Thanksgiving Tablescape on a Budget

I spend countless hours on home decorating blogs and Pinterest and see interior designs so incredible that they practically bring me to tears.
Then I price the components that were used to create a particular scene and cry some more, but for a very different reason.

After the tears have stopped, one of two things takes place: A. I take a look at my modest decorating budget and give up or B. I rearrange some junk, hit up my favorite antique stores and the Dollar Tree and (usually) I’m able to create a space that I love with items that I already have, or with a few new ones that I can afford.

Today, I pushed my emotions aside and powered through so that maybe someone would find this post inspiring and set a kick-ass table for the holidays.
You’ve got three weeks!

This is the table that we use for everything. On it you will find numerous splotches of glitter glue, red paint, hot glue globs and oil stains from soap cutting and other herbal concoctions that I make.

See? It’s a mess.

(Iris likes to hang out here, too.)

Of course, these tabletop imperfections are noticeable should anyone take the time to look but who cares? We live here and our furniture is well loved…Some of it’s even destroyed but look what it can still do?!

So, I used my everyday dishes, rearranged some junk, added a few new (ish) components and spent $79.42 to create what you see here.

These mismatched dinner plates were a gift from my mother.

Several years ago she sifted through stacks of vintage plates at our favorite antique store and created this lovely set. Mom and I were talking today about how much we loved the combination of patterns when she said, “There are so many beautiful single pieces available. Why shouldn’t they be used?”, and I think that is an excellent philosophy. Buy things that you love even if there’s only one of them.
Run-of-the-mill flea market dinnerware generally costs anywhere from $2-$5 per piece.
I should mention that my mother has the most beautiful, understated, classic sense of style. She’s also brilliant and has excellent taste.

Once, when my parents were over for dinner, my dad asked me, “Don’t you have anything that matches?”. The memory still makes me smile. And so do my wonky dining chairs.

Matching is overrated. Visual interest is important.

However, using matching salad plates, napkins and chargers will tie it all together for a uniform look.

Mom also loaned me her silverware and napkins for this project and we both decided that it’s ok to borrow pieces from family members when setting the holiday table.

(I do not own eight place settings of flatware because we use ours for important things like making mud pies.)

So this year ask Aunt Becky to bring her crystal goblets instead of that pecan pie.

The vintage amber glassware is probably my favorite element. The contrast is perfection.
I’ve never been a fan of amber glass that’s sitting on the flea market shelf, but it’s kind of like looking at a dress on a hanger- you’ve got to try it on to really know what it looks like.
My mom picked up eight of these at the antique store today for $15.

FYI- Fall AND Christmas decor is 50% off at Hobby Lobby right now, which is where I picked up these galvanized chargers for only $2.49 each.

Years ago, someone gifted me a huge collection of Rose Point China circa 1920. I love these dishes and use them every chance I get.
I even used them in my restaurant for dessert plates.

The most expensive element to this table is the seeded eucalyptus. I’m lucky to have a florist that will sell this to me at her cost. I spent $40 this time around but could have gotten by with $30 worth.
I don’t mind the extra and will use it in other projects. Greenery stays fresh for a long time, dries well and the house smells incredible.

A faux garland or silk stems will work if you can’t get your hands on fresh greenery. I’m also not opposed to using branches from the yard or pasture.

The chippy white shutter was a summer flea market find and is aged to perfection.

This aluminum pitcher is a flea market find and usually sits on top of a bookcase, but today it’s the star of the show. A piece that adds a little height to the center of the table is always a good idea.
I stuffed it full of yellowing Chinaberry branches from the pasture across the road, added a few stems of seeded eucalyptus and voila.


The little pumpkins used to form the ring around the pitcher were a whopping $4.50 at our local drug store.

The single stems of dried lavender from Tomanek Farms added a nice touch to each place setting.

You don’t need to spend a fortune on fancy dinnerware or furniture to create a look that you and your guests will enjoy. Use what you’ve got, go on a treasure hunt or two and have fun!

Notes- The antique store that I mentioned several times is an amazing place called Rustic Relics and is located in Quanah, Texas.
The lovely local drug store that I referred to is Shaw’s Pharmacy and is in Crowell, Texas.