Simple Things: Dressing Up Tables

This post is sponsored by Piglet in Bed. They make linen bedding as well as tableware products, and they have made my natural linen tablecloth dreams come true. I chose an oatmeal hue to match our charcoal gray linen napkins, gifted to us on our wedding day. The linen tablecloth is made from natural stone-washed French flax, and are absolutely soft. They haven’t yet shrunk, although as a general rule of thumb, I hang all my linens (napkins, couch covers, bedding) to dry.

I am not one for frills, but I occasionally dabble in dressing up tables for the sake of adding a little extraordinaire to our otherwise simple and mundane lifestyle (not at all insinuating boring or sad – we are quite happily mundane after all). And when I say dressing up tables, I duly mean throwing a textured linen tablecloth over the well-loved, heavily dinged farm table that we salvaged from our wedding, and then calling it a day. Or rather, an indoors picnic, a festive party, et cetera. I festoon upon said linen tablecloth all the ceramic pottery we own from our ever-favorite, East Fork Pottery, and the traditional cafe glasseware that I bought from Ikea, having upgraded my water glasses with a spare $20, after drinking from hand-me-downs for over a decade. We really are on the come-up.

Jokes aside, I count the linen tablecloth as a necessity in a minimalist’s arsenal – not because I feel like tables must always be dressed, but because it is a nice way to switch the look (and feel) of a space without having to buy an entirely new table. To think that folks of my generation and age-group don new dining tables in a similar fashion by which they don new clothing makes me, at-once, weak at the knees. Forgoing all of that in lieu of paying back student debt quicker, I rely on what my mom’s generation used to make mess-cleaning easier. What once was a brown setting is now a rustic bone. Tablecloths stash quite nicely, folded, in the tiniest spaces, and look just as good pulled from their hiding in all their crinkled glory as they do ironed and steamed to perfection. That, and the argument that linen tablecloths are multi-functional and earn their keep in our already tiny home.

Here, a repertoire of all the things tablecloths can be.

  • A vintage linen blanket on a bed. Parachute ones sell at over $200 a pop.
  • A picnic rug, if you don’t mind the grass stains.
  • A backdrop for still-life photography.
  • A means for an escape route from the second story, in case of a fire.
  • A make-shift curtain, to separate spaces or to keep nosy eyes out. Erin Boyle shows the way.
  • A hammock for a cat (we have yet to try this one out).
  • A knapsack for all your farmer’s market finds.
  • A rug, for when you want to repot your plants but wish to make the clean-up a tad easier.
  • An outdoor canopy on a small-city balcony.
  • A couch cover, on days when you dog-sit.

And when it’s lived it’s last breath, here’s a few ideas of what they can become.

  • A table runner, if only a portion is left unstained.
  • A set of napkins, cut into squares and sewn around the edges.
  • A patch on a quilt, because linen quilts have made a come-back.
  • A number of dish cloths.
  • A bib for toddles and babies.
  • A shirt, if you know how to sew.
  • A scarf, because it’s just the right length.
  • And lastly, fabric for a re-upholstery project, perhaps on a dining chair?

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