Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Elements of Style ~ Setting a Beautiful Table

For some reason, I have always thought that everyone could decorate, kind of like doesn't everyone collect home/shelter magazines?

Does this happen to you?

A January "Snowman Tea" I held at our house a few years ago.

Well, over the years I've learned that NO not
everyone can style a beautiful table so... perhaps that's why we have those aforementioned shelter magazines.

Magazines like Romantic Country Style, Romantic Homes, French Country Style, Country Living and

[British] Country Living, along with my personal favorite Victoria Magazine, introduced to me by my mother

when I was newly married, help us "see" elements of good design.

Setting a beautiful table 

Begins with bringing out your most beautiful china. For someone who has just moved into their first apartment that might mean using your parents' hand-me-downs and a few new pieces that you found at HomeGoods while browsing with your mother.

For someone just married, maybe you received a few place settings towards your eventual goal of twelve. Bring these out and try mixing and matching with your usual kitchen china to start. Begin collecting slowly and when you go out with your girlfriends to shop the thrift stores or on day trips to flea markets, see what interests you and buy a few pieces.

One never knows where our hearts will take us when it comes to the pitter patter palpitations that finding a lovely old Haviland plate (with tiny rose garlands
encircling the edges), or a Bavarian pre-WWII creamer and sugar bowl set (with the tiniest of lavender pansy bouquets on each side).

I don't know about you but these lovelies make
my heart swoon!

I know my china has evolved from my first set of Villeroy and Boch tableware called Botanica. I still use this set as my everyday china but I tend to use my white china more often now.


See the white china here?  I found these at TJ Maxx several years ago. You can find similar pieces at HomeGoods and other retail centers.

The next element of setting a beautiful table

This involves having a lovely tablecloth (or two or three!) layered on your table as our second element. It's up to you if you like your tablecloth ironed or not. like mine ironed, in truth, but I'm usually running around trying to get the food finished on tea mornings, so...

Mine are usually not ironed and as per Ms. ShabbyChic herself, Rachel Ashwell, rumpled
is just as beautiful! (Thank goodness!)

Spend some time at after-Christmas sales 

Gathering a small but mighty collection of linens at after-Christmas and holiday sales. When you go antique browsing, tag sailing (my pun on "sale-ing", sorry!)and to everyone's favorite thrift-shopping, look at the linen aisle and check out potential diamonds in the rough.

Many stains can be washed out with a lemon juice soak
or with today's oxygen removal detergents. I love OxyClean for its ability to soak out stains without damaging fabric fibers. Perfect for antique and vintage linens!

Most old linens can't hold up to soaking in bleach and bleach break down the already weakened fibers from age and general use when vintage linens were in their first life.

I have had to soak some tablecloths up to a week in a bucket or in our laundry room's sink tub, but that's an amazing way to save a ton of money on table linens. You don't have to always buy new.

Set a table with en fleures

Bring to your table the prettiest in-season flowers from your yard or from the local flower market. Grocery stores and big box grocery places do carry good flower bouquets and when they are fresh are just as lovely as those coming from the bigger flower markets.

I will stop by my local Ralph's and pick out what I want and just pay per stem. I've done this for several years and then I get exactly what I want in my bouquets.

Please DO share your table-settings with me! I'd love to see them, your china patterns and your bouquets. 

French Ethereal is on Instagram and Twitter as well as my Facebook page: @BFrenchethereal. Please come share your lovelies with me!!! And, as always, feel free to share my posts with your friends.

Have a lovely day today 
and have fun dressing your table!
I'll be creating a new Easter table-setting for you
later this week,

Will be sharing with ~
Feathered Nest Friday ~ French Country Cottage
*Roses of Inspiration ~ The Enchanting Rose

Hugs and blessings,

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I am so glad you stopped by today! I appreciate your leaving me a comment, thank you.

Happy hugs to you,
Barb :)

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