You know when people say they're going to "their happy place?" Like when its a stressful situation and they close their eyes breath in and imagine themselves on some tropical island, by the beach, or maybe on a mountaintop? Yeah, I do that too. I close my eyes and go to "my happy place" frequently when I need a break from the real world. Only my happy place isn't a mountain top, it's William Sonoma. Or Pottery Barn. In a 1998ish. In NYC With Harry Connick Jr. or Ella Fitzgerald playing in the background. Okay, basically its a Romcom.
You know why I love Romcoms? Not for the romance...or the comedy...or any of that. I love them for the real estate. People always have really great apartments and homes, and really great cocktail parties and tablescapes.
So while I can't live in an NYC romcom circa 1998, I can make my dining room feel like William Sonoma at Thanksgiving...and that's almost the same thing! So here it is, my Fall Dining Room Tour with sources!
I suppose I should start out with the furniture. My bf had the table in his previous house, I believe he inherited it from his mother. He actually has a matching bar to it that is in our basement. He loves the table and while I generally didn't love the decor he brought with him into our shared home (apparently his happy place is also a 1990's apartment, but one with black leather couches); I really liked this table. I do plan on replacing the heavy chairs with some more demure parsons chairs, and adding a bench to increase seating, but for now it works.
The sideboard was also a gift from bf's mom. It was his grandparents. When we purchased the home she offered to let us keep it, and I was thrilled. It has a little art deco style to it and actually pulls out into a buffet. I haven't used it for that, but it's a cool option to have.
I made the shelving unit myself last January. It was the biggest project I had undertaken at the time. I followed plans from Ana White and I just love how it turned out!
The curtains have been with me for a few moves and I found them at Tuesday Morning. Here is a similar option as they no longer have them. The rug only cost me $36 at BJ's (which is similar to a Costco or Sam's Club). I don't have a link, as they are the kind of place you have to shop in person, but they often have awesome rugs for a great price! Check them out if you're looking for one!
Okay, now for the decor. I'll start with the table. When decorating the dining room, I like to think about those big tables in William Sonoma and Pottery Barn. I love how they fill them with all kinds of beautiful candles, vases, flowers, and other fillers. I know they are doing it to display things for sale, but since I like the look of it, why not try to replicate?
To save money, I use the same gold runner from TJ Maxx and same gold vase from Target as a base for both my fall and holiday decor. I just swap out the florals. I got the leaves at Pier1 which is where I get a lot of my large flower splays for the centerpiece. Here is a great option from them as well. I also use the same metallic candle sticks from Homegoods (however these candlesticks from Joss & Main are similar and actually cheaper). Finally, I have a bunch of metallic votives from The Christmas Tree shop. All of these are mixed and matched through both seasons, saving me time and money. Get some solid basics, and switch out the details.
For the actual place setting I like to think about layers and texture for the fall as opposed to color. The rustic acorn chargers came from Walmart, I purchased them years ago, buthere is a similar option. I then use a basic plate on top. The basket weave plates are again old from The Christmas Tree Shop, but againhere is a similar plate that is almost identical. While both are in a more neutral palette, the textures really give the setting some oomph.
I have acquired several leaf plates over the years. Last year I used purple ones, this year I decided to go back to a more traditional fall scheme and used these orange leaf salad plates. Again these are old, but Target actually has some really cute leaf plates if you're looking to add to your collection. As you can see I really do consider decor an investment and save it from year to year. I'm going to use the purple leaf plates for appetizers for cocktail parties.
I switch out napkins depending on time of day and the meal. I sometimes use ones from The Grainhouse Collection at Christmas Tree, and I have a faux silk set from the dollar store but you could alsomake your own out of drop cloth. In many of these shots I actually used flour sack tea towels. You can even DIY your own custom design on them for fairly cheap.
It doesn't take a lot to make a table beautiful and if you consider them an investment you can add on each year and really create something elegant and festive.
For the shelving, I kept all the plates and cups, since this is my real storage. One of my favorite ways to decorate is to use every day objects. I find dishes, glasses, silverware and trays all beautiful. Displaying them brings me joy as I can picture how hard I worked to have the extra money to go on the hunt for a special serving bowl. Or I can think about a fun night hosting friends and the dish I served. I did add a little fall garland from the Christmas Tree Shop. Here is a similar one if you don't have that store near you. I also used copper mercury votives for a more fall feel. Otherwise this shelving is really as it was.
I had a little fun with the bar area. Again, I added a leaf garland from Christmas Tree. I kept the wine glasses the same as well as the votives. I like to create a triangle with the wine glasses. I think in a large group together an ordinary object like a glass becomes beautiful decor. It's also convenient for hosting because guests can just grab a glass if they need one and not have to wait for me. I found a copper pumpkin cocktail shaker so I added that and it gave it just the fall touch I was looking for. Again, I really believe in getting some good basic decor together and then just switching out the details. It really saves money.
The electric fireplace is from Home Depot. We got it in an end of season clearance but they still sell it. I like it because it has a window on both sides so it really throws light. It does a nice job heating the room too. It's just the right ambiance and I added that pipe to make it more realistic. As far as decorating I really love the rule of threes in decorating. It helps balance things out, so I decided to use three objects here. I got the swag from Homegoods, the pumpkin from Walmart, and the lamp was a gift but it really functions and we use it for power outages during stormy New England winters. Again, I like when decor is functional.
So there you have it. Am I the best decorator? No. Are there other blogs out there with far more elaborate fallscapes and better ideas. Absolutely. Nothing I've done is rocket science, but it is me. This room is truly my happy place. I come in here, turn on the fireplace, crank up the Ella Fitzgerald and enjoy a cocktail. Someday Meg Ryan may stop by and hang out with me, or maybe I'll have Tom Hanks for dinner. Until then, life is good in the little ranch house. Where is your happy place?