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  • Writer's pictureLisa from MollyMac

Table decoration inspiration - Six ways to make your table decor fabulous

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

And why the woman who invented the Table Runner was a genius!

I don’t know her name (I’m guessing it was the woman who was in charge of doing the laundry) but whoever they were, that person was extraordinary. An unsung hero, a master of design, a tabletop legend and we at MollyMac are her humble followers and we want to pay homage to her cleverness with a few suggested ways of exploiting that magical interior decoration dream, the dinner party star, the item that makes a party pop, a cover that sings style and themes an event. The woman that first came up with the idea of using a table runner instead of a tablecloth was a genius.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a tablecloth, but it is a bit more work when it comes to cleaning up after the feast and everyone who has done the washing-up since then has been jolly glad that the table runner exists. I’m a big fan myself. Apart from being so much easier to wash and iron, a runner adds a little extra design and pattern, isn’t too overwhelming and you can put it on the table in a flash and be ready for your party. If it is in the centre, it won’t catch too many spills and if you do something a little more unusual, you may have to launder it unless, of course, you can persuade or pay someone else to do it for you!

So here I have it - six good layouts to inspire you to use a table runner or two and create a beautiful table.

This is the most common way to lay a table with the runner going down the centre long ways. By adding the place settings or plates and some decoration you can create a very pretty table. There needs to be some space for dishes for food, but by adding a few flowers and candlesticks to give the table a little height, you can create something very special. I love these brass candlesticks - I found in a charity shop - and I have balanced a couple of brass birds on them to keep the theme, but I could have used virtually any ornaments I had hanging round the house. My advice is to keep them sparse or low down. People like to see each other when they chat over dinner.

This is the Bird on a Wire Table Runner and you can find it here:

Lay the runner across the table. I know, right – radical!

Don’t forget - the less obvious layout is to lay the table runner across the table, but it can look very pretty, especially here with matching napkins. Hope you love the design photographed which is the Flick of Hares Table Runner and napkins and the flowers are lily of the valley from a friend’s garden - they smell divine! I created the vase by using an upturned egg cup - it was just the right size.

Using two of the same or different table runners to run across the table, that can also act as placemats for some of your place settings, you can create a charming table.

Here I used the Why Did the Chicken?Table Runner with matching napkins which looks great and added a cute vase of pinks to finish the look.

Cross two different table runners lengthways across the table make a real statement. Lots of plants and flowers add to the drama at one end as it continues the dramatic theme which has a great effect if you do not need a place setting at the end of the table. If you do not have flowers, a single leaf cut from a houseplant and in a glass vase or bottle looks great.

These table runners are called Blooming Lovely Cow Girls and are perfect for creating country chic or farmhouse style.

If you lay the table runners in diagonals across the table, you get another spectacular layout – using the Blooming Lovely Cow Girls Table Runner here, you can give your table another dimension altogether and it looks rather unexpected! With a few decorative items and some brightly-coloured crockery, it will look fantastic. I added some matching serviettes and a sprig of lavender to complete the look.

Use a tablecloth underneath your table runner! If you just cannot get your head around not having a tablecloth, a plain colour or muted pattern cloth will set a table runner off nicely, add focus to any decoration or theme of your party and add some gorgeous surface pattern. Trust me.

I made this tablecloth out of some cotton by dyeing a piece of fabric. I chose a shade of blue and tie-dyed it by finding the centre of the fabric, folding it into quarters and letting it fall freely. I wound the string tightly around the cloth at intervals and then dyed it as per the packet instructions. This created concentric circles around the cloth. When it was dry, I hemmed the cloth as thread does not dye very well.- top tip!

I then added the table runner to create a beautiful table that did not need too much decoration as it already looked fabulous – smugly pleased with this one!

Tag us an image on Instagram, Twitter @MollyMacLiving when you have set your own MollyMac table, so we can all share in its loveliness.


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