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Noche average table: 8 tips on how to style a stunning Noche Buena table |


Noche average table: 8 tips on how to style a stunning Noche Buena table

Cyndi Fernandez-Beltran, Piid - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Christmas season is upon us with all the last-minute shopping and the traffic it brings — not to mention the a promise of a good Noche Buena feast with the family.  For us Filipinos, this is the only occasion where we pull out all the stops and allow ourselves to create something extra special for the family. The planning and preparation of food you serve is one thing, and the styling of a good tablescape is another altogether. 

I have styled many tables for corporate and social events but nothing is as special as styling a table for my family on the most awaited eve of the year.  Here are my top tips on how to set a table that is dressed to impress.

Always start with a blank canvas

Much like artworks, styling your table should always start with a clean slate. Use a fine solid-colored table linen or opt for a plain tabletop that you can layer with table runners. If you are feeling a little bit more playful, forego the plains and go for nicely coordinated prints. Feel the table: if it seems too hard, and a table silencer is not available, add more layers of tablecloth underneath.  Iron well and build your color scheme and table scape from there.

Layers and tiers

Layering is not limited to fashion.  Do this to dress up your table as well. Use napkins of different materials, layer plates and bowls to create interest and break the monotony.  If you have small centerpieces, use regular home items like bowls and canisters as elevators and create tiers of décor. Creating levels and heights amplifies your design element of choice.

Fruits as decor

Fruits make great centerpieces. Choose those that go with your color scheme and cluster them in groups of fours or fives. Add touches of leaves from your garden for more texture.

Mix and match

You may think you don’t have everything you need to make a stylish Noche Buena feast.  The truth is, there are so many resources in your home, you just have to be a little bit more creative. Do not be afraid to mix and match pieces. Lacking seats for your guests? Use the two side chairs in your living room. Need more plates, silverware and stemware? Mix the old and new.  Need more décor? Grab that console table vase and make a handpicked arrangement from your garden. There is no rule to this but visual balance and harmony of all design elements is key.

Festive! Festive!

Make sure your table speaks well of the festive mood. Go as far as grabbing some Christmas tree trinkets and use them as accents. Plant several of those glittered branches or pretty berries and see how it can magically turn your tablescape into a festive one!

Shine and sparkle

Nothing says holidays more than a good table setting with a hint of glitter, gold and sparkle.  Add textures of these to hit just the right note of glam and elegance in your Noche Buena feast.


Surprise your family by personalizing the Noche Buena feast.  Involve the most creative in your family to make handmade name cards and use regular home items such as fruits, Christmas tree ornaments or even the cork of your wine bottle as stands. Have embroidered cloth napkins with monograms if you can. It will make your guests feel extra special!

Burst of greenery

Greens are good fillers for those empty spaces on your table spread.  Create natural wreaths or garlands, with foliage from your own backyard. You may even opt to use herbs in pots wrapped with jute sack for a more organic look.


Time to dim the lights and turn on those candles.  It’s one of the very few occasions (except Valentine’s) where you can add drama to the dining table. Candles are an excellent touch; you may opt for the tapered ones or mix with LED battery-operated ones in decorative glasses.

Stunning Noche Buena table settings are not for professionals alone; they can be made by individuals whose love for their family allows them to create something beautiful for this yearly Filipino family tradition. The point is to make the best of what is available to you.  So set the table early and give yourself some time to perfect your creation. Plan everything ahead so the only thing left to do is to pour the wine and enjoy some good conversation with the family.

Cyndi Fernandez-Beltran is the principal designer of Moss Manila Inc. An interior and event design firm based in Manila. Home accessories and furniture used in this article are from Moss Manila Home, the boutique home store of her design firm.


Moss Manila Home – 1 Granada St. Valencia, QC | email: +02 6321978 | IG @mossmanilahome & @mossmanila.

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