One of my favorite things about fall is that it marks the beginning of the holiday cooking and entertaining season. Yes, it can be a lot of work, but I just love welcoming family and friends in to our home to sit around the table and break bread together. (Not to mention the fact that I love the food!)
Creating a beautiful fall tablescape is just one way I like to make my home feel cozy and welcoming. But, let’s be real…it can get expensive buying floral arrangements, cloth napkins and matching place settings for every single occasion — especially if you want each table you set to be unique and creative.
You’ll notice in my tablescape posts that I use a lot of the same things over and over again. There’s a reason for that. As much as I’d like to buy new for every table setting I create, it’s just too pricey and impractical so I try to create welcoming tables buying as little as possible.
So, today I’m sharing a few simple tips for creating a fall tablescape (or any tablescape, for that matter) without breaking the bank.
My list begins with starting from the ground up. Most of you probably already have dishes, flatware and glasses, but if you’re just starting out or even starting over, I’m including a few ideas for that, too:
You can never go wrong with white dishes
If I were helping my daughter get started on her own, I would tell her to invest in a set of white place settings. This is something I didn’t do myself until at least 10 years into my marriage. They are my go-to plates and I am personally ready to upgrade them, but that’s for another discussion!
Why white? Because they mix and match with other patterns and look great on their own. They are the perfect basic to have in your cabinet.
If you can’t afford to invest in a really good set, it’s still worth it in my opinion, to at least get a few plates from inexpensive sources like IKEA, Home Goods, etc. Pottery Barn also has caterers sets that are fairly reasonable for several plates. It’s so worth it to have a set of white to mix and match for each season with other dishes in your cabinet.
Collect things over time
You don’t have to have everything all at once. Buy dishes, glasses, napkins, etc. as you can afford them. And definitely buy when they’re on sale! (I have been collecting my Spode dishes for several years.)
Shop garage sales, thrift store and estate sales
This is my favorite tip. I have added to my collection over the years by purchasing odds and ends at thrift stores, garage sales and estate sales. The wool plaid throw on the table is from an estate sale. It was $5!
Big box stores also have great deals on things that look high end
Don’t make the mistake of thinking big box retailers like Walmart and other similar stores don’t have anything that looks high end for a low price. My water glasses are from Walmart – a box of 4 glasses is $5. Yes, $5!! People are always surprised to learn where I got them.
Buy things that are neutral and go with any season
This is a similar tip to owning white plates, but neutrals don’t have to be white, cream or beige. My brown Spode Delamere transferware is a neutral. These plates work for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and just about any occasion. They mix and match well with red, orange, pastels, etc. I love how well they transition from season to season.
Shop Your House — mix, match and borrow from what you already own
I’ve already spoken about this a little when I talked about mixing and matching plates and dishes, but you can also do this with just about everything! My tablecloth is actually a big roll of linen fabric I plan to use for another project. But, while it’s sitting there waiting why not use it as a tablecloth? My velvet pumpkins were placed here and there around my house but I pulled them together to help with my tablescape. Shop your house, think outside the box! Normally, I’d never think of using a bucket of pecans as a centerpiece. My husband filled a bucket from our pecan tree over the weekend and set them on the dining room table. When I saw it I decided, why not?! Which leads me to my next point:
The best decorations are free and nature can supply these in abundance. The leaves are not turning here, but green leaves look every bit as pretty as the colorful ones. Best of all, they didn’t cost a dime!
Other items from nature to consider using are: berries, twigs, wildflowers, apples, pears, pecans, acorns, pine cones, sand, etc.
Borrow things from friends and/or family
We can’t always have it all, but it can seem like it when we can borrow things to fill out our table decor. I do this less and less as my collections grow but when I was younger, borrowing was a necessity. Even now, there are times when I need something and don’t want to spend the money. It’s a nice way to fill out your decor while minding the budget.
Today’s post is part of the monthly tablescape series, “It’s All Set” where I share inspiring tablescapes along with some of my favorite blogging friends. Please take the time to stop by and visit to see what they’re sharing today — you will not be disappointed!
Please visit my friends to see the inspiring tables they are sharing this month: