There are plenty of spaces in our homes where we style up an area and don’t touch it for weeks or months. We can just decorate it and forget it. Home decor on our bookcases or built-ins really don’t get moved around all too often (although we are forever tweaking things because we’re just crazy like that!)
But other spots that are used on a regular basis don’t get the same treatment. Like our coffee tables, dining room tables, and dressers. Because these areas are actually used (& not just looked at), we have to make sure they’re functional and don’t interrupt the flow of our lives.
These spots are by far the most difficult to decorate. Yes, you want it to look nice and pretty, but it can’t be overly styled to the point where it becomes a nuisance every single day. Our dining room tables have always fit into that category and we want to share how we handle this in our own homes.
Casey’s Dining Room Table
First, an update on our dining room table. We’ve now lived with the table and chairs for quite some time and I’m happy to report that we still love the choices we made. The chairs look good as new and are quite comfortable. And the marble is absolutely stunning.
I will say that we have to be very careful with the marble, and I don’t love that. Finn’s note to guests…”respect the marble.” Ha..I laugh every time he says that! But it’s true. Even though we sealed the table, using coasters is a must in order avoid water stains. And whenever we finish dinner on the table I have to wipe the entire table down right away, out of fear that any sauces or spills will stain the stone. It’s a bit high-maintenance, but it’s still worth it!
It’s also made me realize that I probably won’t ever choose marble for future kitchens or bathrooms. I think I would constantly be panicked that it was getting ruined during everyday wear and tear. But back to how we DECORATE our marble dining room table for the everyday! I have one word for you….TRAYS. They are a must when it comes to dining room tables (& coffee tables for that matter). These are so useful because you can place pretty items on the tray, and then when it comes time to eat dinner or use the table…you simply lift the tray and the table is clear! Just like that!
I originally had this silver tray on the table, and while I still love that tray, it didn’t work well with the marble. Something about the look was just too cold. Instead, I found this hefty wood tray from HomeGoods (here is a similar one) and placed it in the middle of the table. It adds the perfect amount of warmth to the sleek marble.
On top of the tray I usually showcase 3 things…
- Flowers or Plants
- A Candle
Each week I treat myself to fresh flowers from the grocery store. For less than $10 it sure does make my week a little brighter. Those fresh blooms often end up in the middle of our dining room table. It’s the perfect spot because it’s in the middle of our home and it’s what you spot right when you walk in the door.
I also ALWAYS have coasters on our wooden tray. This keeps them handy so we always make sure we use them when setting a drink down on the table. These marble ones from Crate & Barrel are a favorite because they’re a good weight. I hate when coasters are light and they stick to the bottom of a sweaty glass and then drop down with a clunk. That definitely doesn’t happen with these babies. Finally, a candle is always found on our dining room table. You guys know how much I adore this scent from Anthropologie because it fills your entire home with a fresh scent. I can’t get enough and have no plans to stop buying this candle anytime soon.
All in all, I really like the look of how our dining room table is “decorated.” It’s functional, yet still pretty!
Bridget’s Dining Room Table
Like Casey, I’m all about keeping our dining room table clutter-free & functional, yet still looking somewhat stylish. But unlike Casey’s, my dining room table doesn’t require coasters so my tabletop accessories look a tad different from hers.
I do love the idea of a tray corralling everything, but most of the trays that I’ve seen and loved are wood…which won’t work on my wood table. If I could find a sleek marble tray that doesn’t cost a ton, I would instantly add that onto our table. For now though, I switch off between two simple staples that pull the space together with very little effort.
My first go-to is a vase and fresh flowers. Like Casey mentioned, my table is also one of the first things you see when you walk in the door and having some fresh flowers front and center magically makes everything seem more put together.
Sometimes I’ll add a candle next to the vase but most of the time the fresh flowers are just enough to add a pop of style without cluttering the tabletop with extra stuff.
When I don’t have fresh flowers on the table there’s most likely a bowl of fresh fruit on there.
Matt eats 2-4 apples… per day(!) and so you can imagine how many apples we go through in a week. Mix in there some other healthy snacks like oranges, lemons (for our water) and any other fruit that’s on sale at the grocery store, and that’s typically the collection that is found on our dining room table.
I bought this bowl for $15 at HomeGoods but I linked some similar options above (like this one and this one). I love the texture and shape of the bowl and especially love the size. This versatile piece was definitely worth the $15 price tag.
And is it just me or does anyone else eat more fruit when it’s displayed?! I’m much more likely to grab an apple when I’m looking for a snack when they’re out on the dining room table instead of hidden in a drawer inside the fridge. Decor that doubles as a healthy treat… sounds like a win-win to me!
I love flowers on display and also love the fruit, but I rarely (if ever) put both on the table at the same time. I avoid this partly because it sometimes starts to look like it’s “too much” and partly because I’ve heard some of the acidic gases given off by fruits, kill (or prematurely age) the flowers.
Do What’s Best for You
So whether it’s a tray to corral your table must-haves, a simple flower display, or a bowl of fruit, we encourage you to choose the combo that is best for you and your household. There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to this design dilemma, but hopefully, our tips will expose you to some more options. Even a tiny touch can make a big difference!