel table setting

Credit: Bob Hiemstra, styling by Catherine Leithold

Get shockingly close to the crystal table without tapping out your budget.

In case Aunt Ida took it with her, glass and stainless steel can stand in for crystal and sterling silver. This table style suits any special occasion, from Hanukkah to a New Year's Eve celebration.

Silver organza tablecloth ($46, Best Dressed Tables); silver-plated menorah ($20, Hamakor Judaica Inc.); Roost's Veriglass cocktail glass, goblet, and champagne glass ($15 each, Pomegranate Home); hammered stainless-steel flatware ($41.25 for a five-piece place setting, Reed & Barton); Lucca charger ($24, Pottery Barn); Soho crystal platter ($65) and salad plate ($40 for two), both Miller Rogaska by Reed & Barton; Manor striped napkin by Brownstone ($2.99, Fortunoff); Silver Ball Cluster napkin ring ($4.95, Crate & Barrel); Mini Lotus tea lights ($20 for two, Godinger Silver Art); Party Express white place cards with silver border ($4.99 for 30, Hallmark Gold Crown Store); glass decanters ($42 and $50, both Design Workshop Inc.); Maxfield Hotel serving bowl, used as a vase ($59, Pottery Barn); Duralex ingredient bowl ($1.09, Gracious Home); and sterling-silver salt spoon by Empire Silver Company ($14.99, Fortunoff).
Dessert table setting

Credit: Bob Hiemstra, styling by Catherine Leithold

A beautiful dessert, especially if showcased on a pretty plate or platter, makes a dazzling, sweet finish to a meal. Just be sure to have plenty of forks and spoons to go around. Caterer Laurence Craig had to create his own molds to bake replicas of the cakes pictured on Pierre Frey's delicious new Gourmandise fabric.

Our desserts are displayed on, from left: fluted pedestal platter ($19.95, Crate & Barrel); vintage English dessert plates ($295 for a set of six, Bergdorf Goodman); striped Galerie Royale dessert plate ($50, Bernardaud); stacked handblown crystal Edwina cake stands ($195 and $210, William Yeoward Crystal); Martha Stewart embossed-ceramic cake stand ($24.99, Kmart); Mosser Glass cake stand ($75, Fishs Eddy); Pavilion dessert plate with pierced edge ($16, Lauren Home, Ralph Lauren); and Ginger porcelain plate ($25, La Cafetière).
Dessert table setting

Credit: Bob Hiemstra, styling by Catherine Leithold

Why not make the presentation as delicious as the dessert itself?

The tablecloth is Gourmandise by Pierre Frey ($170, Yves Delorme). From left: Ginger porcelain dessert plates ($25 each, La Cafetière); Galea silver-plated demitasse spoons ($46 each, Christofle); Galerie Royale demitasse cup ($53) and bread-and-butter plate ($34, Bernardaud); and Ginger porcelain demitasse cup ($22.50 for cup and saucer, La Cafetière).

For more details see the Shop Guide in the 2005 Holiday O at Home on newsstands now.

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