Creating a Simple Stylish Autumn Atmosphere & Pushing Past Your Fears

Our friends came for dinner last weekend and I challenged myself to dig through my box of autumn decorations and use what I already had in setting my table. And also add some little autumn touches around the house.

How many times do we entertain and run to the store to buy something new?

It doesn’t have to be that way.

One less trip to the store gives me more peace of mind when I’m entertaining.

– Find a tablecloth that works well for the season
– Pull out your entertaining dishes
– Iron up the cloth napkins
– Set the table early using what you have
– Keep the centerpiece simple
– Light the candle and take a picture before your guests come

Many of you know my philosophy of using standard white dishes year round, and adding seasonal accents to make every gathering in our home special and unique.

Along with pumpkins on the porch and autumn wreaths around the house, it’s sometimes the “little touches” that remind us of the season.

Pillar candle on the kitchen counter.

Simple leaf in a tiny vase.

Small black napkins in various places.

Fall-ish pictures of kids from “the old days”.

Touch of fall greenery.

Seasonal pictures of your own food, framed.

Do I ever worry about what people will think? Yes.

Did I worry about my tablecloth not being long enough on the ends (I bought this for my old table which was smaller)? Yes.

Did I think about my menu and second-guess myself? All the time.

But what I’ve learned to do, and what I want to encourage RE readers to do, is to push past your fears and remember this:

The heart of hospitality is wherever people feel loved, cherished, and valued.
(-The RE)

A stylish table can add to the evening, for sure, but it’s not everything.

What little reminders help you keep entertaining simple?

17 comments on “Creating a Simple Stylish Autumn Atmosphere & Pushing Past Your Fears”

  1. Pingback: 15 Fun Fall Projects {Natural Life Link-up} | No Ordinary Homestead

  2. You can see any picture, but until you actually look at it is so breath taking. Nice thought and will for sure +1 your site. Thanks for the thought.

  3. KIDS!!!!! :) They always find a way to humble me!

    Your little pumpkins are so cute and I love that photo of your son! I’ve been printing off the free downloads on Dear Lillie for each month this fall and putting them in a frame on the buffet- something new, classy, interesting, and totally free!

  4. Ha! I looked at that tablecloth and never thought “too short”. I thought, WOW. Look at the pretty striped borders. Look at the colors that were put together for that. I had lust in my heart. Still do. That’s a beautiful table setting and a verra fine post. Cheers!

  5. I’ve been living under a rock and just recently discovered your blog – love it!

    I’ve always been a sucker for holidays and decorating, but this year I have focused on simplifying EVERYTHING. One of the things that I have learned over the years – both from watching my mom entertain, literally, thousands of people throughout their 51 years of marriage, as well as from my own personal experience – is that people don’t really care about how it looks. The art of entertaining, the gift of opening up your home and sitting down around a table to share your lives over food (even if it’s a simple as opening a can of Campbells soup), is really something that has slowly been lost. The fact that you make the effort to invite people to your home speaks volumns to them, and while I might be worried about how the table looks or the fact that the biscuits are darker than I wanted, my guests never seem to notice or mind. They simply want to enjoy talking and catching up and spending time with us. Once I realized that people don’t expect a show place or a Martha Stewart meal, I relaxed a lot – and that way we ALL have a better time! :-)

  6. We also have white dishes, but last year I bought, turkey dinner ware, yep they have wild turkeys on them and I love them!!!! I have actually wanted to buy Thanksgiving dishes, since I saw a Martha Stewart show several years ago, and she had some beautiful ones. So I got mine too!!! We started with a linen table clothe in a neurtal beige color, put on a charger we already had, gold and I toned them down with some burnt umber paint, added my turkey plates, used our dollar store glasses, clear, and our yard sale glasses, olive green, used some turkeys we have collected over the years, and pumpkins for a center piece. and a wonderful Thanksgiving table scape. Thank you for reminding us to shop our homes because we are usually surprised at what we already have!!! We shop garage and yard sales all year long and I keep an eye out for seasonal decorations I can rework into something new and fresh for the season!!!
    Blessings ~~~~
    Curtis & Sherrie

  7. I too have white dishes. Love them. And your fall decorating ideas are great. I love simple. Your simple is very beautiful.

  8. I am a huge fan of white dishes, as they go with everything and it is one last part of the tabelscape I never have to worry about. I also love that you used things from around your home. One, it is less expensive and saves another trip to the store. And two, it makes things more personal and brings your families things to the table.

  9. How beautiful. I love the idea of holiday pictures. If I don’t have the time to dust and decorate, we turn down the lights and use more candles. It makes everything more special.,

  10. Oh Sandy! What a wonderful post…so loving and reassuring…your landmark style!

    I am with you on the tablecloths. I have various tablecloths…some too small, some too big. I just make the best of it…sometimes layering…and I don’t worry about it. Regarding dishes, etc., I mix and match when I don’t have enough, sometimes alternating them in the table setting. I do the same with glasses. No one knows I didn’t have enough matching…it looks like I planned it on purpose.

    For decorating, I don’t change my decor too much. I usually just focus on decorating my front porch with something that reflects the season and having a seasonal table center piece. It works well for me and keeps my stress level low.



  11. You don’t know how much I needed this post today. I am planning dinner in our home for several girlfriends next week, and I just keep stressing over what to do and how to do it and changing my menu ……….. Your advice to just relax and go with it honestly slapped my into my senses. =)

    Thank you!!

  12. Hi Sandy!

    I’m a bit late in the game with this, but I just wanted to say thanks a bunch for the 31 days post. It was such fun (and a blessing, too) getting to turn on my computer and know that I had such deliciously good content to look forward to between all you lovelies. I know that it had to have taken extra time, effort, planning, etc. etc. on your part, so please know that it was very much appreciated!

  13. “What little reminders help you keep entertaining simple?”
    Well, the inspiration that I have found here at RE is a reminder! I hear your words (from your blog, from your book) saying It’s about the people and It’s not about your house and Keep it simple and Accept imperfection and so on and so on… :-)

  14. I’m with you – white dishes, simple touches and not worrying about little things (like the ends of the tablecloth) make for a hospitable, warm environment. I find great pleasure in pulling out that old box of seasonal decor items, adding some fresh items like pumpkins and sitting back to let the evening unfold.

  15. i LOVE this Sandy! such a great reminder to use what we’ve got and keep things simple. we’ve also gone with all white dinner ware, hoping that we can decorate around it, year round!

  16. I’ve been in the market for a set of white dishes. Still looking.

    Your posts always make me want to do more entertaining … which leads to a question. How can you get your husband onboard, if he’s a bit of a less-than-social-butterfly? That’s the dilemma.

  17. This is encouraging. I am not in the mood for a big fall redo. I will take your advice and keep it simple =)

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