Set to dazzle

Published 7:57 pm Saturday, November 17, 2012

Albert Lean Kathy Leidal used her backyard as an inspiration for this coffee table setting. Twigs, pine cones and dried plants and flowers created a centerpiece. — Danielle Boss/Albert Lea Tribune

Design and craft enthusiast offers tips for holiday table decor

As seen in Southern Minnesota

This feature is from the winter edition of our magazine, available throughout Albert Lea. Stop by the Tribune for a copy.

By Jennifer Levisen

Email newsletter signup

Holiday table decor doesn’t need to be expensive or mind-boggling. Just take stock of what you already have and use the tips below to help think outside of the gift box. Southern Minnesota found three classic tables to decorate with help from Albert Lean Kathy Leidal, a self-professed design and craft enthusiast.

Dining room table

Don’t be afraid to mismatch layers and textures — it can make an elegant table much more interesting.

This dining room table setting uses mismatched layers and textures to make the table more interesting. — Danielle Boss/Albert Lea Tribune

Leidal used a brown and gold tablecloth and offset it with placemats featuring other rich, earthy colors for the base of her elegant holiday table.

“I purposefully used placemats that didn’t match the tablecloth, but mimicked some of the rich, earthy colors used,” she said. “I don’t like when things match, and I really appreciated the different textures in the two pieces. The more texture you have, the more elements involved, the more interest you create.”

The ribbon Leidal used on the table was previously used on her Christmas tree as were the Christmas balls she placed on glass candlestick holders. From her chandelier, Leidal hung glass and gold ornaments to create the illusion of height. “When your centerpiece is low, it’s nice to include different elements to draw guests’ eyes upward,” she said. “It all goes back to the layers and creating a space that is visually appealing for your guests.”

The plates used were from Leidal’s cupboard and were offset by red chargers. “Don’t be afraid to mix elegant pieces with more casual ones,” she said.

As it is the gift-giving season, Leidal includes party favors for her guests adorned with handcrafted paper flowers. “I just cut flowers out of different sheets of colored paper and adhered them to the gifts with pins,” she said. “I also used different sizes and shapes of boxes, whatever I had available lying around the house. Don’t be afraid to wrap the gifts differently, either.”

Coffee table

Don’t get frostbite — bring a little of the outdoors in!

Albert Lea design enthusiast Kathy Leidal incorporated She encouraged mismatching colors and textures for this coffee table setting. — Danielle Boss/Albert Lea Tribune.

Leidal used her backyard as inspiration for creating a casual, comfy setting (pillows for seats!) for a get-together with girlfriends.

“Bringing the outdoors in adds easy texture and helps keep the seasonal theme,” she said.

She used twigs, pine cones and dried plants and flowers from her backyard to create a visually appealing, textured centerpiece and table decorations. She also used candle sconces from her living room and placed a mirror under them to up the sparkle factor. The noel statue used on the table was a gift from her grandmother.

“The tablecloth I’ve used I’ve had forever,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to bring some of your older pieces out of retirement. You might be surprised how pairing those with newer pieces can revitalize them.”

Leidal also used cloth napkins and a scarf, straight out of her closet, to add texture. She also layered plates out of her cupboard for interest, and as a conversation starter, she folded cloth napkins into collared-shirts.

“Cloth napkins are a great way to add interest to any table setting and easily up the elegance factor instead of paper napkins,” she said.

Table for two

A simple dinner for two becomes all the more special with easy holiday touches. It’s important not to forget romance during the busy holiday season.

“The tablecloth is actually a piece of glitter fabric I’ve previously used as a tree skirt for my Christmas tree,” Leidal said. “To add some visual interest I also used a hardanger table runner my mom embroidered and the peace sign is an old ornament.”

This table for two was inspired by design enthusiast Kathy Leidal of Albert Lea. — Danielle Boss

Leidal used other tree ornaments and candle scones from elsewhere in her house. The simple white plates really pop with the red chargers. Don’t be afraid to fold your cloth napkin and place it on the plate to create layers instead of placing it traditionally alongside the plate.

“It can be so easy to get caught up in the season,” Leidal said. “Simple decorations like these can make even a mid-week meal romantic.”