This post was born out of a readers question. Tami asked,
“Your tablescapes are SO BEAUTIFUL and INSPIRING! I have one question though, if you could only pick ten items, or even five, that you use over and over again, what would they be? I’m on a limited budget and need to choose carefully. Would love to hear your thoughts. Beautiful job! Thanks.”
Thanks Tami… your answer is in this post! Here are ten items that I use over and over and over again to set a many of my tables… and I did not spend a lot of money for any of them! They are by far my favorites!
1~ WHITE DISHES
This is the number 1 first thing I would buy! A great set of white dishes goes with everything. No pattern, no other color, maybe an interesting edge. I would get at least 8 place setting. If you get a classic design you can add to it as you go! My very favorite workhorse dishes that I have had for almost 20 years are my Mikasa Italian Countryside (2nd from the bottom).
After you get 1 set of great white dishes start collecting other white dishes. White dishes are gorgeous stacked together! I pick up most of my dishes on sale or at stores like, HomeGoods, Target, TJ Maxx and my local department stores.
2~ ACCENT DISHES
One of my favorite tricks when setting a table is to use an accent plate or bowl. These are small pieces that brings color, theme or season to your tablescape! Accent dishes are usually inexpensive and are just plain FUN! My favorite colors to collect are blue, green and black and white!
Even if you find 2 or three accent dishes… buy them! They are also fun to mix and match!
3. WHITE PEDESTAL CAKE STANDS
This might sound a little unusual, but buy a couple of cake stands in different sizes. They make wonderful elevated surfaces to display dishes, napkin and flatware! Maybe I have a “thing” for them because I use them in the kitchen and dining room and not just on the tables! The top pedestal in the picture below only cost $3.99!
And white pedestal cake plates make a great centerpiece and a riser for a centerpiece!
4. GREAT GOBBLETS
Use stemmed glasses. A set of wonderfully styled goblets can elevate dinner to dining! But they don’t have to cost a lot! I got my “white bubble glasses” for 97 cents each on sale at Reading China and Glass. They are my go-to drink glasses!
5. WHITE PITCHER
A white pitcher can either hold water for the the table… or be used as a centerpiece to hold flowers! Most of the time my pitchers hold flowers…
or old silver!
6. OLD SILVER OR INTERESTING FLATWARE
This is where we can be creative and thrifty! Vintage and thrift shops are full of wonderful old silverplate flatware and stainless. I got a 12 place settings of silverplate for $40.00! Go on a hunt… bargain, barter and find that great cheap silver!
Here’s the other alternative and it’s also a bargain! White handled flatware. It’s not going to be as heavy and “good” but it is sassy! And if whites not what you want, it comes in so many other colors!
7. CLOTH NAPKINS
Napkins are not only necessary but the can set the mood of a table. Start out with a set of great white napkins and build a collection from there!
8. GREAT NAPKIN FOLDS!
Fun napkin folds can add a whole lot of interest to any table! Learn two or three and make sure they are easy to reproduce. Here’s a couple I use often and how to make them…
9. WHITE TABLECLOTH
Buy in INEXPENSIVE white tablecloth. The plainer the better. Here’s my philosophy on white tablecloths. Don’t spend over $20.00! When it get’s stained you can bleach it and when it wears out it owes you nothing. Don’t buy a tablecloth that you have to protect or dry clean! The upkeep is not worth it unless you have extra money burning a hole in your pocket!
As your collection grows add some natural placemats. They look great with a white tablecloth and can be used alone.
10. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Your table does not have to be fancy or elaborate or take a lot of time to put together, but the more you practice the better you will get! Setting a table is one of the special things I do! It’s not an item, but it is very important!
Well, Tami… there you have it! 10 easy, inexpensive things I used over and over when creating tablescapes. Start with white dishes and add on from there! BTW, thanks for asking!
What is your number 1 must-have favorite tablescaping item? Let’s share!
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