I had some best friends over for one of my very favorite things: a boozy brunch on a Saturday afternoon. I wanted to dress up the table to be a little bit special, but nothing too fancy or serious. This look seemed to come together on its own and had a French rustic farm-table feel. The best kind of tablescape is one that is simple and functional. I don't particularly think there should be a lot of stuff on the table that isn’t going to serve a purpose, and the table shouldn’t be so busy that it doesn’t feel comfortable to lounge at.
I have come to learn that flowers are the one item that can make your table really come together. And while I know that buying/arranging flowers is a bit of a commitment, this is actually good news when you consider that you don’t need to constantly buy new dishes/utensils/serveware to achieve a new look—flowers do the trick on their own. If you just stick to a simple palette (I think all white dishes are fail-proof), flowers will make for a beautiful table and can achieve whatever look you’re going for.
My two suggested approaches for choosing a tablescape
- Don’t over-think it and don’t be intimidated. Pick out just one or two kinds of flowers you think are pretty, put them in a simple vase (no arranging necessary if you keep your flowers limited), and set a clean table with glassware and plates that fit the meal you’re serving. Simplicity is key in this scenario.
- Find a picture of a tablescape you love and copy it. I’m not a designer, and nor are a lot of people. If someone else already did the legwork and achieved a great look, it’s OK to channel that with your own things. If the plates in the picture have scalloped edges and yours are rounded, your reproduction will not lose the overall feel you're going for. Decide which elements you really love and can’t live without, and focus on getting those.
How to produce a gorgeous table with ease on a budget
- Use cloth napkins—invest in a set or two, and start with white for the most versatility.
- Use a dish towel to polish your glasses and flatware—it’s worth it, promise.
- Buy fresh flowers and keep them simple if you want to make it easier on yourself. I find that buying one set of peonies or hydrangeas for around $10-$12 is better use of my money (and just as much of a statement) than buying and arranging three different kinds of flowers together for $30-$35.
- If you want some variety of color on the table, try fun cloth napkins or salad plates/bowls with a pattern (I got mine from a Good Will store for $1 a piece)