Every day is so darn precious. I know that sounds like a strange way to begin a blog about creating cute tablescapes for your spring entertaining. But the older I get, the more I believe that we have to be very deliberate about making time in our busy schedules to celebrate life’s amazing moments and the people we hold most dear.

In my family, those Kodak moments happen around the dining table, where we linger for hours after a good meal, laughing until our sides hurt. There is something magical about eating together, isn’t there? In this day of hustle and bustle, where we often grab dinner from a drive-through window, it fills our hearts to pause for a moment and enjoy a meal in someone’s home.

This spring, connect with people you love over a meal in your home. To inspire you, we’re throwing a Spring Tabletop Event for the entire month of April. We’re filling gallery after gallery at both Nell Hill’s stores with dining tables dressed for dinner. You’ll find lots of new ideas to inspire you to create a table that delights your guests. Here are four tablescapes to get you started.  


Table 1: Beautiful Blooms

This delightful tablescape is bursting with charm. It’s fresh and light, yet infused with enough layers to make it intriguing. You’ll want to hover for a few minutes to study it in depth so you don’t miss one little nugget. Blue, white and yellow just sing when they are brought together, especially in spring.  To start this treatment, we decided to soften up this very formal table and very formal glass hurricane by weaving in fanciful accessories. I love this wild fern wreath encircling the hurricane. Talk about a visually dramatic but crazy-easy-to-produce centerpiece treatment!

At Nell Hill’s we really like to intertwine timeless classics with today’s hottest looks. Check out how fabulous this blue and white transferware china looks with this bohemian yellow salad plate sliced in. When I look at this table, the first thing I see is this burst of marigold, and it makes me smile. When I create place settings, I like to make them tall and dramatic with a stack of interesting dishes and a surprise topper. Here, we decorated the summit with intriguing ceramic vases, which serve as unusual napkin holders. These little vases also look sensational holding a few flowers, like three daylilies.

These simple yet elegant vases are all the rage at Nell Hill’s this spring – they go out the door by the bagful. No wonder – we’re practically giving them away. For me, it’s not just the ridiculously low price that makes these little guys a gotta-have. It’s the fact that they have a tall neck and small mouth. All you need to do is insert one spring flower in each, and you are done. Spare vases like these are good to have on hand so you can throw together a great centerpiece in a jiffy.

Pretty stemware is a wonderful addition to your table. So as not to distract from the simplicity of the table, we went with clear glass. But blue goblets would also be lovely.  Check out the little yellow flower shaped votive holders tucked in by each place setting. When I decorate tables, I like to weave in little surprises. These votive cups, little sunbursts of color, could hold a candle or be used as salt cellars.


Table 2: Fun and Fresh

You cannot miss with green and white on your tabletop, especially in spring. It’s fresh, fun, infused with energy and excitement. On this table, we went for a contemporary feel bursting with pep, then shook things up just a bit by working in a few organic elements, like these wicker chargers.

Get ready – gold is back! This surprising glass plate edged in gold adds a bit of glam to our hip place setting. To top off this relatively simple stack of plates we picked these funky little lidded pots. We have these in a variety of colors at Nell Hill’s, and each is cuter than the next. You could put a battery operated candle inside for a dramatic presentation. Or, insert some candy for guests to enjoy after the meal.

To create shock and awe in a dining room, I often dress up the chandelier with greens and trimmings. Or, if there is no light fixture, you can also suspend decorative elements over the table, like these spring wreaths. Wow!

Here’s a close up of some of the faux florals we threaded into the wreath. Be careful when you use fake spring flowers – some of them can look really cheap and cheesy. Hold out for those that look so real you have to touch them to be sure.


Table 3: Tradition Revisited

I have friends who are lucky enough to have inherited china from their mothers and grandmothers, lovely old patterns with intricate designs. But they are stymied by how to use these vintage pieces, with their old-fashioned look, to create a more contemporary design on their tabletop. We took up that challenge on this romantic table that has the charm of yesteryear and the energy of today.

Our first step toward giving this floral china pattern a newer vibe was to pair it with some of today’s hottest colors: apple green and coral. We scored with our stack of chargers, which not only gave us loads of saturated color, they also brought in interesting finishes and shapes. This square white plate is a favorite of mine because you can reinvent it over and again on your tablescapes. This zippy green charger is melamine and super inexpensive. It’s a fun addition for spring and summer entertaining.

Cloche-covered risers are drama queens. Perch one on top of a place setting and, presto, the scene becomes magical. We put a fun little faux plant under the bell jar on this table. But you could also use them to hold a decorated cupcake for dessert. I really enjoy using place cards when I entertain because I think it makes my guests feel extra special to see their names beautifully inscribed on a card. I can see little place cards tied to the top of these cloches. The risers could even be a gift for each guest to take with them to remember your time together.


Table 4: Cosmopolitan Garden Party

Here’s a more sophisticated take on a garden themed table. Sleek, contemporary and stylish, it has a decidedly cosmopolitan feel. Check out the centerpiece – another treatment that is super simple to create yet will knock guests’ socks off because it is so darn bold. We took a metal trellis and placed it over a tall white vase holding faux greens. Done.

The place settings on this table echo strong structural lines, bold black and white patterns that complement one another and create layers of intrigue.

To  finish off with a bit of whimsy, we placed faux succulent plants on glass risers, then enshrined them under a cloche. The little pop of green is a nice contrast with the black and white palette.


Next Week … I’ll share some secrets for keeping your traditional home decor exciting and new.

P.S.  Hope to see you at both Nell Hill’s stores for the Spring Tabletop Event!

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17 Responses to “Fresh Spring Tablescapes Celebrate Life”

  1. Lisa Fernandez Says:

    Wow! Those cloche covered risers are dramatic for sure. Love it! So much talent. How lovely are these Easter tables. Beautiful as always.

  2. Maureen Says:

    Love your tablescapes! Do you sell those green melamine chargers? I love that idea of using china and melamine…it’s looks so beautiful and if you didn’t tell us, I wouldn’t know!

  3. Christine Deterding Says:

    I love receiving your blogs. You have great ideas. Please keep them coming. Have you ever done a blog on how to decorate above kitchen cabinets? Or do you think less is more?

  4. Ann Skantz Says:

    I will be bringing three neighbors that just moved to the area on Thursday to your Briarcliff store. They are excited about the table scapes.

  5. Diana Beggs Says:

    Love, Love, Love what you put together! Thanks for all your inspiration!!

  6. Debby Says:

    Absolutely beautiful!! Great ideas!! I’m definitely keeping all in mind for future fun functions I have planned! Thanks Mary!

  7. Connie Says:

    Each of the spring tablescapes is absolutely fabulous! Then the practical side of me comes forward. For example, consider the fourth setting. How does one gracefully remove the large cloche and the riser holding the succulents that are topping each place setting? I assume this is done after the guests have had an opportunity to view the tablescape , and before they are actually seated? It feels like an awkward moment to me.

  8. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Everyone! Here are a few answers for your great questions …

    Maureen, we definitely sell the green melamine chargers at Nell Hill’s. Come on in or, if you’re out of the area, give our personal shoppers a call toll free at 877-746-4320, and we can ship them to you. You will love them!

    Christine, great blog idea! I’ve written about decorating that tricky above-the-kitchen-cabinets space before, but not recently. I’m going to work it into the schedule! Keep the great ideas coming, OK?

    Ann, what better way to welcome friends to the area than to go shopping!! I hope I get to see you guys when you are here.

    Connie, your comments made me laugh. You sound like my husband, who always rolls his eyes when he sees what I’ve concocted on our dining table. Remember, we go big for displays at the stores. I would recommend that you welcome guests to the dining room first so they can oooh and aaaah over your brilliant table. Then, serve drinks in the living room while you then go back into the dining room by yourself and remove the extra pieces so that when you usher them back into the dining room, the table is ready to go.
    Love you guys!

  9. TrishAnne Says:

    Love your designs, it is always a joy to receive your emails.

  10. Sherry Cat Says:

    I look forward to your emails, your ideas incorporate the old and new so well, no one gets left out thinking I have to shop before I try that. Thanks for your inspiration! Setting down to a beautiful table let’s guests know you care enough to invest your time into their enjoyment. Have a Holy Easter and Happy Spring!

  11. Mary Carol Says:

    Thanks, TrishAnne and Sherry! Happy Easter to you, too!

  12. Loueen Sherwood Says:

    I so enjoy your blogs. I visited your store once while living in Kansas City and was amazed!
    I now live in Gainesville, Florida and the only faux flowers are from Michael’s. Need I say more?
    Is there any chance you will have a mail order catalog in the future? Will you be offering any more of your little design packages like you did last Fall? I didn’t get my order in fast enough to get one.

  13. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Loueen, as I write, there is snow on the ground in Kansas City, so I’m pea green with envy that you are in sunny Florida! We would love to still help you decorate your home! Our chosen method is to work with customers individually through our personal shopping service (free, always available!). Just call us toll free at 877-746-4320 and let us know what you’re looking for. We can send photos, and ship. We just favor this more personal touch — it suits us best since we are all “people” people!

  14. Pam Womble Says:

    gee, I have gone back over and over the last two blogs featuring your mantel and tablescapes. fun, fun, fun. I always enjoy my visits to NellHill’s every time I visit my friend Jeanne Dick in KC. just wish I could visit more often. Mary Carol, Jeanne and I visited with you the last time I was there back in September. It’s always such a treat to see you, your store and, of course, my special friend, Jeanne. till next time, Pam from Tennessee

  15. Phyllis Airington Says:

    Each table looks lovely.
    Would excite anyone that would set down to them.
    Your thought in bringing families together was very much needed and to enjoy being invited to attend something like what you displayed was
    heart warming.
    Thanks for the inspiration and I loved the little glass vases..
    When visiting your stores, you make everyone feel like a friend and have time for them.


  16. Bobbie Pullen Says:

    Thank you, Mary Carol. Your tablescapes are beautiful; they almost make me want to cook

  17. Brenda Kaiser Says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your blog with all! It has been a blessing this past year in my struggle with breast cancer. It gave me something to look forward to during my chemo treatments. I would wait until treatment time to open the blog to give me something to get my mind off the treatment. We are definitely celebrating life this year, as hopefully my treatments will be ending in the next 6 weeks. I can’t wait to visit your store in person!



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