The holidays are right around the corner – actually, our holiday open house is Thursday, October 27! – and if you’re entertaining, you’re probably already thinking about seating. Unless you already have an enormous table with ample seating – and a very small extended family – this is a always a problem to be solved. How do you handle the need for extra chairs and table space? Well, here’s the thing about holiday seating.

You may think we’re going to tell you that you absolutely need a big, beautiful table with coordinated seating for a perfect holiday dinner. But the truth is this: most people are just happy to be invited to your celebration, and you can do a lot with some folding tables, a few tablecloths and some benches and ottomans pinched from other rooms in the house.

No matter what the Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware catalogs imply, you can have an incredible holiday gathering without a 14-foot, extendable table and matching chairs. Just remember:

  • Think ahead, but be realistic.

It’s smart to think ahead to holiday parties when you’re shopping for a new dining room table (or even a house, if a formal dining room is on your wish list), but be realistic. Do you routinely throw huge dinner parties, or will you be seating people at your beautiful table maybe once a year? Is a formal dining room going to be a space for wonderful gatherings, or one that just sits, dusty and imposing, because everyone prefers eating in the kitchen?

Your table should suit your lifestyle, full stop. So make your table work with a little creativity. Find inexpensive folding tables that are the same height as your table, and spring for enough tablecloths to mask them all.

  • the-find-reno-rolling-cartShop your house first

When you’re searching for seats, look around your own home first. Benches and ottomans can be ideal, and inexpensive folding chairs are fine too. And be creative about space and function, too. Think about going buffet style – a beautiful sideboard or a cool rolling cart can make a fabulous (and functional!) presentation, whether they’re holding appetizers, drinks, desserts, the entire holiday meal, or just flatware and napkins.

  • Keep the focus on the important things – good food and good company.

But if that big, beautiful table and those gorgeous chairs are exactly what you need, well, we hope you’ll come and see us. Visit The Find Thursday, Friday and Saturday to shop our selection of incredible dining tables (and benches and ottomans too!).