Our Favorite Go-To Tabletop Accessories

We actually get this question pretty often so we thought it was about time that we broke down what home decor objects we find ourselves grabbing all the time when it comes to adding style to a dining or console table and even a fireplace mantel or the kitchen counter. So without further ado, a roundup of foolproof tabletop classics:

1. A cake stand. This handy accessory can be used to create charming dining centerpieces (topped with everything from fruit to holiday decor) or even a sweet display on your kitchen counter (with fresh cupcakes or even a collection of ceramic faux fruit).

Find it on the cheap at: Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Target, World Market and HomeGoods.

2. Vase filler. We like to think outside the potpurri or polished stones box for this category. Some of our favorite vase fillers around here are collected matchbooks from restaurants we’ve enjoyed, wine corks that provide some nice neutral texture, woven orbs that we snagged at Target for less than $4, some simple brown rice with a nice pillar candle in the middle, and even ornaments for some seasonal bling.

Find it on the cheap at: well, matchbooks can hail from restaurants (for free) while wine corks can be collected at home (or by friends and family members- my mom and a good friend are our best “suppliers”- again for free). You can also try places like Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Target, and HomeGoods for woven orbs and other decorative vase filling options.

3. Glass cylinder vases. We love loading them up with all of our favorite vase fillers above. We discovered they were amazingly diverse after we grabbed a bunch at Michael’s for our backyard wedding (and kept dragging them out of storage to display other collections over the years).

Find them on the cheap at: Michael’s, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Target, HomeGoods, garage sales and thrift stores.

4. Glass hurricanes. These are another staple when it comes to adding some height, texture, and gleaming airy style to any surface (from the console table near the front door to our dining table and beyond).

Find it on the cheap at: Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Target, HomeGoods and Walmart.

5. A decorative storage box. Be it lacquered or even white cardboard from Ikea, these babies are super versatile and functional (they can keep anything from receipts to TV remotes out of sight).

Find it on the cheap at: Ikea, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Target, HomeGoods, West Elm and Crate & Barrel.

6. Sleek white planters. We have a bunch of them from Ikea all over our house, and at just a dollar a pop they’re definitely a huge bang for your buck. Nothing makes a room feel fresher than a nice green plant in a sleek white goes-with-anything planter. And the subtle striped and petaled detailing that Ikea adds is the icing on the cake.

Find it on the cheap at: Ikea, Target, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, and HomeGoods.

7. A small colorful vase. We have a pink one from Crate & Barrel that looks amazing with backyard blooms (especially anything in the white or pink category) and we also grabbed a similar light green one and a light pink one at Ikea, which even work when it comes to setting the table with style.

Find it on the cheap at: Crate & Barrel, Ikea, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Target, HomeGoods, Walmart, Pier1, World Market, garage sales and thrift stores.

8. Ceramic animals. Ok, so this is definitely in the quirky category, but I adore some tabletop interest in the form of sleek white creatures like birds, horses, and even rhinos.

Find it on the cheap at: Z Gallerie, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Target, HomeGoods, garage sales, eBay, Craigslist, and thrift stores (you can even spray paint them white if they don’t originally come that way).

9. Decorative cups, mugs, or planters. We use these to store everything from pens on our desk to cotton balls in the bathroom.

Find it on the cheap at: Target, Ikea, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Target, HomeGoods, West Elm, Crate & Barrel, World Market and Pier 1.

10. Lidded glass jars. Whether they’re full of clothespins in our laundry nook or vacation momentos in our sunroom, glass jars of all sizes are super affordable and perfect for displaying everyday items in a fresh and polished way.

Find it on the cheap at: Target, Michael’s, Walmart, eBay, garage sales and thrift stores.

11. Green wine bottles & colorful vases. We love recycling wine and Pellegrino bottles to create free green vases which we mix with a few blue glass vases and votives on a tray to create a grouping that’s cheap and easy- but looks like stunning 3-D stained glass.

Find it on the cheap at: well, the wine bottles come free with the purchase of wine (and can even be hunted down at a local wine store that does tastings- they’re usually happy to dole out their empties on the house). The colorful glass vases can be found everywhere from Target, Marshall’s, and HomeGoods to TJ Maxx, Ikea, Pier 1 and Crate & Barrel.

12. Stacks of hardcover books. Just take off the plastic-y paper covers and let those pretty fabric spines steal the show.

Find it on the cheap at: Barnes & Noble’s clearance section, a used book store, garage sales, thrift stores, eBay and amazon.com.

13. Textured candle holders. We adore this lotus flower ceramic version that we grabbed for just a few bucks at HomeGoods and the mercury glass ZGallerie guys that we also picked up on the cheap.

Find it on the cheap at: ZGallerie, Pier 1, HomeGoods, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Target, Walmart, thrift stores and garage sales.

14. Fabric runners. We love breaking up all the wood in our rectangular dining table with this dead ringer for a pricey Potter Barn version (we snagged ours for less than $9 at Target). And two colorful runners displayed in the opposite direction are always fun too. We even use swatches of rough burlap fabric (no sewing required) when it comes to accessorizing our console table for everything from Thanksgiving to Halloween.

Find it on the cheap at: Target, fabric stores, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, World Market, Walmart, HomeGoods and garage sales.

15. Candlesticks of all varieties. From white ceramic lovelies and clear crystal ones to mercury glass versions we’re all about having a slew of candlesticks on hand. They always look pretty en masse on a dining table- or even a coffee table- and they can also serve as seasonal decor for Christmas (just pop some ornaments on top in lieu of candles) or Halloween (melt red candle wax down white taper candles a la Martha Stewart for a goulish & bloody effect).

Find it on the cheap at: Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Target, HomeGoods, Z Gallerie, eBay, thrift stores and garage sales.

16. Faux shells. From the jumbo fake clam shell that we use as a fruit bowl in the kitchen to the smaller faux versions where we store jewelry or bathroom accessories, we just can’t get enough of this beachy look. And of course we love light and airy capiz shell frames and even a few other shell varieties to serve as everything from book ends to side table accessories.

Find it on the cheap at: Z Gallerie, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Target, eBay, Kohl’s and HomeGoods.

17. Something personal. We love wood block printing letters like these, or even an initial leaning against a window ledge for interest in a space

Find it on the cheap at: flea markets (where we got our wood block letters), Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Target, HomeGoods, Crate & Barrel, Anthropologie and Pottery Barn (where we picked up our P).

So that’s a little roundup of our favorite go-to tabletop accessories. But what about you guys? Do you have any others on your must-have list?



Wedding Week III: Celebrating Our Third

As wedding week comes to a close, we’ll wrap up with the as-promised details of how we honored this year’s anniversary, including where we went, what we ate, what we gifted each other, and how we added to our collection of sweet mementos around the house.

First, we’re all about checking off some of photographic traditions of the day. Wednesday afternoon we took a trip down to Richmond’s Carytown district to pay a visit to our go-to photo booth at the New York Deli. It was Clara’s first photo booth experience and she loved it so much that we couldn’t resist grabbing a second strip. And now they both live on a shelf in our dining area with all of our other strips from big days gone by (which we shared in Wednesday’s post).

One thing we forgot to show you on Wednesday is that we have another collection of anniversary photos in our bedroom. On the ottoman near the mirror, we’ve got small framed pictures that we took on our last two anniversaries (we plan to add one each year – eventually moving the collection to a wall somewhere). In the left photo (our first anniversary) you can even see us holding the cupcakes that we froze from our wedding day to be eaten 365 days later, they were actually pretty good.

So to continue the anniversary “portrait” tradition, once we got home from our photo strip session we braved the heat to snap a few pics in the backyard – with Clara being an important addition to this year’s documentation (thanks to a tripod and the auto timer button on our new camera).

We especially enjoyed taking this one with the arch that we got married under in the foreground.

After that it was time for the all important anniversary meal. Since we had already recreated our wedding menu for year #1 and dined at our rehearsal dinner spot for year #2 (learn more about those adventures here) we decided to honor our Alaskan honeymoon this year by making some sort of salmon dish. And since I’m in the midst of cooking my way through Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution (Sherry calls it my Johnny & Jamie project a la Julie & Julia) we plucked out a salmon stir-fry recipe that, despite Kroger not having all the right ingredients, turned out quite well. Yum.

Then after dinner (with Clara off to sleep) it was present time. Even though third year gifts are traditionally supposed to be leather, Sherry and I broke tradition and coincidentally each went the art route. She had 12″ x 12″ enlargements printed of two of our favorite pics of Clara from her newborn photoshoot with our friend Dana Duncan and hung them in our bedroom in inexpensive Ikea frames to surprise me (where one of our botanical prints had previously hung). I love that we can now admire our little girl even when she’s sleeping in her nursery across the hall – plus we couldn’t have planned our outfits better (they coincidentally match the color scheme in there perfectly). See the full sized pictures here and here.

And when it came to my gift for Sherry, I knew that we’d soon have a need for lots of postcard-sized art, so I channeled my inner graph nerd to make her a geeky-sweet representation of all of the things that Sherry has meant to me over the nearly six years that we’ve known each other (and the five that we’ve been dating/betrothed/married). I got to work in a lot of sweet things (like how we went from single people to a family of four) as well as a lot of humorous stuff (like the brief time I thought Sherry’s name might be Heather, how she’s always been the passenger in our relationship since she rarely drives, and how I’ve known her as everything from a fish mom to an actual baby momma.

The gift exchange pretty much wrapped up 7/7/10 for us, but it wasn’t the end of our anniversary festivities. We had planned a day-trip too, but with the triple-digit temperatures (insane) we decided to postpone our travel until yesterday when the heat dropped about ten degrees (you know, because the 90’s is sooo much cooler than 104).

So yesterday we hopped in the car and headed west to Charlottesville, VA. Why there? It’d put us at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, just about 30 minutes from where we got engaged. In fact, we actually spent most of the day just outside of C-ville driving on the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway to soak up the view and tell Clara all about the fun adventures that predated her much-anticipated arrival (being mathy I’m good at recalling where we were and what we did on specific days, so there were a lot of “three years ago on this exact day we were…” conversations). Oh the memories.

We also stopped for lunch near the base of the mountains at the Blue Mountain Brewery. Yes, it’s odd that two non-drinking baby-wearing people would choose a brewery to celebrate, but we had heard good things about its picturesque setting and delicious food. Plus they consider themselves to be a “green” business (we happily counted at least three rain barrels when we arrived) so that always makes us happy to show our support. And although we didn’t head there expecting to see anything home related, as soon as we pulled up Sherry was raving about their deep bronze-toned metal roof. We’d love to have one someday… if they weren’t so darned expensive.

Inside the meal was simple, but delicious (and made from local ingredients). Plus I had the pleasure of rocking my Ergo carrier throughout.

Heck, if you can’t enjoy the view of the mountains – this one isn’t a bad substitute, eh? Clara’s like the seven dwarfs these days (sleepy, happy, bashful, and even occasionally grumpy). Here are just a small sampling of the faces I was getting throughout the meal.

After our second tasty anniversary meal we stopped at my alma mater (to get Clara her first UVA onesie, of course) and then we headed back home to call an official end to the extended anniversary festivities. Well, that is until this morning when we made one last nod to our lemon-&-lime themed wedding with Clara’s eight week photo. She’s such a good sport.

Thanks again for celebrating wedding week with us this year! It’s always fun to take a slight detour and look to relationships & the celebrations that accompany them for DIY and design inspiration. We’ll be back on Monday with our regularly scheduled programming, so until next year we hope everyone enjoys celebrating their own anniversaries and all of those other heart-warming milestones over the next twelve months!

Psst- Clamoring for more Clara? She doesn’t usually hang out on the blog all that much, so just click the sidebar button with her cute mug on it for tons of regularly uploaded photos of Baby P!