Here in the South, a “casual get together” starts to take on a very different meaning about four days prior to the grocery run. We think about adding a couple courses, maybe getting some flowers, and whether or not we should go all out and rent some fancy china. By the time the day arrives, we’re ready to host a wedding!

Most of the time, we go to great lengths not to impress people with our culinary genius, but instead to simply share a table that reflects our admiration and love for the people in our home. That moment when your guests see a beautiful table, or creative means to display dinner….their eyes light up. They feel celebrated. They feel welcomed. They feel loved.

Growing up, we set the table every night as if it was a special occasion. Sure, maybe it was just another Tuesday, full of a long day at work for my parents and looming homework for my sister and me. But at our table, it was an elegant vacation. (Even nights when dinner was a box of Velveeta Shells & Cheese!)

So don’t wait around for a special occasion! Find inspiration in the colors of the season or the vegetables at the market, and use my five easy tips for a simple, styled table!

Use the food. Whether you’re having a mega taco bar, a simple crock pot chili night, or an Italian feast, use some of the fixings as your colorful and detailed centerpiece! Add a few bowls of chips, shredded cheese, and other fixins for chili night. For a perfect pasta time, use some of the dry pasta in canisters or vases for a unique touch. Taco bar? Decorate your table with side dishes of sour cream, salsa, cheese, and any other must-haves for a great meal.



Flowers forever. While flowers certainly add a unique touch to table design, you don’t need to break the bank on arrangements. Consider simple mason jars, milk glass, or recycled wine bottles to house a few carnations, daisies, or hydrangeas from your garden!retro-dining-room-style-tables-with-flowers-centerpieece


Spice it with color. Possibly my favorited design tip – use color! We often see things that may not match, in our minds. But a table setting can be the ideal playground for bold colors and patterns. Take a calm sea foam or mint green, and add coral or orange. In an all white dining room, add turquoise, blue and purple for an oceanic inspired evening. Take a chance…on color!place1


Tie up the cutlery. We keep napkin rings of different types on hand, as well as ribbon and raffia for special touches (think an extra rose or baby’s breath!) Styled napkins are a beautiful touch and simple to do – and they make a big impact on the look and feel of your table!holiday-table-intro-1209-l


Mix it up. No one said tables had to match! In addition to bold colors, mix up patterns! (TIP: Find mismatched plates for less at your local flea market or community yard sale!). If you like some consistency to your table, consider a solid color dinner plate and add pattern with your salad plates.



With these tips, you’ll be all set for your next occasion – or spontaneous evening with friends! Find more inspiring table designs available on Pinterest!

Happy hosting,


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