Winter Dining Table Decor: 7 Frugal Ideas

Winter is upon us but that doesn't mean you have to shun it. Embrace it! There are so many affordable ways to create your own winter dining table decor!
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Winter is upon us but that doesn’t mean you have to shun it. Embrace it! One way you can enjoy winter without the cold and snow is by adding touches of winter inside your home. There are so many affordable ways to create your own winter dining table decor!

What I Look For In Decorations

No matter what season, there are a few elements I aim for when decorating.  The dining room table has to be functional, simple and beautiful. 

Functionality: If there is so much stuff on the table that I can’t see the person across from me, it’s too much. If there is no room on the table to set baking dishes and the milk pitcher, it’s too much.

Winter is upon us but that doesn't mean you have to shun it. Embrace it! There are so many affordable ways to create your own winter dining table decor!

I like to sit down and pass dishes and enjoy a meal. I don’t want to have to keep all the dishes on another counter so everyone has to get up to fill their plates. Call me old fashioned or stubborn, but that’s me. 

Simplicity: Less is more. I like a few, well chosen, meaningful decorative pieces that can stand by themselves. If I spill something, I don’t want a million things to have to wipe gravy off of. This also leaves more room for the food dishes.

I especially need simple at Christmas time. Family gatherings get chaotic if my winter dining table decor clutters the table or countertop. And if something gets broken, it’s okay because I didn’t spend a fortune on any of the decorations. 

Beauty: If I don’t think it’s beautiful, why decorate with it? Sometimes I get sucked into the stereotypical seasonal decorations that I don’t even like. So I have to remember to look outside the box and decorate with something I’m going to enjoy looking at. 

Dining Table Decor: All Occasion

There are a few elements of the dinner table that are constants in every season. Merely changing the color and style can spruce it up for the current season. 

Placemats – I use placemats every day. We don’t always have a tablecloth on our dining room table so placemats do the trick. They are easy to wash and easy to shake out. You can keep a small stash of seasonal colors of placemats to switch out at any time. Better yet, find some with reversible sides!

Winter is upon us but that doesn't mean you have to shun it. Embrace it! There are so many affordable ways to create your own winter dining table decor!

Table Cloth – Table cloths make any dinner extra special. Get rid of the old oil cloth and opt for a beautiful, functional linen cloth. You are doing laundry anyway, right? Just shake off the crumbs and throw it in the wash after a few uses.

Table Runner – A table runner stays clean a lot longer than a tablecloth does. Placing a simple runner down the middle of the table adds elegance and maintains functionality. 

Candles – Candles of any style spruce up the dinner table. Use tall, elegant holders for a more formal feel. Or simple little tea lights for a cozy feel.  

Mason Jars – Decorative mason jars are appropriate for any season! Make your own for each season! Bonus if you find some already decorated at a thrift store.

Winter Dining Table Decor

1. Pine Cones

Can I just say how pretty pine cones are? They hold their own in any winter dining table decor arrangement.

But if you have time, take some white paint and put touches of “snow” on the tips of each scale. 

Or roll the pine cone in a paper plate of glue or Mod Podge and then roll it in a plate of glitter

It’s super easy to slip fishing twine around the base of each cone for stringing them together in a garland or to hang somewhere.

Have the kids go outside and do the gathering for you – at home or at the park! Or if you have extra resources just order plain pine cones or decorative ones

2. Pine Boughs

I can’t think of more timeless winter dining table decor than boughs. Arrange them down the center of your table with candles or pine cones in the center. 

Again, have the kids gather pine boughs for you from your yard. Or find public land that would allow you to snip a few boughs. Maybe the Christmas tree farm? 

To eliminate the needle mess, you can order some faux boughs here. But you will miss out on the smell!

3. Snowmen

If you don’t have much snow where you live, make some snowmen that will last forever. There are so many fun crafts out there for making your own. 

Have your kids help, too! Make snowmen out of:

4. Clear Plastic Table Cloth

Under the plastic table cloth display your kids’ artwork. Have them make paper snowflakes. Or put their drawings and paintings underneath. 

5. Paper Snowflake Placemats

Cut out a bunch of paper snowflakes. Lay them out in a collage on a laminating sheet. Easy and fun placemats!

6. Branches

I love using bare branches for winter dining table decor. They don’t have the needle mess of pine boughs but they are still beautiful. 

Gather some bare branches and lay them out on newspaper outside. Spray paint them white, gold or silver.

After they are dry, arrange them in a mason jar or vase. You can leave them bare or hang pine cones or ornaments from their branches with fishing twine

Have your kids grab branches from the yard or from the ground at the park. Or buy some pre-painted branches

7. Wrapping Paper Table Cloth

Lay wrapping paper on your dining table (white side up) as a table cloth or runner. Have your kids color and paint winter scenes on it!

If you are going for a more refined look, find some elegant wrapping paper and fold under the edges nicely. Use this as a runner for your table. Or make your own placemats!

Don’t forget to check out my article about fall dinner table decor!


And don’t forget about using Christmas themes for your winter dining table decor!


Winter dining table decor doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive! Use the resources you have. Involve the kids. Keep it simple. Have fun!

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