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When it comes to decorating a dining table I’ve always stuck to a simple formula. One thing in the center of the table.

Sometimes it’s a large platter. Sometimes it’s a simple candle. Sometimes it’s a huge clam shell (which by now you’ve probably noticed is our new kitchen’s fruit bowl). I guess I never really thought about my table decorating technique until I started seeing cute little dining table vignettes in every publication from Domino to Pottery Barn. You know what I’m talking about, those perfectly asymmetrical arrangements with some plates and a cup full or spoons- or a casual stack of napkins and a collection of glasses.

Well, I never thought I could pull of such a breezy “accidental” look, but when I actually thought about it there was nothing particularly difficult about the execution. So yesterday morning when my momma-in-law and I went on a mini-shipping spree, I decided to recreate the look on a budget. First we hit up Target, where I grabbed a $14 linen runner that’s identical to a spendier version I saw at Pottery Barn a few weeks ago. Next we ventured into Sur La Table, where I enthusiastically snatched up some gorgeous beachy glasses with woven straw sleeves (that slide off for easy dishwashing). Did I mention the glasses were originally $5.99 each but I got 6 of them for $12 since they were on sale for $1.99? Go team! Then I picked up two glass Pellegrino bottles at the grocery store for around $3.

So for less than 30 beans (plus an old vase, some free backyard greenery, and three mercury candle holders I already had) I ended up with this:

Dining Table

What do you think? I love it because it just seems so fresh and unexpected, especially to a girl who used to have a bare table with one measly candle in the middle.

I’m sure most of you already have everything you need to create this look for absolutely nothing. Try a stack of plates with some linen napkins, or a bottle of wine with some wine glasses and a bowl of apples. I even think a few bottles of Tang would be super cute grouped with some glassware and a few branches from outside in a vase (or even a ceramic pitcher). So go ahead and make a little vignette of your own. But don’t forget to send us the pics!


  1. says

    I like it!
    We have done the “accidental” arrangement for a while since the peanut butter jar MUST live on the table. So, it found a nice basket to live with the honey in. And the pepper grinder found a home beside the basket. Not as cute as yours, but still accidental!

  2. YoungHouseLove says

    Mmmmm, peanut butter. I’ll have to work that into my arrangement as well. A table just isn’t complete without it. Thanks for the cute story, and I’m glad to hear someone else is into “accidental” decorating!


  3. Janelle says

    I love all those dining table vignettes I see in magazines and websites, and yours is super cute! Ever since I moved into the new house that my fiance and I bought a couple months ago, I’ve been trying to figure out how I can pull off something like this. My biggest problem though, is that our dining room table tends to double as a computer/catch all desk, since we don’t have any sort of office space set up. But thanks for your great ideas, I absolutely love your blog!

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