The Value of Obsessively Complete Decorating

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We believe in the value of obsessions.

Like an old vinyl record we sometimes get stuck in a groove: a collection of Somewhere Over the Rainbow songs; a larder stocked with Speck from Italy, Austria and Iowa (really); an assortment of white and black candleholders, vases, and oddball objects.

It's to the latter we want to direct your attention when table settings are on your mind. Through the years whenever we see interesting vases, candle holders or objects at great prices we'll buy them. We have found them at flea markets, stores going out of business, Marshall's, Barney's (double markdowns and % off coupons), tag sales. Then when it's time to set the table we haul them out and either use them as nature intended or re-purpose them.

The trick is to establish a theme: only black and white tschatkes; only objects with insect motifs; only prissy-painted florals.  Think periods like Victorian or mid-century modern; use single materials like frosted glass or lucite.

Stuff flowers in egg cups, candles in flower vases, salt in shot glasses. Be neat and line your collection up in a row. Be scattered and toss everything willy-nilly around the table. Go crazy--OVERDO it--don't be shy.

Read more from Rosalyn Hoffman at Bitches on a Budget.

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