Mix Matched Tablescapes

By Lynn Leake

The summer company has gone back home, the children have gone back to school, and the extreme heat and humidity have come to an end. It’s time to relax and take a deep breath before the next wave of traveling family and friends arrive to celebrate the holidays. Really, the only pressure in the near future involves a gigantic bowl of candy… not a bad thing. However, if you are starting to hear a faint gobbling just over the hill, then I’m guessing you have Thanksgiving on your mind. Our casual coastal lifestyle takes a lot of the pressure off entertaining and holiday decorating. Here in Coastal Carolina, opening our homes for guests is much less intimidating than the holiday dinner parties of the past.

Our living spaces are open and the dining area may even have a view of the football game. It’s unlikely that anyone will “dress” for Thanksgiving dinner, unless it’s to don the t-shirt that bares the emblem of the school or team you support. Tablescapes can be made of rustic natural materials and place settings can be mixtures of our favorite plates, glasses and silverware that aren’t necessarily a matched set, and in fact, probably aren’t. It’s a creative opportunity to decorate the table while making a personal color and pattern display. Since the rules have gone out the window, you can raid your house for likely candidates to use on the table. Personally, I have used many unlikely items, like a boho looking printed cotton throw that I twisted and weaved down the table top between candles and vases. There are little miniature bales of hay at craft stores that can be used as risers for flowers or even serving dishes. Put a larger-than-expected vase on the table with a painted tree limb to match your color scheme and voila! You are a decorator.

As far as the table itself goes, it has also become more rustic and user friendly. There are many finishes available on tables today that are beautiful in a very casual way; they invite us to look back and think about where the table might have come from, and who might have dined around it. Now, that’s not to say that all tables that have a reclaimed look are necessarily from another day. Beautiful and appealing finishes that appear to have some age on them could have been created yesterday, but it’s still a sentimental nod to the past that makes us feel nostalgic. Chippy, sanded, rubbed and waxed finishes aren’t just beautiful, they are amazingly practical. Whatever happens, it just adds to the character, and a little tinted wax can cure any inadvertent mishap. Layers of paint and wax with either real or contrived wear and chips of paint that reveal other colors underneath possess character that reminds us of the countryside and a simpler time.

Let that company come from around the country and see the relaxed, pleasant lifestyle we are fortunate enough to enjoy here between the river and the beach. You can express your personal style in the simplest and most charming of ways that make people feel at home under our blue skies and magnolias while drinking sweet tea on the porch. Start now, in the down time between visits, to think about what to paint or sand and how to layer your treasures on the table.

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