(Melissa in the Vivian Bomber Jacket)

We love to decorate our homes at the holidays but the one place we sometimes need a little nudge to get inspired is with table settings. The right dining decor not only livens up a meal but sets the mood of warmth, togetherness, and lets you use a little creativity in between menu prep. “You can really show some personality and with all the gatherings we have planned, now is the time to try something different,” says Melissa Carpenter owner of the event space The Hangout in Long Beach, CA, as well as the creative spirit behind these inspired tables. Here, she gets us in the mood to turn up the charm on our holiday table dressing.

A Fall Fiesta: “While there may not be turkey, the colors and textures on this table are all about the season,” says Carpenter. Using rustic-inspired plates and spicy hues of cinnamon, mustard and burnt orange, the native flora of California also adds a natural spirit with succulents, cactus and cholla branches. “I love to let my guests take home one of the succulents from the table as a holiday gift.”

Tropi-cool Twist:
While holiday tables are traditionally red, shifting that hue to a deep rose makes it a little unexpected. “The Indian batik cloth makes it feel exotic but still festive,” says Carpenter. She also used vintage dishes with the same pop of berry, as well as other well-traveled elements like small, woven African baskets holding candles and greens, and pillows made from vintage Indian Kantha throws. “The cups and plates happen to be my grandma’s but, I always check out vintage stores for great and unique dishware.”

A Pale Yellow Winter: “This is one of my favorites because it’s got so many patterns and textures but still seems quite simple,” says Carpenter of this table that’s anchored by graphic yellow and white tablecloth. “I love the flowers tied to the napkins and instead of napkin rings, and I used a natural coconut twine to keep them attached.” Another decorating tip: If you’re serving your food as a buffet, don’t forget to incorporate some of your decorating elements on that table as well, even if it’s just a matching bouquet.

A Natural Season: “I love this table because the textiles are so exciting and it’s a great example of how to layer elements for a striking effect,” says Carpenter. The tablecloth down the center is a vintage piece of natural leather, while placemats are also leather. There’s retro dishware that’s paired with modern stemware and the finishing touch is understated vases of simple greens along with some ivy draped down the center. “Oh, and don’t forget candles, they always set the mood.”

We hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving and upcoming holiday season. For inspiration and party attire head over to our latest collection.