In pursuit of a simple, fabulous, imperfect life at home.

Dress Your Table

Earlier this week, we were having one of those days.  One of those days that makes you wonder what you're doing and why and if you can even do it at all.  It was hot, and sticky.  The kids were miserable, whining at me and quarrelling with each other.  The house was a mess and I was on my 3rd load of laundry and it wasn't even close to lunch time.  I as overwhelmed. 

Where do I start?

I looked out the window and saw a single sunflower had bloomed in the garden.  I scrubbed the table and laid out my favourite white table runner, swept under the table and ran outside for the sunflower to put in a vase.

I dressed my table. An island of calm in the ocean of chaos.

I don't normally dress the table unless there are people coming, or I'm taking a photo for my blog, or my husband brings me flowers.  But this week I've been doing it after every meal. Scrub the table, sweep the floor, and put the runner and vase back in place.  It takes 2 minutes.

It may seem like such a little thing, but it is so nice to have one area of the house that is always ready to be used.  We don't have to clear off the table for dinner anymore.  Nobody plunks their stuff on the table and walks away anymore. It's one thing that is done and ready to go even when the rest of my to-do list is crumbling under the weight of a preschooler's temper tantrum.

Why not give it a try?  Lay out a favourite table cloth or runner.  Add a flower or a fruit bowl or an empty platter.   Keep it simple.  And let me know if it brightens up your home (and your mood) just a little. 

Thanks so much for Visiting the Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking!


  1. Wonderful idea. I love a clear table and a made bed. The rest of the house is "in use!"

  2. At out local Farmer's Market they have lovely little bouquets for a dollar. I usually get one whenever we make it. It'll keep in a small glass drinking cup on a white dishcloth for about a week. Even my husband notices!

  3. Great idea! Every little bit helps when we are having one of those days. I need to find a nice table runner. :)

  4. That's a good idea. I always feel better when my house looks nice.

  5. I always "dress" my table! I keep linen napkins (with napkin rings on) in a pretty dish and a flowery plant. It only takes a minute to clear away when setting the table for dinner where we eat every night and a minute or two replace afterwards...makes me smile whenever I walk by the room...

    And oh...the napkin thing?? Cheaper (and greener) than paper seviettes, easy to launder and hang out in the sunshine to brighten and good training for when we get a meal out as a family with my 9 and 12 year old :-)

    Love your blog!!

  6. What a great, simple idea! Thanks!

    I love reading yor blog!

  7. You are so spot on with this post! It's so true - I can feel it too when I do it in my dining room, and it's just a small thing that has a big impact!

  8. Your table looks beautiful. I love how nice mine looks when I put in a little effort to "dress" it, but I can't seem to stay in the habit of doing so. Thanks for the motivation to give it another shot! Hope you are having a great week!

  9. I love this idea! My hubby brought three flowers to the back porch table last night so the deer wouldn't get them. They do make a lovely splash of color - and we're delighted that we beat the deer to them! :-)
    Our one area that always seems to be 'company ready' is the living room, mainly cuz we use the family room, bedroom, and back porch. :-)

  10. I have a terribly ugly oval table that doesn't dress at all. :P I want a rectangle table, but have yet to find one that fits our budget and style. But some days I have a lovely bouquet of flowers and then it looks a little less ugly! ;)

  11. Great idea...will have to give it a try this week.

  12. I try to keep my table looking pretty and "dressed," too. I have a small house, a lot of kids, and a table that has seen better days. But even though its top is worn and and battered, the table looks pretty with a vase of roses (I have five rosebushes!) or a bowl of fresh fruit. If I have no flowers or fresh fruit, I polish a silver platter and put display pieces of china on it as a centerpiece. It always makes me feel better about my kitchen!

  13. Ugh, I know 'those days'. And they are especially exhausting when you're preggers!

    I hope you're feeling better!
    I responded to the email form of this post - but I don't think you get those. Oops!

    I just wanted to congratulate you on your little peanut on it's way! Did you say you're having another girl? I can't remember.

    Anywho! I was wondering if you've read, "Love The Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches" by Rachel Jankovich. If you haven't, I think you'd love it. It's been a real encouragement and refreshment to me with my 3 year old, 23.5 month old, and 6.5 month old.
    I'd love to know what you think!

    Be blessed today! YOU are a wonderful mama and wife!

    1. Hi! The email button at the bottom of the post is for emailing the post to a friend you'd like to share it with. If you want to email me directly you can do so at kelly imperfecthomemaking com!

      Thanks for your congratulations. yes, we are having a girl. I haven't read Motherhood in the Trenches yet. I've seen it around and been interested, but haven't gotten around to getting a copy of it yet. Now that you've recommended it I think I will!

  14. My grandmother used to tell me the fastest way to clean your room 80% was to make the bed. As an adult, I'm less concerned about a cluttered bedroom and more looking for ways to keep the public living areas of my home looking tidy (even if they're not, entirely). "Dressing" a table is a sure-fire way to do it. So is clearing your coffee table (it's in the center of your living room - if it's a mess, it's the first thing you notice). I've also found shuffling over-crowded coats from the coatrack to the closet a quick way to make the foyer look a bit more put-together.

  15. it actually does make me feel better. i have a cute little table cloth i never get to use because when people do come over its always for a holiday or a kids party and i have others to better suit the occasion. seeing my pretty cloth with a big bowl of nuts centered on the table is nice. especially after tripping down the hall over toys and walking past the laundry room over flowing with clothes waiting to be folded. the table is as you said 'An island of calm in the ocean of chaos.'
    Thank you Kelly :) <3

  16. This just proves how much the smallest things we do can have the biggest impact. I bought a table runner made by our Pastor at our church's bazaar last fall, and it has been on our table every day since then! I admit that I do not usually put flowers on the table, but I do keep a pretty basket of napkins on top of the runner that we use at every meal. Simple, pretty and functional all at the same time. I grew up in a hectic household and the table had to be cleaned off before every meal every single day! Not at our house!! Dressing the table with that table runner after every meal has now become part of my daily routine, along with making my bed every morning, washing the dishes after every meal and tidying up the living room before going up to bed. (My husband and two children are into the the routine, too). It's those simple and routine things that bring us peace and comfort each and every day... thank you for reminding me of how important it is!

  17. That list made me tired just reading it!!!! But it all needs to be done! Thanks for creating such a thorough list to follow.


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