How to decorate your table for an Australian Christmas

If traditional Christmas images are anything to go by, this season is all about cold weather, mulled wine, roast dinners with all the trimmings and, if we’re lucky, a snowfall large enough for building a family of snowmen and women. But that couldn’t be further from an Australian Christmas, where hot weather and sunshine are the order of the day, so we asked Adelaide-based stylist and Fashion Editor of SA LIFE, Emma Riemersma, for her top Christmas table setting ideas – the Australian way.


Bouquet of flowers next to candlesticks on dining table


Create a tonal palette

Before you start, Emma recommends that you think about your colour palette for the table. “Establish and palette and be tonal or pick one bold colour to add amongst your white and neutrals. I’m inspired by fashion trends so if you want something contemporary, see what colours they’re using together in stores or magazines. If you’re unsure, walk through a homeware store that you find inspirational, or through a garden to see what colours you’re inspired by.

“Here we’re going for a light palette so instead of going for everything white, make it tonal to add interest. When you make it tonal, you can use shades that complement each other without looking too ‘matchy’.


Woman placing vase of flowers on dining table

Use Australian native botanicals

Here at Jurlique, we love our botanicals. Not only do we believe in their powerful skin care benefits (which is why they form the basis of our products) but we’re firm believers that they bring a lot of joy and can boost your overall wellbeing (read our article on how plants can boost your skin health for more). For this table, Emma used botanicals growing on the Jurlique Farm, including Lavender, Yarrow and Black Elder, with a sprig of Holly in the place settings for a subtle Christmas feel.

Emma recommends: “Use local foraged things or Australian native plants, especially for centre of the table and place settings, to support local growers and be more sustainable. If you’re unsure, go to your local market and chat with the stall holders to get their advice on what to pick.

“For Christmas, it depends what palette you’re going for, but I love native flowers – King Proteas are really stunning and dynamic. If you want that Christmas feel without being overtly Christmassy, add a touch of Holly in either a small vase or on a place setting.”


Woman touching place setting of holly and lavender wrapped in linen napkin


Choose table settings that mean something to you

For this table setting, Emma used her grandmother’s silverware, as well as crockery that reminded her of times spent travelling through Spain and Portugal. “Christmas can be a lot of work, so make it as lovely and enjoyable as possible. Don’t style your table a certain way or use pieces because you think you should, do it because it means something to you and because you like it.”

Feeling extra festive? Read our DIY guide to creating a Christmas wreath using Australian botanicals.