In this post: Want to create fancy looking, pretty tablescapes, without the expensive tableware? Here are my 5 favorite tips for creating a no fuss, pretty table setting!

If you’re a bit like me, you very much enjoy a pretty table setting.

But I have to be completely honest with you, we do NOT decorate our table every night. 

neutral farmhouse dining room

On regular weeknights, I dish out each person’s meal at the kitchen counter and everyone takes their own plate to the table. Then each of us grabs our own utensils and a napkin (a fancy-schmancy folded paper towel) and goes to the table. Once we are all sitting and accounted for, we give thanks and eat. (When the kids were little, we made them sit at the table with Dean, while I dished out everyone’s dinner and brought it to the table.)

I don’t have the time – or energy – to pull out the chargers and fancy dishes from the cabinets on a typical Wednesday (or Tuesday, or Monday, or fill in the weekday). I have zero desire to make everything look extra pretty for everyday dinners. At least in this season of working at home, homeschooling and raising great teenagers, I don’t. 

However, give me an occasion (company’s coming, Thanksgiving, a birthday) and I will fancy up that table like nobody’s business…but only because I know how to do it with minimal fuss. 

How to Create a No Fuss, Pretty Table Setting

The first thing you need to know about creating a no fuss, pretty table setting is that it doesn’t actually have to take a lot of effort.

I know I just said I don’t have the time or energy to do it all the time. The reason for that is I’m lazy. Plain and simple.

I kid you not.

When you feed your family three meals a day for, hmm, let’s see, 18 years, just getting them fed is the name of the game.

But that aside, it really doesn’t take a lot to make a table pretty for any occasion.

And if YOU choose to make every dinner an occasion…more power to you, sister!

Anyway, what was I saying? 

Oh yes. 

No fuss, pretty table settings. 

There are a few secrets I keep up my sleeve for creating pretty table settings and I’m going to share them with you here. 

how to create no fuss pretty table settings

1. Collect Chargers

Chargers are those ‘things’ that you put under your dinner plates. They can be made of wood, or concrete or just about any material. You can find them at Michaels, Pier 1, Amazon and more. 

I like to collect mine over time. One set here, another there. The ones I’ve used here are from Pier 1 and were a gift from Dean for my 40th birthday. (Yes, I ask for house things as gifts all the time. I’m weird like that.)

My other favorites are wood slices. 

HML Log slice side banner img

If you collect chargers over time, you can take advantage of sales. The reason to keep a few sets of chargers is so that even if you have only one set of dinnerware, you can change up the look by switching out the chargers. 

layered napkins

2. Collect Napkins

The other thing I like to collect over time is cloth napkins. Again, switching these out can completely change the look of a table setting and they can be found on sale all the time. Some of my favorite napkin sets are actually from Indigo!

A trick for making your napkins look fancier is to layer them. I like to layer a patterned napkin over a plain colored napkin and pull them through a napkin ring. This eliminates the need to worry about too much ironing or pressing out wrinkles too!

Layered fall table setting

3. Layer Your Dishes

One of my favorite ways to get a pretty table setting looking fancy with minimal effort is to layer the plates and other dishes. 

Here I’ve layered my beaded white dishes with my grandmother’s gold-rimmed china and some fun Rae Dunn pottery. 

fall pumpkins in dough bowl centerpiece

4. Use a Low Centerpiece

If you can, keep a centerpiece on the table all the time. That’s one way to make a table feel fancy, even on weeknights. If you can’t leave one out all the time, make a simple one by weaving a seasonal garland with some faux fruit, or throw a bunch of grocery store flowers in a vase for whatever occasion you’re celebrating.

Just remember to keep it low, so your guests can see each other. There’s nothing worse than sitting down at the table to enjoy a meal together…and not being able to see who the heck is sitting across the table from you!

fall pumpkins in dough bowl centerpiece

There you have it! No fuss, pretty table settings for whenever you have the wee bit of time and energy it takes to create them! 😂

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  1. Such a lovely tablescape and what great tips. I LOVE those chargers. So very pretty. I still have such great memories of eating Chinese with your family in your old home. xx