5 Quick Ways to Dress Up Your Dining Room

By Cristina Cleveland

In the last few minutes before guests arrive, when I’m running around juggling several dishes in various stages of completion, I always find myself with just a couple of minutes to clear off my dinner table and make it look guest-worthy. Step one is always a quick sweep to declutter the table/workspace/catch all, leaving me with just a few seconds to style a centerpiece and set the table. Maybe you’re a much more put together hostess than I, but if this sounds like your pre-dinner party routine then here are some quick and easy tips to dress up your dining room.

Bowl of fruit – The quickest (and cheapest) center piece you can throw together is a bowl of fruit. I love using lemons because you can get 10 for a dollar, depending on where you live, and the bright yellow is hard to beat. Plus everything tastes better with a squeeze of lemon, so they never go to waste in my home. This Pop bowl by Kelly Wearstler is a splurge for sure, but chances are you have a large serving bowl or basket that can be pulled out for this. If not, I really like this porcelain basket bowl by cb2.

Flowers – When you aren’t serving a meal, it’s always nice to have a vase or bowl on the dining table. It doesn’t have to be a formal floral arrangement – branches, succulents, ferns, any plant can work. I just like to keep it something fairly light so that I can move it easily when I set the table for a meal.

Statement table & chairs – When you have a striking table and chairs you don’t have to do much at all to make your dining room look styled. A simple round table like this pedestal or the popular tulip table make a great base to be bold with your chairs.

Napkins & placemats – I definitely don’t use cloth napkins and placemats every time I make a meal, but for guests it is a 2-minute way to give your table a sense of occasion. A laminated plastic placemat like this cappellini gold placemat is quick and easy to wipe clean when you’re done, but still looks glamorous.

Plates – The patterned plates and bowls at Anthropologie and Target are super hard to resist, but I find that it’s easiest to stick with black and white dinnerware. And black and white doesn’t have to mean boring, you can play with shapes and textures, like these organic edge plates, and the great thing is everything will always match and coordinate.

Sources: photo by Chris Patey for MyDomaine, bowl Kelly Wearstler, table Overstock, napkins Food52, plates cb2, dining chair Se, flowers One Kings Lane