I am always on the lookout for an inexpensive way to set an amazing table. In general I'm not the biggest fan of tablecloths. I keep my collection basic and bring in color in other inexpensive and simple ways. Here are a few pointers as we roll into fall party-planning season.
Although there are thousands of beautiful, colorful tablecloths out there, each party is different. If you pick up a tablecloth strictly based on a single event, it means it will rarely see the light of day after the party is over. In my own home, we keep a few basics around and let other accent pieces provide the color — which keeps our closet from overflowing, and money left over for other things.
Here are a few ideas for colorful table accents:
1. Remnant Fabric: When you talk about fabric in conjunction with tablecloths, the general idea is to use a small piece as a tablecloth. Instead, try using 16"-24" sections running across the table instead of down the length of it (like a runner would). You can switch them up, change them out and mix them all together!
2. Scarves: They're everywhere and at ridiculously inexpensive prices. They're so popular they're even going clearance before they can all be purchased. Try picking them up in pairs (or more) to use in the same manner as the fabric above. They're also easy to dye if you happen upon some that are a little more boring in color. Just make them what you want with a little RIT!
3. Thrift Store: Although you probably won't find too many high-end tablecloths, there's a good chance you'll find fabric, sheets or vintage clothing that can be repurposed for table use. Make a runner from thin strips of fabric or go for a patchwork look if you aren't finding anything large enough to use outright.
4. Nature: It doesn't get any less expensive than free. Headoutside for sticks, leaves, flowers and plants. When you're outside it won't feel like much, but bundle it up and bring it in and start playing around. You can even grab moss or mushrooms! Just make sure dead things stay dry and live things stay hydrated (seems simple but it easy to forget) to make your setting last the longest.
5. Auctions & Estate Sales: The older you get, the more stuff and things you acquire. Garage sales, estate sales, and auctions yield great frugal finds.
What bargain tips and tricks do you use? Share your secrets in the comments below — we promise we won't tell!
Related: Eddie Ross On How To Set the Table
(Image: Eddie Ross)