Ever since DIY styled their way through our home we’ve been super excited to rearrange our own pieces (many of which used to spend most of their time tucked away in our cabinets) to refresh every shelf, side table, and bookcase in our house. But why stop at those surfaces when we can play around with place settings? And thanks to the abundance of flowers and produce leftover from the shoot, I was able to whip up a few fun and festive table setting scenarios with everyday objects that I already had around the house. All in under five minutes per place setting. I couldn’t believe how easy and fun it was- as evidenced by the fact that this post was originally going to be about three place setting ideas and I just couldn’t stop myself…
First I pulled out my basic white plates and bowls (John and I aren’t fancy china people, we just have one simple white set of dishware that we use for everything from Domino’s pizza to fancy anniversary dinners). Then for some added color I brought out some green fabric napkins.
I also added our stemless wine glasses to keep the whole table feeling swanky and low profile, and kept the centerpiece simple to work with the casual green & white theme. I also grabbed two little green bowls and added an apple inside each one for interest. Then I pulled out four artichokes (also leftover from the DIY shoot) and popped them each into a bowl with a handwritten card stock name tag slipped under one of the artichoke’s spiky-thingies (I believe that’s the scientific term). Voila, a sweet and simple table setting with a bit of unexpected charm (thanks to the place-card wielding artichokes). And a little grocery store bouquet, two apples, and four artichokes is all it takes to recreate this entire setting in your home.
My next tablescape was a bit more flower focused. I created three different bouquets (all in different shades of pink) and actually used three different vases for a mixed & matched feel (well one was a candle holder, one was a mercury glass cup, and the third was an actual vase). Then I filled two of my old collected wine bottles with water (but wine would really do the trick- even lemon or cucumber flavored water to be fancy). Out came the green ceramic bowls again (for serving fruit or salad) and our cute lemon & lime paper napkins (still leftover from our 7/7/07 wedding) added some more interest and color. Again I chose my stemless wine glasses which almost disappear, and also grabbed two pink and two yellow vases (picked up at Ikea a few weeks back) and placed them on each plate with a single bloom in the center. I imagined that these would make nice favors that you could send home with guests at the end of the night. Cute, right? And all you’ll need to recreate this look is a few old wine bottles (cleaned and de-labeled), a few small bouquets of flowers, and some tiny cheap-o vases (that don’t even have to match).
My next setting was more on the natural side. Three of my favorite succulents (they’re called Burro Tails) lined the table and out came the recycled wine bottles again. Then I added some cute little drinking glasses with natural woven sleeves and dug four corks out of a glass jar in the kitchen (we’ve slowly amassed a little collection). I then stood each cork on its end and cut a horizontal slit in the top of each one just deep enough to slip a tiny piece of card stock that served as a place card. White fabric napkins finished the natural and clean look. And all you need to recreate this look is the aforementioned recycled wine bottles, a few corks, and some house plants to repurpose as centerpieces for the day. Oh and the woven cups are extra credit.
After such a low key and natural setting I wanted to kick things up a notch and do something extra sparkly, so I basically just pulled out all the candles I could find and used a hurricane that usually lives on the den’s mantel as the centerpiece. Some coral and a ceramic flower tea light holder added a bit of interest and I actually pulled out our regular drinking glasses and repurposed our stemless wine glasses as candle holders on each plate. Again these could be cute little favors (any type of candle holder with a tea light in it would make a great little gift) and this entire look can be yours for next to nothing (assuming you have a bunch of mismatched candles in your home already- and maybe even a few other white ceramic objects for added dimension).
After my white on white scheme I was itching to inject a little more color again. So I stuck a simple bouquet into a glass cup, threw out a few lemons and limes for casual charm, and whipped out some Pellegrino along with my recycled wine bottles and a few other smaller glass bottles that I happened to have lying around. All that green glass paired with the lemons and limes made me want to add even more green. So I used those same green ceramic bowls, but this time for a totally different purpose. They easily became festive place card holders thanks to two lemons that I cut in half and then placed cut-side-down in each bowl. One tiny horizontal slit in the top of each lemon allowed me to slip in some card stock place cards and our lemon & lime wedding napkins polished things off. For this setting all ya need is a few bottles of Pellegrino, some recycled wine bottles, a small bouquet and some fresh and fruity lemons and limes. Easy peasy.
Anyone who knows us knows that we adore pale blue. Not only is it our favorite paint color (both our bedroom and our kitchen are painted a subtle gray-blue) but we love collecting pale blue accessories, like these glass vases. After snatching up all the blue glass that I had in the house (from candle holders to vases and bottles) I set everything down on the runner to create a gleaming tablescape accented with simple white plates and napkins and our regular old drinking glasses. And for a bit of added interest and color at each place setting, I added tiny blue dishes that I had laying around (they’re meant for soy sauce when you serve sushi) and popped a place card in each one to give them a bona fide purpose. And all you need to create this look is a few colored glass bottles, cups, and vases (in any color, all pink or all orange would be awesome too!) and a few contrasting blooms for height and interest. Piece of cake.
And this last place setting is a lot less formal than the rest. I imagined this might come in handy if a few of the girls are coming over for some snacking or a light fruit and salad brunch or something. I’ve always loved a buffet, so setting out a few small fruit bowls (those trusty green dishes), salad bowls (those fun scalloped white bowls) and some small plates (for any little snacky things) would pretty much do the trick. Then laying out some fabric napkins and some cute little glass bottles of pink lemonade or even Orangina would really add charm (along with a bouquet of flowers if you just happen to have one laying around). Presto, another simple place setting with that oh-I-just-threw-this-together appeal.
So there you have it. Seven simple ways to create a fresh and festive table that says “sit down and stay a while” without breaking the bank. I think one of my favorite things was creating unexpected place card holders (with everything from artichokes to wine corks) and seeing how quickly our simple white everyday servingware could look transform when paired with a few carefully chosen accessories. Now it’s your turn! Tell us about your favorite centerpiece and place card ideas and of course feel free to send us some pics as well. We’re always up for learning new things, and we can’t wait to see what table setting tips and tricks you guys have up your sleeves.
Great ideas! Now I just need to have people over for dinner… We actually used the cut lemon idea in our wedding as our table name holders. Check it out: http://weddings.theknot.com/ODB/themes/realweddings/view.aspx?type=1&id=33256&MsdVisit=1 :)
Great ideas Sherry! I liked all of them & will definitely be copying some of those. I think #1 is my personal fav.
I seem to have the house for all of our family dinners, holidays, birthdays, etc. I always like to do fun & sometimes funky settings & placecard holders. One casual spring BBQ I used small polished pebbles & wrote everyone’s name on them. For Christmas last year I used teeny little frames from Wal Mart with everyone’s name (.97 cents each) on them, even though they were welcome to take home, most wanted to leave them behind to reserve there spot at my table next year. :) I will see if I can find some pics.
I love all of this! You guys are so talented. Now, I need some details! Where did you get your white plates? I have been looking for months and months for the perfect ones and I love the bowls in the first shot. I also adore the little blue plates in the 6th scene. Again, amazing work! I can’t wait until my construction days are over and the decorating begins!
I LOVE place settings. One of my favorite things. Wish we could do this, but I am very uncreative. They all look great! (only one thing…shhh… but your knives are facing backwards.) ;)
Love all the table settings! My favorite is #1 and also #6 (blue theme)… great job! I’d actually love to see how it all looks from further away. :)
This just smacks of top design…I like the first one best.
This is wonderful. When my husband and I registered for all white dishes everyone thought we were boring. Little did they know I had visions similar to your table settings in my head! Thanks for the inspiration.
So many awesome ideas! I never know how to decorate our table without making it look too formal. I’m so inspired!!
Absolutely gorgeous and chic! I love the variety and simpleness of the place settings. With the use of items around the house, there is not need to run out and buy new items. Thanks for the clever ideas!
I do want to mention (the nit-picky etiquette side of me is coming out..) the knife is facing the wrong way. ;)
wow! i love every single one of them!
Very inspiring as I plan my tablescape for the big TG dinner that’s coming up soon. Thanks!
Great idea’s. I love the blue setting (my husband and I are also huge fans of light blue). However I am also drawn to the freshness of the first setting with the green. I’m defiantely inspired to have a little dinner party and try some of your ideas out. If only I had a dining room table :)
P.S. take a look at my blog I tried to solve the issue of an accent wall having light switches in the middle of it. I think I did a good job of “hiding” the switches.
I can’t wait for Thanksgiving so I can set my table!
These are great!! I love ’em all. One of my all time fave things to do is set fun and fancy tables!! I love using white dishes and mixing them with patterned/colored dishes. One thing I didn’t notice in any of your settings, was the use of chargers as a base, if you don’t have any, I definetly suggest them. We have white, silver and rattan at our place. I’m at a loss at which was my fave though, since they all had a feature that made them perfect for a specific gathering…
Two questions: Where did you get the little woven glass sleeves?? Too cute and perfect for a patio set!!!
And where did you get all your blue glass stuff? All I can ever find is colbalt blue, but I prefer the light stuff. Those little flower soya sauce dishes are amazing!!
WOW! I am in love with each and every table setting. You did such a fabulous job, and I love how you mostly used items you already had around the house. Thank you for such wonderful inspiration!
All Things Lovely says
These are all lovely place settings! You’ve inspired me for the next time I have people over, just lovely.
These are great! I can’t wait to see all of these flowers in the DIY shoot!
Love them all, especially the colorful ones! Have you been watching Top Design, because you guys could be on it. Great job!
I LOVE this post! I am also crushing on your floral votive holder- where did you find that? I love it!
YAYYYY! So many fun comments. Love it. First of all, thanks for all the links and descriptions of your place setting ideas! From the polished pebble place cards to the sliced lemons in the centerpieces (love the wedding link EAM!) they’re all super inspiring to us.
Stay tuned for more multiple ways to arrange a ________ (from a mantle to a bookcase we’re gonna keep experimenting and showing you all the variations). Wheeeeee!
Ben, as for our dish sources, the white plates and regular bowls are from Linens N Things (we got like 10 of each thing for our wedding to account for breakage- and we might snag a few more of each before the one near us goes out of business). The scalloped bowls were from Target a while back so keep an eye out for those around next spring- they usually bring fun stuff like that back if it does well. And the little blue dishes were also from Target (they’re meant to hold soy sauce for sushi dinners). As for our silverware, it’s from Crate & Barrel (a prezzie from my sweet momma). Hope that helps!
Oh and we just collected our blue glass items over time from Marshalls, Target, Pier 1, etc. And the woven sleeved glasses were a buck each on super-sale at Sur La Table. I love those things!
Oh and Lori, we snagged our flower votive holder from HomeGoods but we’ve also seen ’em everywhere from TJ Maxx to Marshalls. Good luck hunting one down of your own…
Beautiful, as always!! I’d love to find out where your dining table is from. it is so simple and so elegant..
Believe it or not our table is from Target (along with the 4 chairs and the brown upholstered leather bench that we added to keep things interesting). Oh and you can see a picture of the whole dining area a bit further out by clicking the house tour tab up by our header and scrolling down to the living/dining room after picture. I don’t think they make the exact model anymore but there are plenty of clean and simple wood tables (and chairs and benches to choose from). And they’re all priced to sell! Happy hunting…
Beautiful place settings!
where is the ceramic flower tea light holder from?
Diva Style says
I love this table runner! Where was it purchased? I am looking for a similar toned-down one for my dining room table since I have decorated it using so much color.
The runner is actually a $12 find from Target! We’ve seen extremely similar ones at Pottery Barn and even William’s Sonoma Home for a lot more (somewhere around $60), but it’s virtually identical… and a lot easier on the wallet!
I have a black Pottery Barn dining table and chairs. We got a really great deal on it from a friend who was getting rid of it. The thing is, I’m at a loss as to how to decorate it, as well as the dining room. We also have a buffet and hutch in there that is black as well. I want to soften up all that black so it’s not so stark in there. Do you have any suggestions??
It’s all about layering and breaking up all that black. How about a nice tan runner on the dining table and a nice punchy vase in the center (base the color of the vase on the room’s color scheme: red? blue? green? silver?). Then you can break things up on the buffet as well, maybe place a nice woven tray full of colorful drinking glasses or wine bottles in the middle. Then maybe bring in a matching pair of lamps on either side to lighten things up? You can even hang a mirror on the wall above the hutch to bounce around a lot of light (and reflect the light from those two matching lamps). For extra credit, painting the back of your hutch a lighter color (or wallpapering it or even covering it in fabric) would be lovely. A contrasting backdrop is always super stunning, especially on a large black piece! Hope it helps. Happy decorating…
Just found your blog and I LOVE IT! What great ideas! I can’t wait to start using them in our own home!
Where did you get that hurricane?
Target. Hope it helps!
I’m noticed that this post shows a close-up of your white Ikea shelves. We just hung ours yesterday in our living room. I’m wondering if it would be wierd to place some of our white dishes on the shelves like you did, since it’s in the living room?
I’ll add other things to the shelves of course, but wouldn’t mind showing off our dinnerware. What do you think?
I think white dishes are casual and classic enough to live in any room (especially since people have pottery and serving platters on display in living rooms all the time)! Definitely go for it.
This was awesome! We are getting married in a year, and I’ve been debating whether to register for simple white plates or something more colorful – I have my answer! I never thought about how simple it is to add in so much additional color, so thanks for such a great post! (my favorite were the white/natural and the pale blue themes – awesome!)
how would you do a table setting for a square table? i live in an apartment and do not have enough room for a rectangle table. any suggestions?
We’d just put a bit less in the center to make room for played at a smaller square table. But you can still use similar dishware and glasses and napkins and stuff. Just have fun with it!