It's fun to set an elaborate, awe inspiring table now and then...but let's be truthful... most of us don't dine like the Downton Abby bunch every night!

That got me thinking... What if we had a "formula" for setting a pretty, tasteful table that could be easily duplicated and embellish at a moments notice... one that was so easy we would all want to use it for an everyday meal or company. One that we have tucked away in our minds so setting a table would be a breeze!

Over the next year I'm going to set a table each month using this formula, adding seasonal touches but keeping the "basics" the same.


Here are 10 steps for making that happen...





1. CHOOSE AN EASY FOUNDATION

My round kitchen table is set for four, but it could easily be set for six as well.  Because I want this table to have a relaxed feel I used two runners (Pottery Barn) instead of a table cloth. I don't have to iron them as I would a tablecloth.





2. USE WHITE DISHES

The real secret to this table is to use white dishes! White dishes are cameleons! They can work into the background of any table setting... they play nicely with anything you put on the table on the table!







I collected these interesting white dishes (HomeGoods) with a thick raised design border. Lots of interest without adding an additional color.







Use dishes from the same set! This is easy-peasy... they are already sized to go together!










3. CHARGERS AND PLACEMATS

Chargers and placemats are not a "must" but they give a boundary to each place setting.






I chose one with an organic feel. Chargers and placemats can be quite inexpensive, so they are fun to change out!







4. USE YOUR EVERYDAY FLATWARE

Just make sure your everyday pieces are in good shape. Remember we are setting a casual table... so silver or special flatware is not necessary.

My flatware (Oneida Outlet) is years old! It has a good weight to it and works with almost every table I set.

If you don't have a good everyday set of flatware, now's the time to start looking for one.







5. USE CLOTH NAPKINS

Cloth napkins make the most modest table look more upscale! If you are just starting out, choose the best white napkins you can find. White crisp napkins will elevate any table.

For this casual table I chose these Indian print napkins (HomeGoods). I tend to gravitate to greens and an organic feel when setting an everyday table.







The napkin ring is a jute string tied around it. Very unexpected and fun!






Come back tomorrow and I'll show you how to make this easy napkin flatware pocket.


6. FIND ONE GREAT GOBLET

My bubble goblets go with almost anything. I picked them up for 97 cents each on sale at Reading China And Glass. Again, not fancy... but very versatile and pretty!








7. MAKE CENTERPIECES SIMPLE

Remember this is a casual table... you don't need to have an elaborate centerpiece! 






I used these little topiaries from my dining room as the centerpiece.  Shop your house to see what you can find!











8. FILL THE LEFT CORNER

I think filling the left corner of each placesetting gives it balance! Today I filled it with tiny salt plates and wooden salt spoons.

Each month I'll show you some other fun ways to use that lonely left corner!








9. USE AT LEAST ONE OTHER PIECE TO FILL SPACES ON YOUR TABLE

I'm using a white woven bread bowl (local food shop) as "fill" in this tablescape. It gives our eyes something else to look at and will hold offerings of crusty bread.








10. MAKE CLEAN-UP EASY

A table isn't casual if you have to dry clean or hand wash items on the table.  Extra work like that makes me not want to set a pretty everyday table!

Everything must be easy to clean-up and put away! Be kind to yourself!








 
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