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In the spirit of simplicity amid the pandemic, Cynthia Almario chooses modern minimalism for her tablescape.

Christmas celebrations take a different approach this year as most Filipinos would prefer an intimate gathering with their families. Similar goes with decorating homes and preparing feasts. Everything seems to be simple and straightforward given the lack of massive get-togethers and parties. Although this is the case, it doesn’t mean even your holiday feast would be ordinary. We speak with celebrated interior designer Cynthia Almario, the Creative Director of Atelier Almario about her modern Christmas tablescape. This year, she shows how even monochromatic colors can create a delightful table—all with creative techniques and select elements.

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Cynthia Almario.
Angel bear stuffed toys from Shelter Manila.

Wonders of winter

Be it thematic, modern, or transitional tablescapes, Cynthia is quite versatile with her designs. “My all-time favorite is blue and white, as well as black and white,” she shares about her color preferences. A different take from the usual holiday hues, she makes these work through her keen eye for style. “Choose a theme or a color palette and stick to it,” she adds as her main piece of advice for setting up tables.

For her Christmas tablescape this year, she opts for minimalism. “I found this adorable angel bear stuffed toy that plays Silent Night with the violin,” she says, turning it into her focal point. With an endearing decor in winter white, she knew she could have a white Christmas theme for her table. It complements her dining area well that features a gigantic black forest painting. This rests against white walls where one side is entirely made of a mirror, creating the illusion of a wide space.

Silver cutlery and dinnerware add a lovely glint against white ornaments.

“I added ornaments that had crystal droplets, green pine leaves with snow-white crystals as well as fresh pinecones,” she explains. The burst of green adds a refreshing feel to the otherwise white decor and black wine glasses. For her dinnerware, she uses silver plate chargers, ice white floral plates, and frosted snowflake-shaped coasters. Each piece evokes an exquisite feel to complete the modern look.

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The varying heights of the elements create depth and an interesting effect.

Delight in dimensions

Apart from the dinnerware, floral ornaments keep the table invigorated. Cynthia strongly advises having these to add depth and dimension. One can do groups in three’s, five’s, or seven’s. “I kept the flower arrangements simple,” she says, “the square wreath had delicate gypsophila.” Right beside the fresh Baby’s Breath flowers, she placed white paper roses on glass vases. This mix of natural and artificial creates an elegant effect.

She also knows to “use different heights and textures in your tablescape to provide variety and visual interest.” Thus, it is essential to think about which elements to get and combine with one another. For Cynthia, among her go-to destinations for cutlery, tableware, and dinnerware include “Shelter, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Rustans, Landmark, Pietro Collection, W17, and Lanai.” She would also source from Germany, but of course, supporting Filipino brands is a priority.

Votive candles add a warm glow to the table.

Above all, she suggests “[enjoying] the process” of setting up tables. “Do not overthink it and keep it comfortable,” she shares. As long as you are injecting your personal style and are not afraid to check references, then your modern Christmas tablescape can look as elegant as Cynthia’s.

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