Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Setting a Simple Thrifty yet Pretty Table

It is wonderful that there is so much inspiration for setting pretty tables on the internet these days, however, it can also be a bit intimidating.  And that goes double for those who are not born tablescapers.

There are many out there who want to have friends over for dinner and gather round a pretty table but because they are overwhelmed by the thought of tablescaping, they either don't invite or don't pay attention to any table décor.
I know some of my friends and family have a great deal of angst when inviting me over for a meal.  By no means, do I expect a full blown tablescape at someone's home when that is not their passion but they fret about it! 

With this post however, I hope to show that anyone can set a simple pretty table on a tight budget. 
First step is rounding up the basics.
An inexpensive white tablecloth is an important start to setting your table.
(this one is from Walmart for $10)
(60" x 84" is best size for regular table without leaves)
(White goes with all colours/patterns of dishes)
Next, hit your nearest thrift store or garage sale looking for something like these type of vases.
These candleholders are from the Dollar Store but you might also pick some up wherever you find the vases.
Dollar Stores also have a budget-friendly assortment of faux florals like this forsythia at $1.25 a branch.
Head to the candle aisle at the DS as well and grab a bag of these unscented tealights.
At the grocery store, I picked up a large package of these plain white paper napkins.
A medium sized basket of any type will come in handy for storing all of the above items in one place.
Then you will always be ready to set the table at a moment's notice.
Now, I'll show you how to use the items you've organized in your basket.
First, the hardest but most important step - you must iron your tablecloth.  I know it's a pain but this is the backdrop for your meal and wrinkles (especially brand-new out of the package ones) are not allowed.
After that's done, it's super easy from there!
Use your everyday plates and cutlery unless you have something more special you'd like to try. 
No need for charger plates or placemats unless you want them.
Forks on the left, knife & spoon on the right. I folded the paper napkin diagonally under the fork. Paper napkins keep things simpler than using cloth ones as you don't have to launder them. I opted for white but there are lots of colourful paper ones on the market now.
Basic wine glasses are placed to the right, just above the knife and spoon. You don't need to worry about a red vs white wine glass or the need to have both on the table.
Place the thrift store vases down the center of the table as a start to the centerpiece. No need for a table runner as we are keeping it simple.
Cut the forsythia (or faux floral stem) into smaller pieces.
Place each separate stem in the vase ensuring that they are not too tall and that sight lines are kept clear from obstruction.
Next, place the candleholders with tealights in between the vases.
Don't forget to light the tealights once your guests arrive.
And there you have a simple, pretty and thrifty centerpiece for your table.
I would be very pleased to be seated at this simple yet pretty table!
 For those who like to place the food dishes on the table, this type of table setting allows lots of room.
Here's another take on this look - place the candleholders by each place setting and use different florals in just three vases.
The moral of this post is that anyone can set a pretty table with just a few low-cost items in a matter of minutes. 
 Don't feel intimidated anymore - Now you know the basics, you can do it!
Give it a try - you might even enjoy it...but watch out then...!
Thanks for visiting!
I'll be linking this post to these wonderful blog parties:
Saturday Sparks on Pieced Pastimes
Sunday Showcase at Under the Table & Dreaming
Amaze Me Mondays at Dwellings
Show & Share at Coastal Charm
The Scoop at Stone Gable
Inspire Me Tuesdays at A Stroll Thru Life
Tuesday at Our Home at Our Home Away From Home
Tutorials & Tips at Home Stories A to Z
Talented Tuesdays at Home Remedies
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
Swing into Spring at DIY by Design
Share Your Style at Common Ground
What's It Wednesdays at Ivy & Elephants
Thursday Favorite Things at Surroundings by Debi
Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch
Grace at Home at Imparting Grace
Inspiration Gallery at Craftberry Bush
Creative Ways at Posed Perfection
Foodie Friday & Everything Else at Rattlebridge Farm
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Weekend Retreat at AKA Design
Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home


  1. This was good instructions........
    and I so agree anyone can set a pretty
    table, and even if they don't have
    dishes that they like, there are so
    many pretty paper goods out there as
    well. I just love the dollar store and
    I have bought so many items like glass
    candleholders and candles and glasses,you never know what kind of fun things
    you will find there, and they have all
    different colors of napkins too.
    It is a fun treasure hunt going there.
    Hope this inspires others to try to do a tablescape if they have never
    tried it.
    Blessings, Nellie

  2. I love this post...and you have done a beautiful job.
    I, too, love a pretty table but we are a very laid-back family and it's so large, we generally like using cute paper products...
    I have several the..and lots of place mats that are fun to use. Many I have picked up at thrift stores for pennies.
    I love the Dollar Tree..and will get some of the little vases..great idea for a quick fix.

  3. Bravo Lori, Beautifully said and beautifully done. The fresh look of the forsythia branches in simple glass vases with the tea lights is a pretty way to create a special table for any occasion. Clean fresh linens, sparkling glasses and flatware, good food and good conversation is an excellent recipe for a lovely dinner party.

  4. I love it because it's so simple, but at the same time elegant. Thank you for your great ideas. Like I have said in the past I always look through and love your ideas and just go and try to duplicate. I try to give kudos to you every time. And the best part is that I have all the items already. :)

  5. Beautiful and classic table. Love it!

  6. This is so helpful! I'm usually to focused on what I am going to serve to think about setting the table beautifully. A basket is a great idea! Then my kids could even do the rest!

  7. Hey pretty Lori! Thanks for the tutorial as you are one of the best tablescapers in blog land as I even copied you, lol!
    Love the basket and trays are such great items, they always set such a statement. We're just four so I'm using a Polish dinnerware my mom gifted me a few years ago. I'm pinning.
    Happy Mother's Day.

  8. Simple and pretty, I love it!

  9. Thanks for these great tips! I saw your post over at Ivy and Elephants blog party.

  10. Love it! Thanks for sharing at Thursday Favorite Things!

  11. It is all so pretty and thrifty too. Love it! Hugs P.S. I hope you will stop by and share at the Thursday favorite Things blog hop ( you can link up tonight through Sat at midnight)

  12. You definitely know how to set a table, Lori! Thank you so much for sharing your tips (and talents) at Talented Tuesday - I'm featuring this lovely post at tomorrows party! Please stop by and grab a "feature" button!

  13. Beautiful table setting! And great tips for frugal living :) Hope you come back again for Talented Tuesday!

  14. Beautiful! Love the pops of yellow! Great tips too... Would love it if you shared it at our party on my blog please, Lori! Happy long weekend!
    Kendra @


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