A prettily set table can help family and friends feel welcomed and honored. But how do we do this without it taking too much time or costing a lot? I have set so many tables through the years and hope one or two of these ideas will work for you.
Use fruit or vegetables: The vibrant colors and textures of fruit and vegetables add so much interest to the table and can be cooked after the meal so there is no wastage. A display of fruit down the center of the table keeps the decor low so guests can easily chat across the table. I like to coordinate the fruit with a matching napkin. I used lemons and lemon leaves plus beautiful lemon napkins for this simple table setting.
Check out my blog Simple, Special and Spectacular that is filled with ideas of how to use lemons!
Add fruit or vegetables into a flower arrangement: By adding a surprise element into an arrangement, you increase the fun, whimsy and creativity of the table decor. I have pushed chopsticks into lemons and placed them into the vase along with the flowers. Pomegranates look spectacular in a fall arrangement. You can leave some whole and split some so that the beautiful seeds can be shown. Make sure to place the arrangement on a tray in case the pomegranates leak as they will stain.
Use leaves from your garden: This may sound strange but you can make a fun centerpiece with simple leaves! Use fall leaves and scatter them down the center of the table when you are serving a warm soup during autumn. Add twigs and leaves for a fresh, spring look. Or line a bowl with a leaf for a novel candle holder. I was staying with a friend and helped her by setting the dinner table. I picked nasturtiam leaves from her garden, placed them in small bowls and added tiny tea light candles. I put a few nasturtiums in a small vase, added bright orange glasses I found in her cupboard and the table looked stunning. If you don’t have orange glasses, you can add some bright orange napkins to add more color.
Use plants from your garden- you can temporarily transplant a small plant or herb into a suitable container that will match your theme and add it to the table. When i have been hosting a special event, I have purchased the suitable plant and then added it to my garden once the event was over. I used these cute little olive trees for a Tuscan themed dinner. I added some Italian food items from my pantry to give a little more interest.
The photo at the top of the blog shows pots of herbs that I used for another Italian themed dinner.
Use kitchen items: You don’t need to own fancy vases or decor to make an attractive table centerpiece. I added fresh herbs to a green colander and had the plants “spill out” onto the table. I added one of my favorite decorating items which is my little string of battery operated LED lights. I use them over and over. You can use casserole dishes, tea cups, glass jars, baskets, etc as containers for flowers and as decor.
Use household items: I love taking everyday objects such as books, little boxes, jugs, paintings hanging on my walls, groceries and many other items to use as a display. Decide on a theme and then walk around your home with new eyes. You will be amazed at what you find!
Check out my blog on How to Use a Theme for Table Decor and 10 Tips for Choosing a Theme and you will get lots of new ideas. I encouraged my young friend to set the table with an Asian theme when I was preparing Asian food for the family who was hosting us. She made a beautiful table setting using items she found in their home.
Collect interesting napkins/serviettes: I don’t think there is anything that is as quick and effective as using napkins to make a table setting look stunning.
Check out 10 Uses for Napkins (other than wiping your mouth) and Setting a Surprise 6 Minute Christmas Table for inspiration.
Your table runner can be creative: The normal table runner is made of fabric. But your’s doesn’t need to be! Try rolling out wrapping paper, aluminum foil or brown paper. Use mirrors, tiles (I have even used tiles upside down for a different effect). wooden cutting boards, scarves and shawls! You will be amazed to see how many different options there are when you just start looking at things a different way!
Check out my Quick New Year’s Eve Table Setting to see how I used the aluminum foil!
Start small: You can begin with one small idea and as your confidence and interest grows, you can stretch and try more ideas. The most important thing is that we all keep opening our hearts and homes to others. If you haven’t signed on for our Heartistry newsletter, please do so and you will will receive a free copy of my e-booklet 10 Steps to Set a Simple Table.