A modern take on a festive Swedish table

Here in Sweden, our Christmas traditions run deep. We love simplicity and nature, often referencing them in our daily lives. But this year we’ve found a way to style the dining table in a cool mash-up of graphic modernity and a fairy tale forest, in a richly-hued spin on the classic greens and reds. With a nod to our heritage, we’re turning it up a bit.
A holiday table is set using dark reds and greens, and greenery.
A shot from above of a table being set in a graphic manner in dark red and green tones.
Swedish landscapes are often dotted with homes and barns painted in a specific shade of red. It’s called Faluröd. We chose to reference this by using a similar shade as the base for our table setting. Next, we created a graphic effect (often found in Scandinavian design) by laying two table cloths diagonally across the table. Good to know: you can definitely use whatever textiles you have on hand at home. Even curtains will work just fine.
A hanging centrepiece made of holiday ornaments hangs above a dining table.
Over the years it’s easy to accumulate a ton of holiday decorations. Breathe new life into them (we’re all about reusing!) by creating a hanging centrepiece. Here’s how to make one:
1. Start by using a wreath as your base.
2. Fasten your ornaments to the wreath by stringing thread through each of their loops. Wrap them around the wreath, tautly pulling the thread so that they all fit together snugly.
3. Once you have the shape you like, give your centrepiece a good coating of matte spray paint in a well-ventilated area.
4. Hang it from a chain or rope and voilà!
“Bringing in greenery is a super easy and affordable way to bring life to your dining table. Moss references our beautiful Swedish forests, but you can really use whatever you like.”
Emma Parkinson
A bed in a cosy bedroom is lit with reading lamps in the centre of the headboard.
Nature has a huge impact on Swedish style and design, and we love to bring it indoors whenever possible. Create a forest-themed tablescape by using greenery like moss and hyacinth bulbs (or use what you happen to have on hand, such as wood or cork). To make things a bit more interesting, work with different heights and vessels, like vases, glasses and domes. And, of course, some fairy lights for a bit of whimsy.
Place settings are decorated with gingerbread cookies and a sprig of eucalyptus.
Nothing says ‘Swedish Christmas’ like pepparkakor, our traditional gingerbread cookies. A simple cookie in the shape of our classic little red houses, complete with guests names on handwritten tags and a ribbon, makes a charming place marker that they can eat or take home and hang from the Christmas tree. Top your napkins with a simple sprig of eucalyptus, to bring in even more nature (too much is never enough).
A trolley is used to hold drinks on ice, glasses, napkins and drink mixers.
Cut down on the back-and-forth to the kitchen by creating a bar on wheels with a multifunctional trolley. Keep your drinks on ice in a plastic bin and extra glasses, mixers and napkins within reach. We chose this colour to coordinate with the rest of the table setting.
The stools at a dining table have extra padding and pillows for comfort.
Christmas feasts can be epically long, so get comfortable. Cushions make all the difference, so have lots on hand for your stools and chairs. And because we never wear shoes inside the home here in Sweden, a high-pile rug keeps chilly feet warm. Extra bonus: it serves as a simple way to frame the entire dining space.
A holiday table is set using dark reds and greens, and greenery.
We love to see our customers get creative with our products. Go for it! But please note that altering or modifying IKEA products so they can no longer be re-sold or used for their original purpose, means the IKEA commercial guarantees and your right to return the products will be lost.
Interior designer: Emma Parkinson
Photographer: Mats Ekdahl
Writer: Vanessa Algotsson