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Setting a Holiday Table

Thanksgiving kicks off a season of dinner parties and holiday meals, so I’ve put together a few options for setting a festive table. I kept it it monochromatic, adding metallic accents instead of color for interest. Here are the base pieces I used (some I own, some were borrowed).

  1. PB White Soup Bowl, Pottery Barn

  2. Scalloped Bowl, Target

  3. Wood-Slices Organic Dinner Plate, David Stark for west elm

  4. Wood-Slices Organic Bowl, David Stark for west elm

  5. Silver Charger, Pier 1

  6. PB White Salad Plate, Pottery Barn

  7. Wood-Slices Organic Salad Plate, David Stark for west elm

  8. Lotus Bowl, Cost Plus World Market

  9. Dazzle Dinner Plate, Crate & Barrel

  10. PB White Dinner Plate, Pottery Barn

Here are just a few of the possible combinations (and no, I don’t mind mixing silver and gold).

The Marimekko Lumimarja tablecloth was a gift from my mom last year, but it is available this year in gold. I also mixed in bird napkin rings and plain white napkins, along with our everyday flatware.

The Dining Room with Painted White Trim

I know, I’ve taken far too long to show you the ‘after’ photos. The problem is that I don’t really see the dining room as a completely finished room yet! It does look a million times brighter with its painted white trim though.

Here’s why I decided to paint the wood trim, and here’s what the room looked like before. Still to do:

  • Paint the wall above the picture rail and the ceiling. Probably the same color as the background of the wallpaper.
  • Paint the doors.
  • Paint the trim in my office and in the living room.
  • Find new window treatments. Maybe simple white shades?
  • Either get new chairs or reupholster the ones we have. The fabric isn’t very practical for our expanding family.
  • Remember to flip the handles on the buffet back the right way before taking pictures next time. Eleanor likes to flip them all up, and I hadn’t noticed until I was editing the photos!

Before and after shots:
Wallpapered Dining Room

Arranging a Collection

I’ve shown you how I’ve rearranged my dining room hutch full of white ceramics before, but I hadn’t ever shown my process. So here’s how I do it… I start with the big items first. You can’t shoehorn them in at the end anyway, and if you start with a pleasing arrangement the rest will fall into place.

Obviously I have such a hodgepodge of items that a symmetrical layout isn’t an option for me (though I do love symmetry). I work around that by making sure that the overall layout is visually balanced. For example, see that open lattice-work square in the bottom left? That gets balanced out by the votive holders on the right middle shelf and the scallops of the vintage cake stand on the top left.

I add all the little bits and bobbins that I love at the end. Admittedly they can make the arrangement a little cluttered, so I do edit them down some. Not all of my pieces made it back in, but I tend to rearrange things often so they’ll be back next time.

I love having the built-in hutch to display everything. I wasn’t so sure about it when we moved in, but I’ve since embraced it. I’m still undecided about the beadboard (paint it or leave it natural?), but I’m going to live with it for a while before I choose. It ties in the wood floors and our wood dining set, and the contrast is nice with all of the white. I’ve pinned fabric to the back many times before, so that’s always an option as well. Besides, closing the doors gives the whole thing a bit more polish. Doesn’t everything always look better behind glass?

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