A Country Style Rustic Christmas
Using Red English Transferware
Table of Contents
On today’s post, we are going to create a country style rustic Christmas tablescape using red transferware as the table setting. I saw this photo of a rustic tablescape created by Nancy from Nancy’s Daily Dish Blog for the fall apple season and thought it is a great idea for a rustic Christmas tablescape.
Country style is trendy and the down-to-earth, rustic country feel that comes from the use of a burlap tablecloth, red gingham fabric, and especially when using red and white stripe kitchen towels for placemats or napkins. So, on this post, we are taking Nancy’s autumn tablescape idea and turning it into a rustic country style Christmas tablescape.
Nancy used a set of antique Royal Dalton red transferware. I have found several different china patterns with which we can substitute for a fabulous red and white transferware country style Christmas table setting.
I just happen to have an old set of Johnson Brothers Old British Castle transferware which I have used often over the years. I love layering it with white or blue fine china sets for many special occasions. Since we have downsized from a large house to a small apartment, I have handed down many of my china and transferware pottery to my daughters, including my red Old British Castle set. I did keep 4 place settings for myself but I shipped everything else to one of my daughters in Hawaii.
By the way, red and white transferware is called pink transferware, even though it comes in a variety of shades of red, from very light almost pink to a very deep carmine red or maroon. If the transferware is actually pink, it is very rare and is usually a washed out red, called English pink. Are we all as clear as mud on the subject? Grin.
Large Country Style Dining Tables
Nancy started her tablescape with a burlap table cloth similar to the one I featured one on my previous post, but a tablecloth isn’t a necessity, especially if you own a gorgeous farmhouse plank style dining table like the farm house style dining tables I am featuring below.
Amish Barstow Rustic Plank Trestle
Solid Red Oak Dining Table
I was pretty excited when I saw this gorgeous handmade Amish barn wood style dining table. This gorgeous rustic country style dining table was handcrafted from North American wood by skilled Amish woodworkers. The table is made from red oak but they are also made from brown maple, white oak, and rustic cherry. It is finished in a natural finish that lets the beauty and natural color of the wood shine through.
Each piece is enhanced with the character that comes together in a piece of furniture which will add depth and endurance to your home. It is an ideal combination of both style and value. The Amish tables will last for years and years because of the expert craftsmanship that goes into each piece.
French Country Style Wood Farmhouse
Rustic Farmhouse Solid Pine Trestle
Dining Table Bench
Use a pair of country style dining table benches to your dining room table to really add a rustic country feel to your country dining room. If you want a more formal atmosphere, take the benches outside and use regular dining chairs at the table.
Rustic Wood Farmhouse Dining Tables
Creating a Rustic Christmas Tablescape
Nancy begins her table setting using a large piece of burlap fabric. Burlap gives a wonderful rustic look to the table, but it is a difficult fabric to launder and reuse. Instead, I have selected several burlap look-a-like tablecloths for you to look at. We do want to keep with a neutral tone as the base color for our tablescape setting to keep the table from looking too busy, especially if you have a dark dining room like Nancy’s.
Washable Burlap-style Tablecloths
I have seen tablescapes using red transferware placed on a red and white toile tablecloth and it is too busy on the eyes. Your eyes don’t know where to rest. Using toile fabric to accent the table is the way to go.
On the other hand, if you have a very light, bright dining room consider using a darker solid burgundy or maroon colored tablecloth as your base color.
Nancy started her tablescape design using a red and white gingham tablecloth that she bunched and scrunched decoratively along the center of the table.
Christmas Holiday Red and White Toile Print Cotton TableclothSince we are doing a Christmas tablescape, I like the idea of using a red and white Christmas holiday toile fabric tablecloth, instead of the checkered gingham, for a little more of an upscale Christmas rustic country look. Besides, the toile print coordinates so beautifully with the red transferware china pattern. I think it is so much nicer accent for this Christmas look.
If you have a red toile sheet it would work nicely too. When I go to garage sales and thrift stores during summer months I keep my eyes out for old sheets I can upcycle into a new home décor use.
First, bunch and scrunch the toile tablecloth fabric along the center, and down the length, of the dining table. Next, you will build your tablescape with similar items to the ones Nancy chose for her tablescape. Remember the photo above?
I have chosen items you might like as replacement pieces to use as the tablescape decorations. These items will be placed on top of the fabric, starting in the center and working them down from the center towards each end. Place anchor pieces at each end of the table to mirror each other. I want each end of the table to balance and each side of the table to be the same view for our guest.
Decorative Red Orb Tabletop Décor
Large Red Metal Sphere Design DecorSmall Fancy Red Metal Decorative SphereSmall Red Metal Band Decorative SphereSmall Red Metal Decorative SphereSmall Red Wicker Rattan Woven Balls PairMedium Red Natural Fiber Willow Rattan Ball
Nancy used extra-large natural fiber woven orbs for autumn tablescape design. Instead, I think red is more appropriate for our Christmas design. Above are several red spheres made of a variety of materials which can be mixed and matched on the table. Start with 3 large red orbs centered upon the toile tablecloth.
Weave fresh or faux evergreen garlands around the larger orbs and nestle smaller orbs into the evergreens around the larger ones.
Red Christmas Candelabrum
Three Glass Hurricane Candle Holders
with Hydrangea, Holly, Pine Cone, Berry & Evergreens
An alternative to the red tabletop orb décor is to use fresh or faux evergreen candelabrum centerpieces. If the dining table is long, the candle centerpieces can be doubled or tripled to fit the length of the table.
Included with this candelabrum centerpiece are 3 hurricane candle holders (candles are not included) nestled within the foliage of the tabletop piece. It is a fabulous starter piece for our rustic Christmas tablescape which we can layer out from the center and down the table. One of these centerpieces will suffice for a small table seating, however, for a longer table serving 8 or more you may want to line two or three of the centerpieces down the center of the table, depending of course on the table’s length.
The red orbs can still be used with a candelabrum by placing several different sizes on each side of the faux evergreens and berries. I think a 6″ ball is large enough. I want to add interest to the table without overpowering the table with giant orbs like Nancy used in her autumn tablescape.
The faux boughs and berries are hard wired so they can be bent any way necessary to accommodate any smaller decorative Christmas pieces you feel like adding.
Red Themed Christmas Holiday Tabletop Décor Centerpieces
Another idea is to use a pair of centerpieces, such as the ones featured here, by placing one on each side of the red sphere design. The red spheres would be the focal point of the table design, while the foliage pieces would act as the table anchor end pieces. Again, be sure you are not using items too large for your size table. If your table is smaller you may want to switch to shorter candle holders or switch to taper candles instead of pillar candles. Perhaps just one red Christmas pillar candle on a low stand.
Once all of the pieces selected for this tablescape have been placed on the fabric, fill in with fresh evergreens if you have access to them.
Take a Nature Walk to Collect Decorating ElementsTake nature walks with your family all year long and collect natural elements such as pinecones, pussy willows, feathers, and vines to use in tablescape decorations.
During fall and winter months my saner half cuts fresh evergreen boughs for me to decorate with and I have been known to create vignettes using dead tree branches and making votive candle holders out of twigs.
If you live in a place where this isn’t possible, fresh can always be bought at the Christmas tree stands that sell fresh trees. Often the guys running the stands will give them to you for free. Local grocery stores and nurseries will also sell them to you, but I always try to get free first.
Use seasonal greenery such as evergreens, holly, mistletoe, rosemary, and sage. I think it is also a good idea to use natural elements indigenous to your local area.
Fill in the greenery with pine cones painted red and scented with cinnamon, smaller red spheres, faux red cardinals and red Christmas ornaments. Don’t over clutter but do make it pleasing to the eye with bursts of red colored objects.
Christmas Pine Embossed Pillar Candle
by Chesapeake Bay Candle
I like to use lots of candles in my tablescapes to furnish sparkle and glimmer with a magical warm welcoming feel for my guest at our Christmas dinner. I believe that you can never have too much candlelight on a Christmas tablescape! So once I have my tablescape laid out, I like to fill in the gaps around the tablescape with candles.
Red Rustic Table Linens
Starting with the placemats we have several options. Nancy used red and white stripe kitchen dish towels to coordinate with the gingham fabric tablecloth she used for her autumn apple tablescape.
Because I chose to use a red toile fabric tablecloth for our country Christmas tablescape design, at first I thought I wanted to use red toile placemats to coordinate. However, after looking at it, I realized the red toile as the background for red transferware is still much too busy so I looked for other solutions.
I decided on using either a set of French bistro red striped placemats or to follow Nancy’s lead and use the white with red stripe kitchen towels folded under the dinner plates. You decide what you like the best.
Red French Stripe Cotton Placemats
Set of 6
White with Red Stripe Cotton Kitchen Towels
Any one of these kitchen dish towel sets are fabulous finds to use with the red transferware table setting! They are the best quality to dry dishes and they make great placemats or dinner napkins for a rustic country tablescapes.
All of these kitchen towels are durable and quite functional, especially if you are a DIYer who is adept at sewing. They can be sewn together for country table runners, kitchen curtains, and pillow covers. I love them for the use of placemats on our Country Style Rustic Christmas Tablescape.
Natural Cotton Christmas Wonderland
Red & White Toile Kitchen Towel
I originally wanted to use this coordinating red Christmas toile kitchen towel as the placemat on our tablescape, but it was too busy with the red transferware setting on it. Instead, I love it to use as a rustic homespun Christmas dinner napkin!
The red toile print is a delightful winter Christmas scene, perfect as a rustic Christmas table setting accent piece. It matches the tablecloth used as the base for the tablescape perfectly. Kitchen towels are so much larger than a regular cloth napkin they give the extra coverage that makes people really enjoy using them. On the down side; it does not come as a set, and on a brighter note; you can purchase exactly what you need.
On the other hand, I found 3 different sets of French bistro style dinner napkin sets that will look lovely with this table setting. The stripes coordinate perfectly with the striped bistro cotton placemats.
White with Red Stripe Fabric Dinner Napkins
Tango Red French Stripe Bistro Style Cotton Everyday Napkins – Set of 6Red Striped Ticking Reverse to Red Christmas Evergreen Toile Cloth Napkins – Set of 4Red Stripe Restaurant Quality Polyester Bistro Dinner Napkins – Set of 12
Pay attention to the set in the center. They are reversible! On the one side is the red and white stripe ticking fabric which is perfect for a rustic country style table setting, and on the other side is a red Christmas evergreen toile print! Perfect to accent the table’s centerpiece toile fabric. Either side will look fabulous with this country Christmas table setting!
Personally, I am a big fan of natural cotton, bamboo, and hemp fabrics as sustainable eco-friendly fabrics. The napkins featured on the above left are 100% natural cotton. Unfortunately with cotton, if the cotton fabric has not been pre-shrunk before cutting and sewing, they will shrink in the wash and they will also require some ironing.
Man made polyesters are hard on the environment to produce and they are not decomposable. Polyester fabric clothing are among the sins of thrown away products clogging up the landfills, right up there with disposable baby diapers. Anyway, enough about environmental issues. Let me climb down from my band wagon and continue about these napkins I am featuring above.
Many of you out there prefer polyester because they are easy-care and require little to no ironing. They are not as absorbent as cotton, but they will do the job a napkin is suppose to do. For those of you looking for this type of easy-care napkin, the napkins featured above on the right are the napkins perfect for your table settings.
Johnson Brothers Old Britain Castles Red/Pink Transferware
Nancy used a mixture of Royal Dalton Butterfly pattern red transferware for her autumn apple table setting. Instead, for our country style rustic Christmas table setting I have chosen to use Johnson Brothers Old Britain Castles pattern of red transferware.
I have picked up beautiful antique pieces of this set from antique shops, garage sales, thrift stores, and online from places like eBay, Etsy, and Amazon. However, it is a pattern which is still being produced by the Johnson Brothers family business, so it can still be purchased new. I do mix old and new pieces. I often go to Replacements.com when I need a replacement for a broken piece or for a piece I need but cannot find on Amazon, or anywhere else for that matter.
Johnson Brothers Old Britain Castles
20-Piece Pink/Red Dinnerware Starter Set
Service for 4
The perfect set to start you out on building a collection of Old British Castles transferware china. These newer sets are produced in China instead of England and that is how you can tell the differance between vintage and new pieces. Don’t let the “Made in China” disappoint you, as that is where porcelain “china” was first produced. Way before the Chinese taught the English their artisan pottery skills.
The quality of the transferware has not been diminished. I have found this set (yes I did buy a couple of these sets on Amazon for my daughters to add to their collections) to be heavier than the vintage pieces, but the color and pattern in the transferware is the same, if not a bit brighter. After all, they are new and have not faded with time like the vintage pieces.
The newer pieces can be washed and dried in the dishwasher, but I would wash vintage pieces by hand. The force of the water and heat, along with the strong abrasive dishwashing chemicals can both break and damage vintage pieces.
Johnson Brothers Old Britain Castles
45-Piece Pink/Red Dinnerware Serveware Set
Service for 8
A fabulous set to put you on the fast track to building your collection of Old British Castles transferware china. Included with this set is a service for 8 persons, plus it includes a vegetable serving bowl, a serving platter, a covered sugar bowl, and a creamer.
Vintage Johnson Brothers Old Britain Castles
Christmas Tree Edition Pink/Red Plates
The Johnson Brothers Old English Castle special Christmas edition, rather than an English castle, features a Victorian English Christmas tree. It is a classic, timeless pattern that is highly collectible. The Christmas tree is decorated with pink/red plaid bows, complete with toys placed underneath the tree.
The border is an intricate, elaborate blend of Victorian scrollwork in a lacey scalloped design and edged at the rim with small delicate geometric patterns. Lush rose floral bouquets are placed intermittently between the scrollwork around the rimm of the plates.
It looks especially festive layered on a table setting with other red and white tranferware china pieces on a table set with Christmas greenery.
Johnson Brothers Old Britain Castles Serveware
The above link will take you to additional Johnson Brothers Old English Castles red/pink transferware serving pieces to complete your sets at home.
Red & Green Festive Crystal Glass Stemware
Clear cut crystal stemware are always gorgeous on any table setting, but for Christmas, why not liven up the table setting with the festive Christmas colors of either red or green stemware?
It is perfectly O.K. to mix and match the red and green colored glasses with the clear crystal too. Use a clear wine glass to hold water, a red glass for red wine, and a green glass for white wine. Use any combination of beautiful stemware you happen to love to serve your beverages of choice.
Vintage Festive Red Stemware
Vintage Festive Green Stemware
Festive Red Stemware
Festive Green Stemware
Festive Christmas Holiday Design Stemware
Bamboo Flatware Sets
Nancy chose to use a set of bamboo flatware for her rustic country autumn table setting.
Bamboo Style Flatware Set of 52 Pieces Service for 8I think it is a great idea for a casual rustic dinner setting and I found a similar set that is the perfect for a casual affair.
With that being said, we are setting a Christmas table, so I think we should take it up a notch by using silver or gold flatware for a more refined country setting. I found a few awesome gold and stainless steel bamboo flatware sets that will look beautious on our Christmas tablescape.
If you already own a set of gorgeous silverware, then by all means use it instead, but if you are in the market for something new and different you might want to consider one of the metal bamboo sets I am featuring below.
Look for My Next Post Where We Will Continue with Another Fabulous Christmas Tablescape