a painted fall tablescape (fall table ideas)

Hello lovely friends! We hope everyone is enjoying this fall season… We really can’t believe it’s already November, but we’re ready to enjoy the holidays with family and friends. Our greatest drama ever pergola is well under way, and we hope to stop, catch our breath + enjoy the weather on our new back porch redo very soon! We’re a little overdue for slowing down. And s’mores. I really need some s’mores… digression.

Today, I thought we’d cover one of my favorite subjects. With the age of our children, it isn’t really practical so I don’t get to do it very often… but every now and again it’s oh so fun.

Every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas, my mom broke out the starched table cloth. We each had our own special pieces we used, with little bunnies on them. If your family was anything like ours, it was one of the few times we ate in the dining room all year. And we would wait patiently while she slaved away in the kitchen. I was always in charge of setting the table. There’s just something kind of reserved and magical about the table at the holidays. I look forward to creating the same traditions for our own children. At the drop of a hat they get a special table and a parade.

This year’s theme for our holidaisical hoorah : a painted fall tablescape.

I’ve decided to move the party to our kitchen this year, as I never really dress up that table. And I think it’s a wasted shame. So I layered aquas and greens with punches of deeper fall-esque hues. We combined various china patterns, with a hodgepodge of finishes… we were pleased with the fun feeling this table gave off!

From an old hobnail vase and candles with slices of wood, to jars with jute and Staffordshire, this painted fall tablescape is layered with new and old, but basically made of things we already had. I threw on some new fabric and we had a fresh look. We even used a few of our leftover metallic fairytale pumpkins for an added touch. Centerpieces composed of feathers, twigs and flowers make for textural interest on our table, and we topped every plate off with these handmade feathers… they can easily double as place settings. Stay tuned: We have a little tutorial on that coming up tomorrow.

So today I thought I’d discuss a few of our fave tips to follow when it comes to creating a fun tablescape.

First things first: I use two main guidelines when it comes to creating, but these are fine tuned towards the table sector of life:

• Lose the Proper – Just like the rest of ‘the rules‘ I’ve broken in my home, being a tried and true southerner, I tend to hold fast to the ‘rules’ for setting a table. While those are all fine and dandy and I’m sure one day I’ll use them when I feel like it, don’t let it paralyze your creative juices when it comes to setting your table for the holidays. I realized I was angsting way too much over the third fork from the left and the third glass to the right. I don’t really own any fine silver, and ‘proper’ is for the cast of Downton Abbey circa 1895…

If you want to put your silverware in a bundle with cool fabric, do it. If you want to bring in twigs from your yard for an interesting centerpiece, go for it. I’m done with stressing. Life is short. My home is fun and so the table will be, also.

• Cheat Like the Dickens Wherever You Can. Mix your every day plates with fine china. The plain with the patterned. The jars with the antiques and crystal. Make it go the distance. Cut corners in a stylish way. Think beyond the “expected” when it comes to furnishings for your table. Creating a table can be expensive. For special occassions, I order fabric and play with it. I make sure it can be washed, but I don’t sew it. I just fold it and throw it on. (See: table runner + main table covering) Why? Because I may want it later for pillows, and I wont’ be wasting perfectly good fabric for a few shenanigans on a table design. Yes, the extra effort put into stitching is awesome for that extra polished touch, and sweet and whatevs. So I use an iron to “fake” the seams. I like to switch it out often and in addition to what doctors like to call a little bit of a fabric hoarding problem, I have three small kids. It is what it is.

On Fabrics: For this table, I started with a basic linen (I’ve had it for a while-via fabric.com) mixed with this for the runner and this for the napkins (now sold out from my original source) mixed with a turquoise broadcloth I scored at our local fabric store. The pillows you see are Thomas Paul (I’ve had those for a while) + Premier Prints (both now sold out from their original sources). The napkins were some I’ve held on to since we were married, layered wth fabric scraps, ribbon and jute. {Don’t ever purchase anything online without checking out a coupon code – retailmenot.com is always a great source.}

And finally, a few good principles of design: I treat my tables (the principles of art and design applied) like my spaces:

1. Layer – From fabrics, florals and accessories… Treat a fine fall table like a stylin’ fall outfit. Build and plan from the main piece you choose and work around it as your springboard. If you need to mix in a few twigs with the flowers, then go for it. Think through carrying out various textures, accessories and touches of color. Which brings me to…

2. Contrast – Remember these two points of reference to create interest: A. Colors: Cool with warm, light with dark + B. Materials: Think jute with crystal, every day with fine china. Play around with these two simple concepts in your head, and you just can’t go wrong with keeping it fresh.

3. Symmetry + Varying Heights – Apply this to everything on your table. Think of your table as a level plane, and a standing challenge to see what you can do with it to mix it up a little. Varying heights of plates and place settings, glass placement, vases, and everything in between. Think of your centerpiece as the crowning touch to your tablescape. Whether you decide on symmetry or odd numbers, keep it fresh and interesting with a combination of flowers, and other elements from the outdoors.

I’m ready to tackle the holiday season with some fun ideas! What are some of your best tips for a stellar table? The most important part of all: The guests. What are some of your favorite around-the-table traditions with your loved ones during the holidays? What do you enjoy the most? I’m looking to ressurect some of that bunny china with my own kids.

Stay tuned-I’ll be back tomorrow with that painted feather tutorial. Have an inspired day, everyone!

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Responses to a painted fall tablescape (fall table ideas)

  1. See? This is exactly what I’m talking about. I’m slain.

  2. Samantha says:

    Our tablescape has always had the centerpiece as the turkey and all the fixin’s surrounding it. We like to see each other and talk without a bouquet of flowers in the way. A tablecloth is about as far as it ever went. We’ll be eating at mom’s once again, and I think I might try to add a little decorative influence on the table. As long as I don’t put anything on there that’s too tall, I think she’ll go for it. :)

    • As it should be. (SIGH) these are all fun in prep, but in real life, the flowers come down once the meal starts. ;} And are replaced by superman figurines and legos… One day, I will miss the superman figurines and legos. ;}

  3. Great colors! I’m loving the picture board. Do you have a tutorial for that?

    • Hey! We actually do not. It’s one of the very first DIY projects we ever tackled…years ago! We ordered our cork from Amcork placed a thicker backing behind it, literally glued it to the walls, and framed it out. ;} Let’s just say this board will be staying with the house if we ever move. HA! It’s been one of my favorites for years, and I will have it in my next house. ;}

  4. Brenna says:

    I just love how you put things together! Where did you get the three mismatched chairs? That is exactly the look I’m going for in our eat-in area.

    • Hey Breanna! I scoured the antique malls near my home until I found three separate chairs…you’d be surprised and how something like this can actually take some time to come by! (Sturdy ones for sale individually) I refinished them, and you can read more about that in an old post, here. I hope that helps-have fun + good luck with your treasure hunt! ;}

      • Brenna says:

        Awesome! Thank you for the response. I figured you had to work for those lovely chairs. And thank you for the link to your post on how you refinished them, since that was going to be my next question. :)

  5. Tennille says:

    Ok so my comment has absolutely nothing to do with your lovely table scape but more along the line of smores. I don’t even really know you but sometimes I feel like we’re friends. I saw this and it totally made me think of you. Not sure if you follow these two ladies but I think they are pretty fabulous. Enjoy…http://pinterest.com/pin/200550989627862690/

  6. Oh, I love it. Loooovvvee it. Better than a magazine, girl. And how often am I going to keep saying that?? It is the first thing that comes to mind. Love those feathers that you made too. And I’m all about the fabric cheating. Duh. Cut those corners where you can…

  7. Deborah Deaton says:

    I just think the colors, fabrics and textures that you have used are great together. It is so refreshing to see someone like myself that uses so many different types of mediums and marry together wonderfully! It is fun to take risks, and the payoff is so much fun in the process!!! Kudos to you and the fantastic job you did. The table is so unexpected and beautifully decorated!

  8. Awesome. Just flat out ridiculously freaky awesome.

  9. caroline says:

    Im absolutely in love with that Ikat.

    And yay for a non-traditional table with fun colors- its a must!

  10. Love your table and your creativity! Thanks for sharing your process for your table settings!
    House on the Way

  11. karlene says:

    super fun ideas!!! thank you for sharing them. :)

  12. Stephanie says:

    I LOVE your blog and I just realized the BENCH!! I LOVE it!!!! Is there a post that talks more about it?! Shows a full view of the table with it?! How did you come to acquire such a thing?!