Imagine this scenario: you’ve moved into your new place, the rental furniture is in place, and as a celebration, you have invited guests to dinner! How exciting, surely first on your list is planning the meal! You will no doubt carefully choose the menu, perhaps striving for something elegant and tasty but not so complex as to tie you to the kitchen. Or maybe you have been taking cooking lessons or watching the cooking channels on television and you are excited to show off your new skills. Then again, another option is a casual cookout meal. Whichever you choose, the main course, dessert, beverages, appetizers are all considered and chosen… it’s all the planning that is fun!
And, of course, you have no doubt planned your outfit for the occasion just as carefully. But suddenly, as the day and hour of your dinner party draws near, you realize that you have neglected to plan or budget for dressing your dining table for the occasion. Don’t worry, with a little imagination and a couple of dollars, you can quickly and easily transform your plain table into a fun and festive centerpoint for your party. Here are some tips and ideas to get you started.
First and foremost, don’t limit the possibilities to the traditional. It’s time to get creative! Remember those seashells you collected on last summer’s trip to the beach? Or how about the mason jars on the top shelf, that you bought in anticipation of canning produce but never got around to? Think about how easy it would be to fill mason jars halfway with clean sand, and add a couple seashells inside, and then stick a pillar candle into the sand. Make a cluster of these in the center of the table and scatter a few more larger seashells around them. Voila!
What other unexpected decorating items are in your house? Marbles? Bandanas? Sand in the sandbox? Leaves off the trees? Interesting twigs? Old costume jewelry? All of these could end up as decorations if you put your thinking cap on. Do you have some old spray paint? Glitter? A glue gun? Or, how about using bandanas or scarves wrapped around the serving dishes for a pop of color? Or, get that interestingly shaped branch and spray paint it – white, black, silver, gold – all kinds of colors can work to transform a branch into a simple, artistic centerpiece. Place it in the center of the table and put a few simple votive candles around it. A quick trip to the dollar store can result in some great finds. An inexpensive mirror makes a nice base for that branch centerpiece. Votive and pillar candles are usually inexpensive and plentiful at dollar stores too. Or buy bandanas and use them as place mats or napkins for a country style barbecue dinner. Of course, an arrangement of fresh flowers is always a nice touch. But don’t limit yourself to expensive choices from the florist, wildflowers and grasses can make a great arrangement. Your decorating inspiration may be right in your backyard.
If your concern is that you don’t have a full set of matching china, get funky with mixing it up! Choose plain colored placemats and napkins in a single, unifying color, let’s say bright red, then use your assorted plates and serving pieces. The solid placemats and napkins will hold it all together. Most importantly though, don’t stress over the little things, get creative and have fun with it!