Category Archives: Dining Room

Our Dining Room is a Playground

I’ve been taking Justina Blakeney’s Table-Top Styling class on Skillshare* and playing with what I learned about creating beautiful tablescapes that not only look interesting, but also meet the needs of your dining event. So our dining room has been a laboratory, an artistic studio … a playground! It’s been fun. The class pushed me to try things I wouldn’t have otherwise, such as using a color story of orange + purple + green.

While playing with styling ideas, our table went through several phases of “too little” and then “too much” until getting to “just right.” Here’s the final result (Um, I think? For now?):

Obi Table Runner

The table runner is a purple silk Japanese obi covered with a little fan pattern. Plus celadon plates, centerpiece trays from Pier 1 and World Market, Suzani print napkins from Pier 1, a rustic carved wood bowl from Home Goods. Candlesticks collected over the years from many sources, some overseas and some near my backyard like Target. And Christmas tree ornaments fill the wood bowl and are scattered about. The botanicals are faux olive leaves with purple olives and purple-dyed eucalyptus.

Here’s a few more shots. First, my favorite, a close-up of patterns on the table:

Pattern Play on the Dining Table with Japanese Obi and Glass Tray

Christmas Table Setting

I like how these orange trays have a bolder contrast against the purple obi:

Purple Orange Green Color Story

These Suzani print napkins are at Pier 1 right now – they have purple, green and orange so they tied all the colors together. They’re a different choice for a holiday table setting, but I wanted a worldly look around the table, and the golds bring in the holiday glitz you expect.

* If you’re interested in taking a class on Skillshare, use this link and get $10 off!



Did you like this post? Don't miss out on more:

What topics interest you?


Outfitting a Special Holiday Table: Add a Dash of Global Textile

It’s the season for decorating tables. For holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, dressing up the dining table makes meals feel more special. But what if your table isn’t feeling all that special?

Much like our clothing, table settings need accessories to look polished. One easy way to polish an outfit is to add a scarf in an interesting fabric. Likewise, a quick easy way to add interest to a table is to add a textile to it. I like to play with fabrics from all over the world. Today, here’s a before/after example from our dining room – with just one quick change.

Here was our table a few days ago:

This Autumn Dining Table Setting Is Missing Something - A Textile

Because any horizontal surface in our house is a magnet for clutter, I usually leave our dining table “half-dressed” all the time so it doesn’t get messed up. By “half-dressed” I mean I’ll set up a centerpiece and leave placemats or chargers at each spot. We can do this because the dining table is used only for eating – we work on laptops and do hobbies and crafts elsewhere in the house. Plus, the only place for a dining table in our house is in a dining room that’s separate from other rooms. So it’s not a room where we hang out, like we might do in an open floor plan. So leaving a “half-dressed” table works to keep the room nice for whenever we need it.

But truly, the table felt like it was missing something, like it was missing pants or a shirt or something you must wear to be in public.

How does this look? A little more polished?

Thanksgiving Table All Dressed Up

I simply added a textile under the centerpiece area – a Japanese kimono fabric.

Here’s a close-up of the fabric:

Bamboo Pattern Silk Kimono Fabric

The kimono fabric colors are perfect for an autumn table. A few more views:

Celadon Brass and Mother of Pearl

Thanksgiving Table Setting

Autumn Table Setting

Table Setting for Thanksgiving

By adding the patterned textile, that extra layer makes it look like there’s much more than what is actually here. There’s really only a few simple things:

  • Fall garland from a craft store – I look for highest quality available
  • Acorns collected during walks around the neighborhood – I come home with pockets bulging like chipmunk cheeks
  • White pumpkins – must remember these are real pumpkins, before they rot into a gooey mess!
  • Mix of brass and wood candlesticks
  • Celadon ceramic pieces from World Market, and Baan Celadon in Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Rattan chargers from a store in Bangkok
  • Gold leaf chargers from Crate & Barrel but I got them at an estate sale for only $2 each! At a $1M house down the road – love estate sales at those homes.

Autumn Table Centerpiece Ingredients

So if your table feels like it’s missing “something,” try adding a textile to it and see if you like it better. You can easily add a length of fabric as a runner or tablecloth. No sewing required. I watch eBay for kimono and obi fabrics which are often sold in 14″ wide strips which are a perfect size for table runners. You can find scraps of sari fabrics on eBay too. Keep an eye open for nontraditional table ideas like embroidered scarves and patterned shawls in the clothing area. Mostly, look for textiles with lots of color and pattern – they will go a long way to liven things up, much like adding a colorful scarf to your outfit!

Also you can see a very different look on this table with a different Japanese textile as a table runner in a table setting I created for the Christmas holidays.



Did you like this post? Don't miss out on more:

What topics interest you?


DIY: Tabula rasa, Transformed for Thanksgiving

Family and friends are visiting this long holiday weekend, much fun will revolve around food, and the table should be special. For decorating, this year I was inspired by the outdoors. We live in a beautiful suburban Chicago neighborhood full of trees. Some oaks have stood for centuries here. I’ve collected acorns during walks, and our yard is full of pinecones and willow, maple and oak leaves.

This year’s theme is natural and simple. I hope this inspires you to look at what’s around you in autumn, and use it in decorating.

Here’s how I built the table, layer by layer. You can see the room already has autumn colors …

Continue reading



Did you like this post? Don't miss out on more:

What topics interest you?