When it comes to creating beautiful dining table displays for spring and summer, I’m craving simplicity this year. I want my dining table at home and those at Nell Hill’s to reflect an understated elegance, uncluttered and clean but still fetching. Want to give your table place settings and centerpiece a fresh look for spring? Try these ideas. White and Bright

Anyone who knows me knows that I will never, ever live a calm, peaceful life. How could I? I like to go hard every minute and squeeze the last drop out of each day. So instead, I’m going to settle for tranquility in my table settings this spring.

I am crazy about this contemporary, restful table at Garrity’s in Atchison, aren’t you? The organic elements, like the rough table top, wicker chairs and tufts of spring grasses, make me feel peaceful (for a minute, anyway!). We wanted to show off the pronounced grain in the trestle farm table, so we opted against using a tablecloth, topper or placemats. The centerpiece couldn’t be easier or more attractive. We filled four sleek white pots with bunches of faux green grass that looks like it grew in a meadow in Ireland.

Each place setting features several layers, in the Nell Hill’s tradition, but they are simple – just an oversized square dinner plate, a salad plate and dessert plate, with a plain white linen napkin tucked in.  To carry on the curvy lines in the pots, we used silverware with a twisted metal design on the handles and clear water glasses sporting rings.

More White Done Right

We went for a charming vintage look on this table at Nell Hill’s Atchison. The tablecloth is beautiful in tans and cornflower blues. To play off the floral pattern in the tablecloth, for chargers we used darling aluminum trays that feature a chain of daisies around the edge. The shiny silver is repeated through the napkin ring and silverware.

If you haven’t yet invested in a set of white dishes, you’ve got to get some now. White dishes are one of our decorating building blocks at Nell Hill’s because you can achieve so many different looks with them simply by switching out your table linens, serving pieces, accent dishes, glassware and centerpieces. This snapshot is of my favorite set of white dishes. Simple and sweet, they look sensational with everything. Check out the selection at Nell Hill’s Online!

Here’s a snapshot of me holding my pet piece in this set – the to-die-for cute two-handled soup bowl. Notice the detailing on the sides and handles? Love it!

Birds of a Feather

Birds are another favorite icon of spring, so why not include images of birds on your spring table? We started with a white dinner plate, then added some accent pieces from this classic but cute set of dishes featuring bird images in a yummy cocoa brown. I like how this place setting has nice vertical height, topped with a teapot/cup combo. You could also place a faux nest on the top plate.

The napkins we paired with this place setting tie in the warm brown color but add an interesting new pattern. Reversible linens like these napkins are a great pick because you get can achieve two very different looks on your table simply by flipping over the napkin. Notice the little cup on the left of the place setting, filled with little birds eggs? To make your place settings more intriguing, add a little surprise or two like this one—something that catches your guests off guard and makes them smile.

Playful Color

If the warmer weather makes you feel like a kid, why not double the fun by setting a whimsical spring table? We picked an irrepressibly joyful tablecloth featuring cheery stripes (we sell this cute, cute, cute fabric by the yard at Nell Hill’s Briarcliff), then continued the fun with flower shaped plates in a spring palette. The place setting starts with an unusual charger – a chalkboard.  And it’s topped by an adorable teapot/cup combo. Notice the little flower-shaped salt and pepper shakers?

Spring Centerpieces Made Simple

I’m all about simple centerpieces this season. What could be lovelier, or simpler, than these three glass hurricane lamps holding small glass bud vases? Simply cluster a trio of glass vases, hurricanes or apothecary jars at your table’s center, fill them with iconic spring images like flower blooms, eggs or nests, and call it good. If you have a long, rectangular table, you could multiply your glass containers by three, placing all nine containers in a row going down the table’s center.

I often work rustic garden statuary into my formal table settings because I enjoy the juxtaposition of formal and informal. Steal a neat container from your garden or get a new one, then fill it with a large and leggy faux fern. Springy, dramatic and lovely–in just seconds!

Next Week … Easter is right around the corner, and I’ve got some fun ideas for making your Easter dinner egg-stra special.

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11 Responses to “A Menu of Beautiful Tabletops for Spring”

  1. Lisa Fernandez Says:

    Absolutely lovely and elegant yet comforting and do-able. Love it. Lisa

  2. Anne Tuckley Says:

    Thank you for your inspiring decorating ideas. I love this one!

  3. Marilyn Says:


    Concerning chargers: at home — as at restaurants — should they be removed before dinner is served? I’d really like to keep them in place, but I do remove them. Must I?

  4. Ju~ana Says:

    This is absolutely stunning! Can’t wait for the Easter design.

    Thank you.

    P.S. Although, I love the design of Yesteryear’s. Maybe, you can brings, some Romantic Vintage Design. :)

  5. Ju~ana Says:

    This is absolutely stunning! Can’t wait for the Easter design.

    Thank you.

    P.S. Although, I love the design of Yesteryear’s. Maybe, you can bring, some Romantic Vintage Design. :)

  6. B Freeman Says:

    Regarding the use of Chargers. Martha Stewart says they stay in use through the dinner course. Emily Post said they’re to be removed prior to dinner. So, I believe the conflicting answers allows me to do as I wish! Frankly, keeping the chargers “on” saves spills and reduces the necessity of washing & iron my linen tablecloth with each use. What a treat! I’d rather put a few more dishes through the dishwasher than run the washing machine & iron.

  7. Mary Carol Says:

    Marilyn–I say ‘Ditto’ to the comment B Freeman said concerning the placement of chargers.

  8. Ruth Ann Karlen Says:

    Love all your beautiful decorating ideas and especially the spring table tops and dishes. I can’t wait to visit the fabric area of your Kansas City store this summer or fall. I so enjoy your emails and decorating ideas.

  9. Rose Mary Dakovic Says:

    Love your arrangements and choices of objects. Always wonderful!!

    My husband (who rarely comments about my choices of any art pieces) loves the large silver desk lamp ($47.00). Returning from Wichita any time soon is unlikely to obtain one for him. Is there any possibility of mail ordering one from you for him??

    Rose Mary

  10. Julie Kelly Says:

    Love your tabletop decorating ideas for Spring!
    I am planning my son’s First Holy Communion luncheon…I’m going to use the colors robin’s egg blue and brown together for the table…any ideas?

  11. Susan Taylor Says:

    Mary Carol!

    We are kindred spirits in style! I also have a retail store in Bucks County, Pa. Many of your thoughts and ideas are similar to those that I have used either in my store visuals, or for store events.

    I also carry your line in my retail mix!

    Love running onto your blog and feeling the excitement along with the ties to style I feel. Thanks!

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