One of our most loved family traditions includes our annual candlelit family Valentine’s Day dinner! Since Kaylie was big enough to sit at a table, we have done a special family dinner to celebrate our love together as a family. It’s a tradition that we all look forward to!
As I was prepping for this year’s dinner, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite tips on creating the perfect tablescape on a budget! So, let’s start with the basic elements:
- The Foundation – Clear your table off, wipe it down and start with placing your runner, placemats and chargers.
- The Essentials – Place your serving ware now, including plates, bowls, drinking glasses, wine glasses, champagne flute, silverware and napkins.
- The Magical Touches – These are the things that make your tablescape come to life, including floral elements, table decorations, backdrop decorations and what I call the special topper (the items that goes on the top of the dinnerware that sets the theme: an iced cookie, a specialty chocolate, single stem rose, or a special dinnerware – like our heart shaped bowls seen below).
Now that you’ve got an idea of how to create your next masterpiece, let’s discuss some strategies I use to help keep the costs low with the tablescape.
Runners and placemats can be expensive, so don’t forget how versatile gift wrapping paper and rolled craft paper can be! Change up your runner and placemat for every dinner occasion by just cutting wrapping paper to size! If you’re using craft paper, you can add a custom touch with paint. Last year, I used black chalk paint to brush on “X’s” and “O’s”. You can also get your kiddos involved and let them help decorate the runner and placemats!
Runners can be cut to the length of your table or cut so they extend evenly over each side. As for placemats, a normal rectangular placemat is roughly 12″ tall by 18″ wide.
Chargers really amp up your tablescape and give it that formal vibe, but they can be expensive when you are hosting a large number of guests! So you have two options to save some money. First off, Dollar Tree typically has gold and silver chargers in stock. You can either stick with those or you can take a can of spray paint and paint them to a color that matches your theme more closely! There are so many options for spray paint now, you could even do a textured spray paint to help add some dimension to your design. Second option is to use a large dinner plate as your charger, and use a heavy duty paper plate as your dinner plate! (SAY WHAT? – yep, paper plates! The dinnerware serving as the charger though gives it that formal feel, but the paper plate means easy clean up!)
Plates & Bowls
Want to add a little color to your tablescape? I love using colored salad plates to give that pop of color to the table. Use your everyday dinner plates, but add a special occasion salad plate to set your table setting apart from any other dinner!
If you’re like us in our house, we never have enough forks! We can find unlimited spoons and knifes, but for some reason, forks are always MIA. So, be sure to check out the plastic silverware (these are my favorite) that looks like the real deal. It’ll take your place setting up a notch and make clean up a breeze again!
The Magical Touches
Nothing says classy like some greenery and fresh floral within your tablescape. However, buying enough fresh floral for an entire centerpiece can get pricey. So, here’s my tip: use both artificial and fresh! Mix in some good looking artificial floral with the fresh floral and your guests will never notice! The artificial floral will help add bulk, but the fresh will keep it looking real with the smell to verify!
Here’s where you can really have some fun with your tablescape! The table decorations don’t have to be anything elaborate, and you can pull decor from around your house. Once you’ve laid the floral down, you just need to add decor items and candles to fill in the gaps. So let’s talk candles for a minute. Candlesticks can be expensive, so my cost savings tip includes thrift shopping! Check out your local thrift stores for fun candlesticks. Don’t worry about what they look like, because yet again, our spray paint comes into play! You’ll bring those candlesticks back to life in no time!
The table is where it’s at, but isn’t a festive backdrop an extra special touch?! There is nothing easier and cheaper than a balloon arch! Grab some different sizes and colors of balloons and this balloon arch tape, and you’ve got yourself a themed backdrop! Pro Tip: Find some irregular shaped balloons that fit your theme and tape those on to the arch after you’ve hung it.
This is the final item to be placed on your tablescape, and the first item your guests will see, so make it magical! I love to find an item that fits the occasion and use it as the special touch, from an iced cookie that matches the theme to specialized chocolate from our local chocolate shop. You can even make a fun little craft with the guests name on it to help the guests find their spot. Get creative and add a little magic to your tablescape!
I hope you find these tips helpful as you create your next masterpiece! You know I love a good tablescape, so be sure to tag me in your next picture so I can share it!!