Entertaining - Basic Must-Have's For Setting A Pretty Table

A Stroll Thru Life
We are nearing the Holiday season and preparing for a lot of entertaining.  I love having family and friends over and I love to have a pretty table.  Now it doesn't have to be fancy or elegant, just something that is pretty and shows my guests and family that I enjoy having them.

 We use our breakfast table every day for all our meals and it is where most of our company gathers too.  I try to change things up often and have a few basics that I use over and over.  Here are a few ideas for you to use to create your own table settings whether it is for everyday or for company.

#1 Table Runner & Tablecloths
I rarely use a tablecloth, I much prefer to use a runner and my favorite ones are a woven grass type mat.  I love this, it can be dressed up or down.  Here you can see how I set a table with simple gold and white.  The flowers are the only color.  The runner keeps the table setting from feeling too formal.
Take note of the hurricanes too.  You can find these everywhere - add a Dollar Store candle and coffee beans and you have instant chic.

You can see we are using the same runner and the same gold chargers for this setting.  This is a glammed up version of a casual centerpiece by adding tons of thrift store brass candlesticks.  They don't have to match.  In fact the more different they are the better.

The same runner only this time I used two.  I love this idea for my harvest table, it really gives each place setting more importance.  Again I am using all those same candlesticks, ivy and the two white ceramic pieces.  I just removed the sun flowers and added simple white stems.  If you take a close look at these two settings you can see how you can totally change one basic centerpiece to create several different looks without reinventing the wheel.

Sometimes a plaid or pattern is just what you want for a little more color.  You can find all kinds of patterns at Ross, TJMaxx and of course Home Goods.

There are all kinds of runners.  I have a whole stash of cloth ones that I use and rotate in and out.  I also like to use something different on occasion.  The rug runner is a fun alternative.  I wanted to create a sort of outdoor theme with the centerpiece since we were having a BBQ.

Every once in a while I like to use a tablecloth.  My table has 4 leaves and it can seat up to 12 so I do have a couple of table clothes that I use from time to time.  I really like this check one.  I also like to create a long centerpiece down the center of the table too.   Think of your centerpiece as telling a story and I think this one says "Fall".

I do have a lace tablecloth that I found years ago at a thrift store that I use for more "fancy" table settings.  Most of this came from either Goodwill, Thrift Stores or 99c Store.  The clear and green wine glasses came from the 99c store along with the green votive candle holders and the green place mats.  I found the napkins, white plates and the stem votive clandle holders at Goodwill.  The flowers are simple "fauxs" that I spruced up with some berries and grass from the 99c Store.  You really can pull together a really pretty table for pennies if you just shop and think outside the box.

#2 Chargers and Place mats
I think both of these are essentials in any linen closet.  Now you don't have to have a huge stash, just have some basics that you can use over and over again.  I rarely do a "formal" type of table setting, but I do like to dress up the table for special occasions.  I have two sets of pretty white place mats.  Here I use one of the place mats under my centerpiece and a different set for the place settings.

This is a table setting that I did last year - "Thanksgiving Table pulled right out of Goodwill".  I also use a silver charger for a more elegance.  These are silver trays that I found at goodwill.  Seems like people are always donating them.  I just collect a few so I can use them as chargers and then they can also double as serving pieces when I need them.  Double duty is always perfect and less to store.

Probably my favorite chargers are these gold ones.  You can find them almost anywhere and they are so inexpensive, but look good with any setting.  Collect a few different salad plates to go with your white dishes, they totally change a setting in an instant.

I've had these wood and wicker chargers for years.  I love them.  They also make fabulous trays to hold moss balls, spheres, Christmas balls and so much more on a coffee table.

When I saw these I just couldn't resist.  How fun, these were labeled picnic place mats.  I guess that would be really appropriate.  I love them for indoors or outdoors.  If outdoors and it is a little windy, your napkin will definitely stay in place.

Of course wicker chargers are a basic staple too.  Again these are appropriate for any table setting and also to be used as trays.  These are great for serving bread.

#3 Napkins
Now I don't need to show you a million different kinds of napkins, but having a great collection of different colors and patterns allows you to change up your tables in so many different ways.

As you can see from my setting above, I usually just go for simple and not a lot of pattern.  On occasion I like a jolt of color and plaids and checks are a favorite too.  You can find napkins on sale at really reasonable prices at TJMaxx and Ross all the time, so having a variety is easy.

I keep mine stored in drawers and like to arrange them like files so I can see the colors, patterns and how many I have of each style.

Since these are the ones I use most often they are laying on top of my assortment of  napkin rings.  I have the gold you see often and plain simple white ones.  I do have one set of wood that is fun to use too.

I hope this helps you to always have a pretty table and one that you can use every day.

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