One of the best places in your home to showcase the bounty and beauty of autumn is on your dining table. I think of this wide open plane as a ready-made stage just waiting for a show-stopping presentation that celebrates the colors, textures and iconic images of fall. We had a blast at Nell Hill’s creating four different fall tables to inspire you:
The Nell Hill’s style is to mix rustic and refined elements together to create a multi-layered display that’s rich and rewarding to view. This table scores on all levels. The casual table sets the tone, with its warm wood tones, black accents and mix of organic materials. We started with a dramatic centerpiece, tall and breathtaking, but not so large as to make cross-table discussion impossible.
I’m in love with these faux antler candlesticks! Fall is my favorite time of year to pull in hunting lodge pieces like these because they look so wonderful with the autumnal color palette. For fun, we topped the candle holders with little faux gourds. We filled in the natural arch made by the antlers with a tiered server, which adds to the visual height of the centerpiece and provides a great place to serve dishes.
For a fabulous visual feast on your table, layer up your place settings, mixing formal pieces with the everyday, like we did here. Napkins turned on the diagonal are ideal – and easily laundered – placemats, giving you a chance to bring in some fun pattern to soften things up. These wicker trays are some of my favorites, and I use them season after season on my own table because I like how they ground the place setting and contrast with formal dishes.
Want to elevate the look of your table a few notches? Cover each place setting in a cloche. Anything put under a cloche is instantly transported to the sublime. Try this Nell Hill’s trick: Top each place setting with something unexpected, something whimsical, like we did here, tucking a gourd in a cup.
Fabulous Fall Colors
Blue and orange is a killer combo for fall decorating, and this lovely table does one better by adding in shades of green. We took our color cue from the gorgeous leather benches and intriguing winged back host chairs. Because I can’t resist blue and white pottery, these matching jars were a natural pick to create this simple but stunning centerpiece. All you need is one, two or three gorgeous vases, cachepots or ginger jars filled with faux fall foliage, and boom, you’re done.
To create an intriguing table setting, we mixed bold, contemporary dishes with fine, traditional glassware.
Notice how the super cute napkins rest beneath the dinner plate, then tuck under the large white charger? Experiment with napkins – there are so many inventive ways to thread them into your place settings.
You don’t have to fit all your serving pieces on the table when you entertain (good news for those of us who like to go a little crazy with the centerpiece!). In fact, I jump at the chance to use a serving tray, like this vintage cutie.
Berry Pretty Fall Vines
The flowers and berries of fall provide lots of inspiration for fall displays. We added a small berry dotted wreath to our tower of dishes for a fun twist. (Notice the little gourd peeking out from the coffee cup?) The wooden chopping block used as a charger gave us another way to bring in organic materials to this clean table treatment. What do you have on hand you can use to ground your fall table settings? We have used chalkboards, trays, thin rounds of wood, mirrors, and even sod!
I like to mix several dish patterns when I build place settings, like we did here. The white, green and orange palette feels as crisp and clean as a fall day.
Honeysuckle vine wreaths are a perfect pick for fall. You can use them all over your home in unique ways. Hang them from the backs of dining chairs with fall ribbon, from window sashes, interior and exterior doors, the garden gate.
Make the memories of your dinner party last by giving your guests small gifts. I like to include these little tokens in the design of my table, like we did here with these picture frames.
Propped in acorn festooned fall bowls, the frames may be small, but they are the stars of the show on this table, giving it vintage charm.
To carry on our theme, we picked a trio of dishes that celebrate the past: Majolica leaf chargers, gold rimmed china dinner plates and brown transferware salad plates. The cloth napkins, with their contemporary pattern, are unexpected but perfect.
Next week … When you have beautiful bedding, jumping into bed each night is a dream come true. I’ll have 7 stunning looks to tempt you.
Linda saysAugust 25, 2014 at 12:04 pm
You ALWAYS get my creative juices going. Your fall inspiration was just what I needed to get thinking about the coming season.
With more time on your side, now that you have downsized, (hah)
I can’t wait to see what you create.
You are a special blessing!
Kate saysAugust 25, 2014 at 2:22 pm
Is there anyway I can call the store and order those faux antler candle sticks? Thanks!
Beulah Hendrix saysAugust 25, 2014 at 2:25 pm
Those dishes and cups in picture 6, 7, 8, & 9 with the orange, gold and green swirls on them reminded me of some I received for my wedding 50 years ago, are they new or vintage, mine were called Tam O Shanter, something like that name , I don’t have any now through the years with three sons mine have broken or chipped, I loved them and these pictures brought back so many good memories.
Makes me want mine back, Thank You for those memories.
Sue saysAugust 25, 2014 at 2:34 pm
Fall is my favorite time of you and your tablescapes are gorgeous. I’m hoping you will give us some fun and cute Halloween table ideas. Always enjoy your blog!!
Kathy Johnson saysAugust 25, 2014 at 2:47 pm
Your design ideas are beautiful but not affordable or practical for the average homemaker – sorry Could you do one or two with a “design on a budget ” theme?
Suze saysAugust 25, 2014 at 2:52 pm
I love anything with acorns! Where did you find those gorgeous acorn festooned bowls (with pic frames in them)? Can I order them via phone?
franki saysAugust 25, 2014 at 4:38 pm
Just looking outdoors provides SO MANY objets de art…free!! I’m currently spray painting pine cones metallic bronze, selecting hydrangea to spray gold with an over-spray of metallic rose…just bronzed some “free range shed” antlers…your tables just get the creative juices flowing!! franki
Jean Waldrop saysAugust 25, 2014 at 7:39 pm
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. All the tables have me wanting to entertain. What color is your dining room? It is just fabulous?
Ginny saysAugust 25, 2014 at 9:08 pm
I love the acorn bowls, as well! Could you please share the information about them? XO
Pat BONHAM saysAugust 26, 2014 at 6:36 am
Simply Magnicent. Planning a trip over to Kansas City next month and plan to stop by to one or more of your stores!
Paula Gerlach saysAugust 26, 2014 at 8:59 am
I fell in love with the yellow and blue stripped chairs in the “second look”. Is this a fabric that you carry? If so, may I ask the price per yard and the width of the fabric? Thanks very much. Love your weekly emails!
Mary Carol saysAugust 27, 2014 at 8:03 pm
Hello, Everyone! Thanks so much for your comments and ideas and stories. I love them all! Now, to answer a few of the questions 🙂
Kate, Suze and Paula, yes, please call our store to find out about ordering the products you fell in love with in the blog. Our toll free line is 877-746-4320.
Beulah, I loved your story. I have that same reaction to dishes and other things. This set is new, not vintage, so no chips or cracks!
Kathy, yes, we “go for it” when we design displays at the stores and for my open houses. Our goal is to inspire and show what is possible. But, not what most will want on their tables year round. I love the idea of a blog for design on a budget – I’m going to put that in my blog schedule for 2015!
Franki, as always girl, love your ideas!
Jean, my dining room is painted a wonderful navy color called Twilight, from my Mary Carol Artisan Paints line, available at both Nell Hill’s locations.