When the season's final holiday is over and it's time to put away the table's sparkle and fluff, the space can take on a bareness made colder by the winter month of January. The right tablescape continues to glow and provide winter warmth, and lightens and brightens the mood with fitting seasonal decor. Choose from a few start-of-the-year table decorating ideas and adjust them to suit your style sensibilities -- whether minimalist, rustic or somewhere in between.
A color swap may be one of the easiest, quickest ways to improve your mood if January has you in an emotional headlock. Remove any dark red or forest-green elements -- bows, tinsel, candles, flowers or glitzy bobbles -- from your table centerpiece. If the display looks ho-hum, refill the "dead" spaces with frosty blue, cheery aqua, yellow, orange or minty-green items. The new look still reads slightly festive, but with a fresher take.
If you're finding it difficult to switch from the previous month's glittery array of festively decorative elements, go slow. Remove any obvious Christmas traces, such as a poinsettia or tree-shaped salt and pepper shakers. Leave in place the more neutral and winter-friendly effects, such as evergreen boughs and silver, white or gold pillar candles. Jazz up the setting with plenty of sparkle, but rather than using colorful tinsel, foil wrapped doodads or glitter-sprinkled objects, use clear glass and crystal -- from the candle holders to the butter dish to the stemware -- to maximize cheery light reflection through the dark and short days.
Depending on your locale, Jack Frost might continue riding around on January winds, or Mama Nature might birth colorful gems from thawing bulbs and warming trees. Collect your table's decor bounty from outdoors, including budding or bare branches, or any early blooms. Dust adhesive-sprayed branches with silver glitter to resemble winter's remaining chill, and place them in a clear glass or cut-crystal vase. If outdoor blossoms are months away, force bulbs to flower; start them in early or mid-November to enjoy them come January. If tulips or crocuses seem too spring-like, go with a row of purple freesia or white narcissus, sprouting from small, paisley, polka-dotted or striped pots -- even the silk varieties seem to melt the ice off frosty windows.
Complaining won't raise the thermometer's mercury, so work January's see-your-breath frostiness into your table's scheme. Remove every hint of December, and add a white tablecloth. Layer on silvery-white placemats, creamy-white dishware, and -- between smartly scattered, dried white moss -- white candles and a white vase brimming with pure-white baby's breath, zinnias or even Shasta daisies with sunny-yellow button-like centers as a cheeky wink to the coming spring.