Let’s face it; when we think of holiday entertaining, it can leave us feeling pretty overwhelmed. In addition to feeding and watering 20+ hangry mouths, we face the pressure of throwing together a Martha-Stewart-esq scene; perfect place settings with beautifully folded cloth napkins, accented by a glittering tablescape. There is great aesthetic merit in this type of entertaining, however it can often be unachievable due to time, patience, and/or resources.

The good news for those of us who lack ultimate Martha-status, is that mismatched holiday entertaining has made quite the impression in the decorating world; it can actually make your space feel more natural, exuding the warmth and personality you were hoping to acomplish all along. We actually use the mismatched strategy when decorating at Abode; it’s more realistic to achieve on a daily basis, and works really well for entertaining too!

Here are a few tips to pull off your own mismatched holiday:

Mismatched chairs
If you don’t have enough seating, pull chairs from around the house; and don’t forget the patio furniture! Even a wrought-iron loveseat can be brought in as a cozy spot for two (add a sheepskin or throw pillows for extra comfort and style).

Set up mismatched tables family style
As we have seen recently in the fashion industry, beauty and harmony can be found in combining mismatched patterns and styles. To create a little semblance, add vases of fresh, white flowers and tea lights (if you opt to cover the tables, mismatched tablecloths are really beautiful with this same strategy).

Mix and match your place settings
Divvy up your “good china” or heirloom dishware with your other dishes for an eclectic feel. If you still don’t have enough settings, pop over to your local thrift shop and pick some up – you can get mismatched pieces for as little as $1/each.

Free up some elbow room
By placing passed dishes on a sideboard, entry table, sofa table or even a lowboy dresser, you will reduce both physical and visual clutter. A minimal tabletop feels much more purposeful, and planned. Side note: if using your dresser, you may want to remove your unmentionables before relocating it to the seating area, lest you have a joker or two in attendance!

Tables Vignettes
Be sure to keep items low enough so as not to block conversation. A pretty row of flowers in mismatched vessels placed haphazardly in clumps keeps things light without needing to peek around them to chat with folks across the way. And don’t be afraid to mix in non-holiday pieces to add some sparkle and shine. Brass animals are our favorite, timeless accessory. If you’re itching for some extra holiday flare, place them along the table with your flowers and candles, nestled in a garland of seasonal leaves, berries or pinecones. Try not to get stuck on symmetry, otherwise you risk interrupting the mismatched theme.

Don’t be afraid to try a few different combinations, and then re-arrange if you dislike them (we do it all the time!) It may help to take photos, giving yourself a reference point as you make changes. In the end, if you’re really stuck, you can always drop by Abode to chat about your decorating dilemma, and how we can help you. Ultimately, if you surround yourself with the people you love, you can never go wrong!

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