2010 18/02

How to Tablescape for Less

by Vera Devera

{San Francisco Opera President’s Dinner 2005 – by Vera Devera}

Above is a private dinner event San Francisco Opera held for a few hundred guests onstage at the War Memorial Opera House. The centerpieces were carnations — usually a bride’s last choice for flowers. But, I beg to differ as the carnations delivered high impact and drama when arranged in a single color on floral foam spheres. The bases of the centerpieces were modern IKEA flower pots and a few wide pedestal bowls were from Fantastico, a great event supply warehouse around the corner from the San Francisco Flower Mart. Using carnations and these vessels certainly cut costs!

When it comes to bargain shopping for tablescapes, there are four places I turn to and highly recommend to you:

IKEA (Emeryville): If you’re going for a modern and clean look, this is the place. You’ll often find fabric for $0.99 to $5.99 a yard. Vases in bold colors range from $2.99 to $7.99 a piece and flower pots are an easy way (at $1.95 to $7.95) for creating a garden look. Clear votive candles come in 4/packs for $1.95 and 100 tealights are $3.99. Here’s a tablescape I recently created for 20 guests for under $80.

IKEA Tablescape by Vera Devera

IKEA Tablescape by Vera Devera

Crate and Barrel Outlet (4th Street, Berkeley): CBO has lots of bud vases starting at $0.95 each and if you are creative, you can use glassware as tealight holders instead. They have a small but fun collection of Marimekko fabric. I just bought six 120″ long table runners in orange, gold and brown for $2.95 each (92% off the original price). Visit often to find hot deals like the one I found this week!

Crate and Barrel Outlet

Crate and Barrel Outlet

Urban Ore (Ashby Ave, Berkeley): If you like going to antique flea markets, you will not mind the disarray this salvage store is in. They have a decent sized collection of previously used standard flower vases (the kind you’d find at a florist) for $1.00-$3.00.  Need mason jars and can’t get your friends to give them their used jars? Look no further — you’ll find many shapes and sizes for $0.50 to $2.00 (depending on size). If you’re going for a farmer’s market look, they have tons of wicker baskets and also an interesting collection of vintage vessels. When I visited this week, they had vintage Napa water glass bottles for $5.00 each (an antique store I visited quoted me $40!).

TJ Maxx (Alameda): The management at this location have really started to clean it up — there are even rotating collections every week that focus on baby, home, entertaining every week. If you’re building a confection/candy bar with apothecary jars, skip the big box stores like Michael’s and Target. TJ Maxx’s apothecary jars and hurricane taper candle holders are $15 and less, with an average of $7.00 each and sometimes $3.00 a piece if you look for the red clearance sticker. They also carry Brides Magazine branded materials like printable seat signs ($2.99 for 2 instead of $19.99!), DIY invitations and more for $9 or less per pack.

Apothecary Jars - Vintage Pretties

Apothecary Jars - Photo by Vintage Pretties

Happy shopping! If you find any good deals, please let us know!

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