Thursday, July 22, 2010

Get the Look for Less

I am often asked how to re-create stellar looks seen in magazines without spending major cash, so I hope you enjoy me sharing this “get the look for less” piece with you.    
The Setting:
I participate in a fundraiser event called Freedom Fest for the Woodford County Humane Society.  For this event decorators transform horse stalls (on a fabulous Versailles farm) into dining rooms as well as decorate tables under the main party tent where the guests can dine.  This year, I took on a table instead of an entire stall and here is how it all came together…

The Inspiration:

I was really taken in by this photo (House Beautiful).  I am a texture person, so this tabletop decor resonated with me.   I love to mix unexpected textures together or to have a simple color palette made more interesting by the textures of the pieces I use in a space.

The Real World:
I instantly knew the tree (pictured above) was not for me, but beyond that I felt that everything was easily reproduced and I focused on the centerpiece as a starting point.  During my one and only trip to IKEA, I emerged victorious with these 5 white vases in varying heights (IKEA Salong $7.99 and $4.99).  Having varying heights of vases is interesting but it lacked the punch I wanted, so I pulled out my old Napa Valley CD crates and turned upside down to create another level for the table.  The crates also introduced the wood element to the tabletop.  I wanted to incorporate moss to layer another nice texture and to provide some color to an otherwise demure centerpiece.   Beyond that, the goal was to keep the flora for the vases simple, much as Donna Karan did in my inspiration photo, so I simply relied on my local florist (Mellow Ellis, owner of the Cutting Garden) to work her magic and provide beautiful white flowers and simple greenery (flowers vary in cost based on the type you select).  Toss in a few twig balls (Pier 1 Imports $1.99 each) for a nice contrast to the vases and BAM! we have a snazzy little centerpiece.  

The next piece to my puzzle was each place setting.  The white ceramic plates I used were easily secured, compliments of my kitchen cabinets.  Now if you aren’t the proud owner of basic white dishes, you can find sets at your local Target, Meijer, Pottery Barn, etc ranging in price $25 and above.  For my tablecloth, I chose to introduce a new textile and texture- crinkled silk- in an off white shade (rented from a local linen company for $15.00).  The idea of having the stark white plates and off-white cloth sit directly against each other made me shudder, so I slipped in basketweave bleached burlap placemats to separate the two (Katie Brown collection at Meijer, $3.99 each).  A trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond produced basic cotton napkins in a camel color (Bed Bath & Beyond $1.99 each) that I haphazardly pulled through ceramic napkin rings (Home Goods $6.99 per set of 4) to top off the plates.  As a hostess I always like to provide a gift and in this instance I hand-painted dog and cat caricatures in silhouette form on a wine glass for each guest.  The simplicity of the silhouette complimented the rest of the table and the animal theme reminded the guests why they are attending the fundraiser- to raise $$$$ for the Woodford County Humane Society.  

I am a frugal-ista at heart so I cannot contain my excitement when I find a good deal.  And man, did I get a great deal on everything here!!!!   I challenge you to pull out that magazine photo you love and re-create it, too.   
Happy tablescaping*!
*I am known to make up words, but this is a real word. It actually refers to the decoration of a table.*


  1. Liz - you are so creative! I love this theme and hope you share more stories like this.