Candles

Photo: Johnny Nicoloro

A Bright Lineup
"Instead of decorating with just two or three candlesticks, put 15 down the center of a table for a more dramatic effect. You can find clearance candlesticks just about any time of year, and if you don't like the color, spray-paint them." —Sherry Petersik, co-author of Young House Love
The Gold Standard
"Changing up your flatware to a warm, gorgeous gold ... is a fun way to brighten up your table while keeping with the tones of the season." —Abby Larson, founder and editor of Style Me Pretty Living
Holiday dishes

Photo: Christy Rost

A Host of Christmas Future
"To set my table for the holidays without spending too much money, I use my everyday dishes and add a colorful charger at the bottom. After the holidays are over, you could invest in holiday-themed dishes or salad plates at a reduced price and mix them with what you already own... next year." —Christy Rost, author of Celebrating Home: A Handbook For Gracious Living (Bright Sky Press)
Santa's sleigh

Photo: Christy Rost

A Secret Santa
"One of my favorite centerpieces begins with an inexpensive burgundy sleigh edged in satiny gold I found years ago. Sometimes, I fill it with pine boughs and red and white roses or carnations; other years, I arrange one of the Santas from my collection and surround him with small, gaily wrapped gift boxes that spill onto the table." —Christy Rost, author of Celebrating Home: A Handbook For Gracious Living (Bright Sky Press)
Holly centerpiece

Photo: Matthew Klein

A Holly-Jolly Table
"Holly in small vases next to everyone's place card or a bouquet in the middle of the table or just placed around some candles is a nice nod to the natural world—it's traditional as well as beautiful." —Cornelia Guest, author of Cornelia Guest's Simple Pleasures: Healthy Seasonal Cooking and Easy Entertaining (Weinstein Books)
Glassware

Photo: Quentin Bacon

A Glass Menagerie
"Colorful and varied glassware on my table is one of my favorite visual upgrades, because it packs a powerful punch with not much effort. For a holiday centerpiece, roses are also beautiful and last a long time. I love to mix in seasonal greenery and berries with them, and stick everything in a glass vase with cranberries floating in the water for an elegant focal point on the table." —Danielle Rollins, author of Soiree: Entertaining With Style (Rizzoli)
Flowers and candles on a table

Photo: Pieter Estersohn

A Stunning Combination
"Sometimes the simplest table settings can be the most dramatic. Set out small vases of red or white flowers with tea light candles between the arrangements. This combination can be striking next to a white tablecloth." —Michael Leva and Nancy Parker, authors of Recipes for Parties: Menus, Flowers, D├ęcor: Everything for Perfect Entertaining (Rizzoli)
Topiary centerpieces

Photo: Debi Lilly Design for Safeway/BBJLinen

A Green Idea
"I love using fresh or preserved topiary on my holiday table, adding a bright pop of ribbon in my favorite holiday color. I also fill silver julep cups or champagne buckets with ivies, ferns or pretty long-lasting plants. And I always, always have loads of candles to add instant flickering warmth to every room." —Debi Lilly, author of A Perfect Event: Inspired, Easy Elegance for Every Occasion (Dunham Books)
Framed photos

Photo: Matthew Klein

A Picture-Perfect Night
"When throwing a year-end party, I get lots of small frames and put fun pictures of the guests in them. You can use them as place cards; they're inexpensive and make great conversation pieces. Guests can take them home at the end of the night as a little gift." —Cornelia Guest, author of Cornelia Guest's Simple Pleasures: Healthy Seasonal Cooking and Easy Entertaining (Weinstein Books)