…building a room: secret dining room table easy-fix

The budget for furniture is never really there, is it? It always seems like an extra. Especially when it comes to a dining room table that we don’t seem to use much. When I was moving into the home that we built 3 years ago I had most of my rooms planned out in my head and a storage room of accents & casegoods in my in-laws back room waiting to go in. I didn’t have a dining room table, however, and I knew DH was never going to agree on buying one before the big move. What to do?

This is a little secret that my MIL told me about so hope she doesn’t mind me sharing. I bought a round folding table (can be found at Ballard Designs for not much) and put a tablecloth over it and then a soft, white cloth over that. I decorated it with a large urn and put painted chairs around it. It was beautiful!

This is the look (via Pintrest as I can’t seem to find a shot of the one I once had)


This image shows a glass topper, but you certainly don’t need that to make it look finished. I didn’t have one. I would recommend a large centerpiece as it is a room that will be seen as you walk by. If you have a few chairs to put around it then go ahead. If you do not have chairs I think that is completely fine.

Here’s another example with a fancier tablecloth.


When shopping for a tablecloth to make this look you MUST make sure it pools at the bottom. If it is too short you will see the cheap table underneath and your secret will be blown! I, in fact, wanted my table a bit larger and so DH cut a circle out of some plywood. I put it on top of my folding table and then draped the tablecloth over that to give it the illusion of a bigger table.

Don’t get too fancy with the tablecloth that you select. You don’t want it to look like a wedding or picnic table. Pick something solid & versatile – a neutral.

This is a super easy & clever way to dress your dining room without spending the money on a fancy table. Happy dining!


  1. Christen,
    You made me smile today with your table story.
    My wife hosted a bridal shower and needed a round desert table for the livingroom. Being a last minute guy I found the round plywood tops to be out of stock at the lumber store and on the way home I saw a formica table with chrome legs at a garage sale. 36 inches round w/o leaf and perfect for my “wedding cake” table.
    We laid a white tablecloth on it and used couple yards of white fabric folded lengthwise to go around the edge and go to the floor. We pinned the folded edge at the edge of the table to fall straight to the floor like a layer cake. We used tulle and rose piks around top edge and we were done. It was the hit of the party and no one knew would have guessed how ugly the table was.

  2. Marilyn in Mt. Vernon, VA says:

    Christen: Today’s post made me smile also, as it reminded me of my darling apartment in DC before I was married. I asked a friend to cut a huge round piece from plywood and placed it on top of an old but sturdy card table I’d found somewhere. Of course I didn’t have a tablecloth nearly large enough, so I bought ivory flat sheets at Hecht’s and sewed them together. Then I made a box pleat edging to go around the bottom. I wasn’t, and still am not, a sewing sort of person, but I got through it and it looked so, so wonderful. Thanks for the sweet memories! Marilyn

  3. Really nice work with the dining table. Your dining room just looks awesome. Your story about the dining table is really something I think everyone would have experienced in their lives.

  4. I LOVE your house!!!! Your style is so comfy and cozy. Please tell me where you got your chandelier in your dining room. I tried finding the name on your site but I have had no luck. Thank you!

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