Burning Question: It’s A Set Up?

Does a perpetually set dining table look fabulous or forced? Magazines and catalogs often feature fantastic dining rooms with sparkling settings- even with no one around to put them to good use. But in everyday life, does an always-set dining room table look sophisticated and coordinated or just plan strange when no one’s about to chow down?


  1. says

    It looks nice for pictures but it just collects dust if left there and is made unusable by the time you WANT to use them. It kind of reminds me of people who have rooms in their house that no one is allowed to use.

    p.s: this is my first comment on this blog although I’ve been reading for a while now. I love it, and look forward to your updates!

  2. says

    I agree that it looks lovely in the pages of a magazine, but I think it’s kind of strange to keep it that way at home. Nice to have the table set when dinner guests arrive though. I like what ya’ll have on your dining room table!

  3. Kimberly says

    In theory it’s a very elegant idea…but I agree with Kaylene and the dust collection, and I would go so far as to say it would seem strange. I’m used to setting the table when I need it, so having the dishes sitting out all the time and waiting might be a tad creepy even, like they are watching me…oh dear, that sounds crazy.

  4. Leigh says

    It’s great for pictures. I agree with the dust though. Also, my cat would knock stuff over. Not very practical for every day living.

  5. says

    If I HAD a dining room…

    I think in a kitchen it might be nice to keep it set with nice chunky stoneware dishes… that you just use every meal and replace after dinner. It might help dress up an otherwise bland kitchen table without piling the middle with stuff!

  6. underwood-dc says

    Just plain strange when no one’s about to chow down. Its good for the magazines. In real life, not so much.

  7. Kelli says

    I agree with the masses and think it’s strange. When I’ve tried to come up with some sort of setting in the past, it never looked as good as catalogs, anyway. But I like yours. It’s just enough to make it look dressed, but in a non-cluttered, casual way.

  8. Alyssa says

    I like to keep mine set {nothing fancy, just everyday white dishes & glassware} It keeps clutter & junk from piling up on a big empty surface.

  9. Anna says

    I agree with (mostly) everyone that it looks weird in real life, akin to a bowl of wax fruit.
    BUT I will also say that I’m not a fan of it in magazines. Actually, I can’t say that I see full-on table settings in decor magazines too frequently. In the more casual mags, sometimes they’ll have the lady of the house walking towards the table with a stack of plates, smiling back at her hubby in the kitchen. And then of course the food magazines have table settings filled with with food, and usually surrounded by people. But a full table setting without people or food or any kind of action just looks like a china advertisement, in my opinion.

  10. says

    I keep mine set all the time. At holidays I break out the holiday plates and settings, which is really fun. Also, it’s a great way to keep clutter from gathering on the table. :)

  11. YoungHouseLove says

    Thanks for sounding off everyone! We think it’s really interesting to get your feedback and plan to make Burning Questions a regular feature.

    Good point about the dishes collecting dust, and good counterpoint about keeping other clutter off the table by using dishware!

    Oh and LJT, I’m hopelessly in love with the dishes too, but unfortunately have no idea where they’re from. Maybe that issue of House Beautiful has the details? If you follow the link at the bottom of the post, it’ll tell you the issue and all that jazz. Hope it helps!

    Anyway, thanks again for all the food for thought, guys. And stay tuned for our next Burning Question…


  12. says

    I like the look of a beautifully-set table, but for the everyday, a constantly set table is a bit over the top. Of course, I’m also looking at this question from the perspective of a mother with an active toddler who can reach items near the edge of the table… I’d hate for all of my beautiful china and silverware to end up in a broken heap on the floor!

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