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Holiday Best

Deck the Tables: Houston's top designers showcase holiday decorating ideas

Between a Charcuterie and cheese plate, a couple of bottles of good wine and a clutch roasted chicken recipe, you've got holiday dinner in the bag — but paper plates and plastic cups just don't make the cut for proper decor, especially when in-laws are involved. 

Want to see how proper decorating is done? The Houston Design Center has come to the rescue with its annual Deck the Tables competition, where showrooms set up their holiday best so that you could learn tips from the pros. 

MCA Systems showroom table, designed by Mickey Bufalini and the Collaborative Design Group, keeps it simple and sassy with pops of red, a hint of animal print and classic Christmas-themed dinnerware.

Design House, Inc. converted an entire room into a holiday entertaining scene, with a tablescape that mixes rough metallics and clean crystal, antique and modern, offset by plenty of greenery. 

A word from the wise: A little bit of sparkle makes a big difference. 

Owner Connie LeFevre headed up the design team, made up of Stephanie Dobbs, Jeanne Durr, Jennifer Renner, Jin Lee Bang and Ashley Henry Wynne.

This design by the Charles Ray Design Team  of Jenny Frost, Donna Mark and Cathleen Williams takes holiday celebrations to the coast. 

Try juxtaposing natural materials — like found seashells and rough burlap — with your fine china and heirloom silver for a beach-appropriate table setting. 

Sister design team Saba and Sarah Jawda created this table for the Randall Edward showroom. 

The cowhide table top provides a little bit of country rustic to counter the formal Baccarat crystal. 

Ken Kehoe's design in the Ken Kehoe & Co. showroom allows for intimate conversation: Low-profile decorations, glowing candles, no-frills tableware and thoughtful take-home gifts for each guest make the tablescape complete. 

This table by Ashley Tisius and Laura Timanus-Littton of Jane Page Design Group at the Charlotte Nail showroom is all antique glitz and grandeur. 

Manchester Carpet kept its setting kid-friendly with a collection of painted nutcrackers and a tabletop Christmas tree. 

Peggy McGowen and Micqui McGowen of Kitchen and Bath Concepts mixed citrus and pine for a fragrant centerpiece. 

Who needs napkin rings when you've got a spool of raffia or twine? 

The staff at the Bunch & Shoemaker showroom showed that it's easy to make your everyday plants holiday-appropriate by adding ornaments and glitter. 

Teri Pugh and Regina Gust eschewed the typical Christmas colors for their tabletop in Teri Pugh Designs' showroom, opting instead for an oeuvre in orange.

The Leisure Collections tabletop showcases a design appropriate for an outdoor feast.  

Dauphin Sales commissioned Lilly Powell and the Lone Star College Design Team for its tabletop, which brightens a winter-appropriate bronze with hints of spring green.

Deep red roses and fine Christofle flatware define this romantic dinner table by Julie Dodson for Thorntree Slate & Marble.

Deborah Elias had a hand in this whimsical design for the Bunch & Shoemaker showroom, which is warmed by painted Bernardaud china.

But even if the table setting of your dreams doesn't come together at crunch time, Solo cups and a simple cut-paper centerpiece will do, like this spoof at the Randall Edward showroom. 

The holidays are all about family and friends, after all.