Well, it's winter. But winter doesn't have to be dreary, and often during this no-holiday time of year, people enjoy lifting their spirits by entertaining. In winter, we tend to do things a little more formally, so let's explore how to decorate a dining table in a wintery, formal way.

Well, it's winter. But winter doesn't have to be dreary, and often during this no-holiday time of year, people enjoy lifting their spirits by entertaining.

In winter, we tend to do things a little more formally, so let's explore how to decorate a dining table in a wintery, formal way.

High style and chic are good descriptions of what you should try to achieve. Starting with the tablecloth, a good choice is white as a base. Layering with a solid color that complements your tableware gives a great start to a warm, inviting and elegant look.

As for napkins, a pattern that complements the solid color is a good choice. You can also have double napkins with the printed one showing on the outside and a solid to match the tablecloth tucked inside the printed one. Do you prefer all-white? Great idea. Use silver napkin rings to add to the motif.

The napkins themselves can serve as decoration. Search online or go to the library for a book on napkin folding. You will be amazed at the many decorative ways a napkin can be folded. And that detail alone will make a great impression on guests as they will know you put extra care into adorning the table.

The center of the table should be the highlight of the decor. A floral arrangement surrounded by candles works perfectly. Some good wintry florals include calla lilies, white carnations and white roses. Purchasing an arrangement from a florist is the easiest way to go, but you can do it yourself using a glass or crystal vase filled with clear or white pebbles. Fill the vase with water and arrange the flowers. Place a few pinecones around the base, and there you have it.

You know those extra-large plates that are put under the dining plate? They are called chargers. Their purpose is mostly decorative. For a wintery setting, use mirrored chargers under dinner plates.

For a little added sparkle, consider scattering silver glitter around the table. Star shapes are good. OK, so cleaning up will be a bit more intensive, but the table will look quite wintery during dinner.

You might consider placing candles on little mirror stands. This way, when you light them, the mirrors help reflect the light, and as the candles flicker, light will bounce softly around the dining room, enhancing the elegant atmosphere.
    
Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, Fla., is author of "Mystery of Color." For design inquiries, write to Rosemary at DsgnQuest@aol.com.