Have you ever received a gift – maybe some little extravagance you wouldn’t have bought yourself – that got you thinking? Recently my brother and sister-in-law gave me a big bunch of lavender from a lavender farm.
At first I couldn’t decide what to do with all that lavender. But then I remembered my new estate sale find: A footed milk glass urn. I feel that anything arranged in an urn immediately takes on a more formal, buttoned up appearance, which I love. So needless to say I have a lot of little urns floating around the house.
Anyway, I decided to pair the lavender – all of it – with the urn.
I trimmed the stems and used a spike frog to get the lavender to stand uniformly in the urn. So easy, and it took all of five minutes.
Now going back to the “thinking” part I mentioned earlier: This look was so pretty that it started me thinking about using lavender as a fresh spin on a fall tablescape. So I created a fall tablescape for my tiny dining room table, keeping these easy guidelines in mind.
1. Find Your Inspiration
I always need a starting point – something to build on. The lavender in the urn was my inspiration. For you it might be wheat stalks in a tall glass vase or short mums in a tarnished silver bowl. Maybe your inspiration isn’t even floral. Maybe it’s a few vintage glass floats. Pick something that speaks to you and then build your tablescape on that.
2. Choose Your Color Strategy
Fall décor can look heavy pretty quickly. I wanted to keep it light and airy so I went with varying shades of blue, cream, and yellow.
It adds interest to repeat and layer similar colors. I repeated the blue with the porcelain cup and the cream and sugar set.
I cut down my hop vines recently and have been using them a lot for fall decor. Here they add a stronger shade of cream to the table.
I also layered a vintage tablecloth and a vintage runner, both in cream, to add some texture.
Which leads me to the next tip.
3. Contrast Textures, Shapes, and Heights
With such a muted color palette, it’s a good idea to add interest by using texture. There is a lot of formal polish going on in this tablescape: Silver utensils, fine china, a smooth milk glass urn.
To make it interesting, it needs some rustic texture. Of course the natural elements – the lavender, the small pumpkins, the hop cones, and the dried reeds – add a lot of texture.
Another rustic touch that works well here is this terracotta pot filled with witch hazel leaves.
Standing with the fine china and silver, it doesn’t look out of place. The large yellow leaves, simply stacked vertically in the pot, contrast in shape and size to the lavender as do the hop cones.
The varying heights of the green McCoy bud vase, the milk glass urn, and the terracotta pot make for an interesting triangle.
Which brings me to the next tip.
4. Symmetry or Asymmetry?
Much as I love symmetry, I decided to lay out the tablescape in an asymmetrical design to add some visual energy to the muted color palette. It gives the table a more casual feel.
Along with the varied heights, the asymmetry slows down the visual feast that a tablescape provides. It takes a little longer for the eye to take everything in, making it more interesting.
But symmetry certainly does have its place in tablescapes. Items placed on a table in repeating, balanced patterns give it a clean, formal feel, and it looks great on a long or large table. So it’s fun to play around with the concept and see what comes of it.
5. Practical Considerations
Tablescapes are feasts for the eyes. But when the real feast arrives, as my husband is always quick to point out, “Some of this stuff has got to go to make room for the food.” So I might as well just state the obvious: Tablescapes aren’t practical.
It helps when creating a tablescape to decide what will “go” later, what will stay when the food is brought out, and how you want that to look.
Of course if you are doing a separate buffet table for the food, or if the food is being plated for your guests, this won’t be a concern.
6. Have Fun!
The next time you decorate your table, give these tips a try. And remember the most important tip of all: Have fun! It will show on your table.
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