How to Style a Table | Week 5 One Room Challenge

How to Style a Table | Week 5 One Room Challenge

OHH MYYY… It’s Week 5 of the One Room Challenge and I am rolling right along with the dining room makeover. I’ll be showing you how to style a table as part of the design update. If this is your first time here, welcome home. To update you, every April and October the One Room Challenge gives designers and DIY’ers a chance to complete one room or space in their home and share it with the world. For me, it has created a great community of other bloggers and design inspiration to help me complete parts of the house I’ve wanted to do, but haven’t had the motivation or time. It’s forced me to actually DO all of the things I have been wanting to do.

If you’re following #oneroomchallenge or #bhgorc on Instagram you can watch all the fun (and mishaps) in real time. Make sure you check the Stories daily for tips and to vote on design choices!

Now that I've shared my blunders of the week, I some great tips on styling a table or styling a tray to set on a coffee table or dining room table. 


I cannot believe we are already at the Week 5 point. That leaves me with ONE WEEK to finish everything, photograph and blog it. But that’s the most fun part! This week was a winner. The rug was laid, chair rail was installed (thanks to my father in law and husband), filled, sanded and painted.

Here’s a glimpse of the wall color and chair rail thus far.

Dining Room Decor from the One Room Challenge

This week also brought a huge mishap. It was bound to happen. On a day that started out with work stress & tears, and having been up all night with a sick kid, I hear a strange clacking noise while I’m pulling frog tape off of the walls from my late night painting job. What is that noise? Oh sweet baby, the baby is rolling the paint roller back and forth on the rug and hardwood floor of the dining room!! In my late haste, I left the paint tray and roller on the floor and in the time it took to pull the tape, she found it, carried it into the dining room and started painting.

Here’s what I learned:

  1. ALWAYS CLEAN UP no matter how late or how tired
  2. HOW TO CLEAN PAINT OFF OF A RUG. Clean the spot immediately. Blot paint with a microfiber cloth to get off as much excess as you can. Then spray lightly water. Spray with OxiClean, let sit for 10 minutes and then blot it up again. Repeat. Don’t rub the fibers, it spreads the paint and pushes it down into the fibers.
  3. OUTDOOR RUGS in dining areas. I think my saving grace on this one was choosing the right rug for the space. I have always heard (okay, I read it at Pottery Barn) that if it’s a high traffic eating area, you should place an outdoor rug because it is easy to clean. And that advice is true.
  4. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. This is unrelated to DIY or design, but it’s a reality check. I could blame the baby, but it was my fault. I left the paint out. I wasn’t watching her. And she did what she does- explores things. It’s not her fault. It is 100% my fault. And while that sucks, I am not agonizing over it. I tend to stress about mistakes. But, I looked at the disaster, though “oh crap, it is my fault”. I said it out loud and a weight was lifted. I can move on. I have no bad feelings about it. I’m not beating myself up over it. Accidents happen. I cleaned it up the best I can and moved on.


Now that I’ve shared my blunders of the week, I some great tips on styling a table or styling a tray to set on a coffee table or dining room table.

First, I will give you a formula for what to include, then I will give you few don’t of table styling and lastly, I’ll link a few of my favorite sources.

  1. Something tall. Candlesticks, a hurricane or vase are a classic way to add height to the vignette.
  2. Something living. Flowers!! A living, green plant can make the whole room feel complete. When choosing flowers, go with a bunch of the same flower rather than an assortment of random flowers (unless you’re a flower stylist).
  3. Interesting Object. A sculptural object like a glass orb, quirky animal statue or small ginger jar adds interest to the table. It also makes for good conversation when you have guests.
  4. Stack of Books. My go to for having a place to put that decorative object is a stack of coffee table books. Place them strait on the table and set the decorative object on top. If you have a round table, make two stacks that are straight across from each other and in line with the furniture.
  5. Pop it on a tray. Optional. Adding all or some of the elements above to a tray is a way to add color or texture if you have a neutral space. Example: My dining table and chairs are dark so to add variation, I used a large colored tray to hold the elements and included a carved wood box of a lighter tone for texture.
via Apartment Therapy

Table Styling Don’ts

  1. DON’T Place books or art at a Diagonal. Straighten them to align with the edges of the table. If you have a round table, place objects in a cross pattern, in direct lines.
  2. DON’T Leave shelves empty. If you have a shelf below the table top, opt to store a small stack of books or magazines. Don’t go overboard.
  3. DON’T Overcrowd. Make sure there is room to breathe. Not every inch has to be filled.
  4. DON’T Leave out Clutter. You can use a small decorative box to hide tv remotes or drink coasters. Keep the clutter boxed up. It will also make it easy to find the things you need when they have a home in the box.
  5. DON’T Place the coffee table far away from the sofa and chairs. While this tip isn’t about the table styling itself, the general rule is that your seating should be 18″ from the coffee  or side tables. While seated, you and your guests should be able to easily set a drink down from any location you’re seated. You wouldn’t push your dining room chairs against the walls, so avoid doing it in the living room as well.

Favorite Sources

I’ll leave you with my favorite Amazon objects to style a table. I like a combination of store-bought, vintage finds from the thrift store, and interesting consignment items to fill the space. So grab one or two of these items and pair them with a Goodwill find for the perfectly styled table.


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