The festive season may be a time for tradition but there is never just one way to decorate your Christmas dining table.
With just a few simple touches you can achieve a contemporary look while remaining true to the classic spirit of the festive feast.
Leading interior design house Neptune know a thing or two about creating an enchanting Christmas dining table which gets the balance just right.
A central runner on the table may be part of the traditional look, however a simple twist such as using a folded linen tablecloth to create a runner, changes the character completely.
Adding an interesting mix of decorations on top will stop it looking anything like an old-fashioned table runner.
For your centrepiece, bringing in elements of nature will nod to tradition, but by choosing lighter pieces of greenery you will have more room to weave in other pieces.
You can bring a glimmer of gold to your tabletop with tealights in amber glass and pieces such as Neptune’s antique gold berry twigs.
Now you need to add height and light. Creating soft evocative festive lighting is an art form in itself and candles are always a great place to start.
A mixture of candles tends to work better. Long tapered candles in candlesticks add height while smaller pillar candles and tealights create a more magical and intimate scene.
One tip is to think about is to using glass candlesticks. Placed in front of a vase or other object, the glass almost melts away, so from a distance your candles look like they are floating.
And then there are fairy lights, a sprinkling of soft white fairy lights adorning the centrepiece will bring a truly festive feel to any table.
If you are feeling adventurous creating decorations that hang above the table is another way to give your tabletop a contemporary touch.
As long as you are happy to have two or three hooks in your ceiling – you can take them down afterwards – then it is not too difficult to set up.
Paper pinwheels are a fun, festive decoration to make, particularly with children who tend to love them.
You could also hang stars, hearts and pretty tealights using twine, clear wire or velvet ribbon for a touch of decadence.
If you really want to add drama, a decorated branch that stretches the length of your table, is something every guest will remember.
When it comes place settings, beautiful plates, elegant cutlery with a reassuring heft, sparkling wine glasses and linen napkins that are a joy to unfurl, are the essence of the perfect Christmas dining table.
Maybe you could wrap a little gift as part of each table setting, a festive touch that makes a thoughtful alternative to crackers.
And for some real warmth consider draping cosy sheepskin rugs and snuggly wraps on seats to make your guests feel especially cared for.
So, when it comes to Christmas dining, if you can create a happy medium between traditional and contemporary, you can have the best of both worlds.