For my first foray into interior design, I wanted to start small. I chose to begin with my dining room, so I can have friends over for a dinner party.My table is less heirloom-quality and more like basic Ikea. Functional, yes -- but not exactly impressive. Fortunately, I found out that one of the easiest things you can do to to spruce up and add character to a room is decorating the table. I come from the "less is more" mindset, so you won't find my table cluttered with unnecessary decorations -- after all, the dining area should still be functional.I recommend starting by getting a tablecloth with a smart, summery design -- it will add an instant punch of color to your dÃ©cor. Tablecloths don't cost much -- and, to be honest, they offer an easy fix, as they really don't require much work on your part. For example, create a splash of summer for when you wine and dine with this earthy and brightly-striped Crate & Barrel Sausalito Tablecloth (seen at right). Sprawling this lovely linen across your table will give your dining area the perfect touch, and can easily be accented with nature-inspired pieces, such as palm napkin rings or a wooden serving platter.
The floral touch
Flowers offer an additional simple dÃ©cor pick-me-up, and are also relatively inexpensive. Orchids are all the rage this summer, as they are the ultimate look of luxury. They tend to be a bit more expensive than your typical bouquets, but can usually be found locally at a florist or a grocery superstore.If you like a nice little challenge, you can also buy orchid plants. Consider these more of an investment, as they will add a lovely touch to your table for company, but you can keep them for yourself after your guests go home.Lilies are another festive, simple flower. Though they are typically white and won't necessarily add a burst of color, they provide a crisp, clean look to a table and room.
Fill your glass
Another table decorating trend is to fill big, clear vases with lemons or limes. This will provide a color theme for the party or the room as a whole, and also looks fresh and summery. This especially works well if you're going to accent your party with citrus shades of green and yellow. A bonus: lemons and limes are inexpensive and easy to find.If you want to create a minimalist beachy look, consider pouring real sand -- or even salt to create the illusion of real sand -- to some martini glasses or simple water glasses. You can be creative and add in shells or even little umbrellas to these tiny terrariums, depending on how informal or formal you want your theme. Fill a contemporary, thick-walled vase -- like the handblown Perception Vase from Crate & Barrel, shown below -- with small rocks or pebbles and long-stemmed flowers. Any of these suggested combinations will create a very classic twist on bringing the outdoors in.
Keep it simple
Any one of these suggestions would work well combined with others or all on their own, but if you're unsure of what types of decorations to use, or how to integrate everything, stick with the "less is more" concept.Also keep in mind that sometimes food can be its own decoration. If you have beautifully-presented and colorful food, don't hesitate to let it take center stage, playing its part as your primary dining table dÃ©cor! (Want ideas? See some recipes that include edible flowers here!)
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