Simple Tips to Say “Welcome Home”
Many times, our dining room or breakfast nook is the first place that we see when we walk in our home. If that’s the case, it is also the first place that visitors see as well. For me, it sets a mood when I walk in the door. After a long, hard day at work, I really want those spaces to say “Welcome home…so glad you are here!” But unfortunately, many times we are glaring at junk mail, backpacks, keys, and my favorite – dirty dishes.
These are a few simple tips to help you keep a tidy table that will make you smile when you walk in your home.
Placemats and napkins set on a table make a huge statement. A plus would be to add inexpensive chargers. All of these items can add color or design and give you the impression that this table is set for something special. It may be true that linens can be pricey. Look for linens that may be used at least more than one season….just like your basic colors of pants – black, white and khaki.
An example that I have found is the black and white buffalo check that is so versatile now. I bought those for Christmas a few years ago. But since then, I found black and white décor in Easter as well as Fall. I have added a coordinating runner for a server and a small table topper for my coffee bar. I now can use this color scheme for at least three seasons. I also could incorporate some of these same pieces in my summer décor…with watermelon, a beachy look or for a graduation event.
Consider your linens an investment and think how many seasons you could use these. I have two tables and I swap my linens up between the two so that it is not always the same look on each table.
Napkin rings can be swapped up to create a fun look such as carrots at Easter or a more formal setting such as a sparkly red at Christmas or Valentine’s Day. If you do not have napkins rings, think of other items that may be used instead. I have used leftover ribbon before and it was super cute! I also have seen small flower pots (drill hole in bottom) in the spring. And if you have some that are not the right color, be brave and spray paint them. Plus remember that you can fold your napkins in many different ways so that napkin rings are not always required.
Quick tip: if you, your family or your guests are uncomfortable eating on the placemats, simply remove before the meal and replace when your meal is over. It only takes a minute or two and your placemats are back in place and no harm done!
Centerpieces are a must but florals are not. I enjoy swapping my centerpieces up using many different looks. Of course, I have invested in silk floral arrangements that can last for years. A special arrangement may simply be the wildflowers or greenery gathered in your yard by you or even better, your children! But sometimes, I want something different.
At times, I may use a tobacco basket filled with interesting items. At Easter, I have a white tobacco basket with bunnies and carrots and a little greenery. In the fall, I may use a wooden dough bowl filled with pumpkins, leaves and nuts. At Christmas, I enjoy seeing lanterns draped with holly or cedar, ribbon, bright colored ornaments and flameless candles.
Trays are also a good option when you have several small pieces that you would like to group together. Shop your home…you may have an interesting bowl, an heirloom of some kind, candlesticks, cake plate or whatever suits you. And remember, if you like it, go for it. You are trying to create a good feeling when you walk in and if it makes you smile, it is perfectly fine for it to be in the center of your table.
Several years ago, I bought some fun placemats in bright colors with pompoms around the edges. I also bought piñata napkin rings and paired those with some bright color napkins that I already owned. For my centerpiece, I bought a cactus from a home improvement store and put it in the middle. It made me smile as I reminisced about some special mission trips to Guatemala and Mexico every time I walked in the door. Mission accomplished!
Drop Off Space
Create a “drop-off” space for your family. If the table has been the place for those items that make you feel somewhat anxious when you walk in, come up with another space. Something as simple as a bowl or tray by the door or on the end of a bar can be the new home for your family’s possessions. A simple bench or shelf with hooks can easily be a place for keys, backpacks, daily mail, purses and computer bags. I have found that this new space eliminates the constant “honey, or mom, have you seen my “fill in the blank”? If everything has a home, then it is easy to grab when you are running out the door and do not have time to look for something. Be patient…it may take some time to redirect your family’s items. Gentle reminders will help them remember that the table is not the space for those things now. Eventually they will catch on, I promise!
Storing These Items
My last tip would be to create a specific area to store your table settings. Something as simple as a large storage box would work. A few drawers or shelves in a cabinet would also work.
Be sure and spot clean the linens before you store them and keep them flat to prevent wrinkles or creases. I like to keep my floral arrangements lightly wrapped so that they remain dust-free and ready for the next occasion. I normally store my napkin rings in small bags which makes it easier to locate 6 or 8 at a time. Since we are considering these items as small investments, it is best to take care of them and store them properly so that they can be used year after year.
I hope you see how simple it can be to keep a tidy table and creating a drop-off area for those much-needed items can create a peaceful feeling when you enter your home. We do not have to spend a lot of money yet it can make a huge statement. Our homes are meant to welcome us as well as our special visitors. Creating a sense of welcome is easier than we think.
Written by: Kim Smith
Rubies Home Furnishings