Christmas table setting with Terri Winter from top3 by design


Just like that another Christmas has snuck up on us. With the countdown now on it is well and truly time to start preparing. Sourcing the perfect gifts, cleaning the house, planning a meal; while Christmas is a time for meaningful connection with our loved ones, it can quickly become overwhelming with so much to do.

We can help you with at least one task on your list, possibly two. Terri Winter, founder of retail concept store top3 by design, is no stranger to setting a beautiful, thoughtful table.  We caught up with Terri ahead of a Christmas Table Styling Workshop she ran at the Canberra Centre to chat Christmas, styling and her favourite pieces at top3.


Leiden: What do you love most about this time of year?

Terri: I love getting into the spirit of Christmas — not in a chintzy ‘American movie’ kind of way but making the table special for lunches or dinners. Getting together with friends and family is the most enjoyable part of Christmas. Taking some care with setting the table sets the tone for your get-together and shows your guests that you value the time they are spending with you. A great table enhances the entire dining experience. It does not have to be super fancy — just really well considered. A well-set table turns eating into an event.

Obviously, this time of year is also about giving. I want everyone to buy better. To be really thoughtful about their purchases. My mission is to eradicate bad gift giving!

When people experience the joy of giving a great gift, they will realise it can be even better than receiving a gift. I love helping people become great gift givers.


L: Can you tell us a little about the three different table settings you put together at the workshop?

T: We are looking at three distinctly different styles to show what a difference the details can make to the overall experience.

  1. Your more glamourous Christmas table look, the perfect table for the traditional roast — but with a modern twist
  2. A really unexpected colour palette for a contemporary table
  3. A Nordic meets Australia Christmas table, ideal with an Australian Seafood feast.



L: What advice do you have for someone who might be hosting Christmas for the first time?

T: Know your menu first, the menu will need to work with the table theme. A light and bright whites, silvers and blues table won’t work well with a traditional roast Christmas dinner, it is better suited to an Australian Seafood Christmas. Add flowers or branches. Even just small ones for your garden.


L: Should people be looking to invest in pieces they can use all year round rather than specifically for Christmas? Do you have any tips for making use of objects and pieces you already own or incorporating something you might put out at Christmas at other times?

T: I am a huge believer in buying once and buying right. I think your purchases should certainly work at other times of year. You just might not always put them together that way the rest of the year, but I don’t see the point in purchasing little bits of junk to decorate and then throw it away. Classic pieces can be used on many occasions.

Perhaps a special purchase of table mats would be your investment for Christmas, or special occasions — they dictate the mood. Adding some metallic silver or gold (which you might normally never use) will set your Christmas tone.


L: What are your favourite pieces available at top3 by Design at the moment?

T: It is always super difficult for me to choose favourites, I spend a lot of time curating our collection at top3, and I am fond of all the pieces for different reasons.

The Menu Carrie Lamp (which is on the front cover of our new Summer magazine) has been in the collection and is still a favourite, along with Lumio Rechargeable lights. The magic of those lights never dims for me. The Danish Fuel Bar cabinet is my Christmas wish gift this year. I have been working out the right place for it and I think it is time for it to come home.

The Basil Bangs collection is really strong this year, some beautiful designs to hit the beach.


  • Menu Carrie Lamp
  • Basil Bangs
  • Danish Fuel Bar Cabinet
  • Lumio Lamp


Emma Batchelor

Emma Batchelor

As well as a near obsessive interest in fashion, Emma is a former scientist, occasional contemporary dancer, avid reader and self-confessed cat lady (she has three). Emma lived in Leiden in the Netherlands as a baby and Leiden ought to have been her middle name had her mother thought of it at the time and not chosen Louise instead.

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