When we first moved into our house back in 2012, we did not have a lot of furniture. I had previously lived in an apartment and was renting it out partially furnished, and my fiancé had lived in a house with two of his friends, where the only furniture he owned was his bedroom set. Sounds great, right? Nice clean slate, very little old furniture to worry about, and nice new furniture to be bought! Our bank accounts, however, disagreed, as they are apt to do.
So we began to accumulate our furniture a little bit at a time. Thrift stores and estate sales have been our best friends! I absolutely love finding a diamond in the rough and shining it up. A eclectic mixture of new pieces with old classics has definitely been my key to styling our home.
One of the first pieces of furniture we purchased was a beat up old dining room buffet cabinet for $135 at a local furniture resale shop. I fell in love with the style: the clean lines, the sliding doors, and all of the storage room inside. Not everyone could see my vision, though, since originally it looked like a beat up old piece junk:
It took a bit of elbow grease to get this piece into shape. First I cleaned the whole thing with warm soapy water. Then, I cleaned it again, this time with lemon oil on a clean rag. Finally, I used Old English’s scratch cover for dark wood, which fills in any scratches or blemishes in the surface of the wood. I applied this with a clean cloth, let it sit for maybe 20-30 minutes, and then wiped off the excess with a second clean cloth. The last step was to replace those awful matching wooden knobs: I opted for a simple metallic brass knob to give the piece a bit of character. The finished result:
Not bad! With all the hard work out of the way, then came the fun part: decorating! I wanted it to be stylish yet include functional pieces, and there had to be some coffee table books, of course (my biggest decorating weakness, I’ll admit it).
Starting from the left side, I added a section of coffee table books and a vase with DIY paper flowers. I cannot remember where I found the tutorial for these flowers (please comment below if you know!), but they were relatively simple and made from styrafoam balls into which I inserted cones of paper. Then, stick it on a piece of sturdy wire and into a vase! I love these flowers, one of my favorite things on the buffet!
In the middle of the buffet, I set up a “mini bar” station. It contains a set of glasses I got on clearance at C. Wonder (RIP), and a collection of our most used liquors.
On the right side is a lamp that gives some lovely ambient lighting in the evening. I purchased the lamp on Etsy, painted it high gloss black, and added a new funky lamp shade. I’m falling out of love with the lamp base and it will probably be replaced soon, but the lamp shade will stay! I love that the turquoise pattern plays off the color of our nearby bar cart (which can be seen in the very first photo of this post). This section also contains a pair of beautiful brass cranes, a boxed bottle of my fiancé’s favorite tequila, and a cool art piece of a lion’s anatomy (that’s from the nerdy science geek in me).
Overall, I really have not changed much on the buffet since I first completed decorating it about two years ago. Here are some of my tips for decorating your own buffet table:
- Evaluate your design constantly. Move items around to see if they look better in a different vignette. Don’t be afraid to grab things from somewhere else in your house and try them out in a new place: they might look even better. That old vase you didn’t like in your bedroom might suddenly look incredible in its’ new home on your buffet table!
- Use layers of height. This adds visual interest to your buffet design. For example, I have taller pieces on the ends (flowers, picture frame, lamp) to balance out the shorter items in the middle.
- Combine style with functionality. What do you use most in your dining room that you just love to look at? Perhaps it is a mini bar filled with your favorite cocktail accessories, or a set of gorgeous hors d’oeuvres plates. Put them out there for everyone to see, and you will be more apt to use your favorite items if you see them often.
- Include lighting. Nobody loves to eat in the dark, but sometimes overhead lighting can be harsh. Add a statement lamp to your buffet to allow for some softer lighting (and for you to dim those overhead lights!)
Now it’s your turn: what is your best tip for styling a buffet table? Let me know in the comment section below! Until next time, friends!