A Casual, Everyday Table Setting and a Reinstated Tradition

Rustic Modern Breakfast Nook with Blue Ginger Jar Tulip Centerpiece

It is no secret that in the Lopez home, we only use our formal dining room for special occasions. But, while it has become easier to plop down at the bar in the kitchen for most meals – lately at separate times due to busy schedules (and sometimes even in the living room) – I have started to miss that special, disconnected table time my husband and I would have. No phones, no television- just us. It’s kind of like the gym… when you make it a habit, the routine becomes easy, but it is also an easy habit to slip out of if you don’t make it a priority. Just kidding, it is WAY easier than sticking to the gym haha. 

Over the last few weeks, this is a practice I have reinstated and even though we are only committing to “table time” once per week, it has made me feel like that one night per week is more of a special event and less of something we have to get through and mark off our to-do lists. We already have too many of those things so our standing table date should be fun, not a chore. It doesn’t discount busy schedules; we still have those. But, it takes minimal additional effort to set a casual table, two feet away from the kitchen bar, put away our multi-tasking tools, and dine together. Did you catch the “casual” part I threw in? Yeah, that part is still super important.

White Plate Table Setting with Blue and White Ginger Jar with Tulips

I try to always keep fresh flowers on this table; it adds some “pretty” to the room, but it also provides a permanent table centerpiece. The great advantage to using a jar as a centerpiece instead of a vase is that even if you don’t rotate flowers on an ongoing basis, you can put the lid on and it still looks “complete”. White everyday dinnerware with simple buffet napkins are all you need on hand. I found these woven chargers at Michael’s, but you can find similar place mats HERE.

Casual White Place Setting on Rustic Charger

This little salt and pepper set is one of my favorite table accessories; I use it in both my casual and formal tables.

Restoration Hardware Salt and Pepper Set with Blue Ginger Jar

Truth? No matter how many times I have set the table in my life, I still pull up a cheat sheet to double check my work . I think it is kind of like using Google Maps on your phone; I use it as a crutch out of habit so even when I have been somewhere 50 times, I need that reassurance that I won’t get lost. If you too need a refresher, here is a casual setting to help guide you. The napkin position can be changed around depending on the look you are trying to achieve.



Tulip Arrangement in Blue and White Vase- Breakfast Room

Ever since I updated this room (you can find the update HERE and the table DIY HERE), I have enjoyed our casual dinners even more. If there is something keeping you from enjoying your space, change it! For me, the biggest impact was not so much even the chair/table makeover, but the de-cluttering and restyling of my buffet.

World Market Paige Round Back Chairs in Breakfast Nook

Tall Lantern in Breakfast Room with Casual Table Setting

One advantage to this room is that while I love my dining room, sometimes I am hesitant to go nuts with a concept because of my blue walls. In this space, the backdrop and furniture truly is neutral so I have a lot more leeway to change things up, knowing that the color I add to the table truly will be the focal point.

Casual Blue and White Table with Tulips with Black and White Gallery Wall

Breakfast Nook Buffet with Green Apples and White Cake Stands

Breakfast Room Black Chandelier

Tulip Centerpiece on Casual Table in Blue and White Ginger Jar

Blue and White Ginger Jar Centerpiece

White Tulip Centerpiece in Blue and White Ginger Jar

If you do not currently eat with your family at the table without distractions, I encourage you to try it. One night per week. Even if you end up going through the Arby’s drive thru on “table night”, bring it home, put those roast beef sandwiches and potato cakes on a nice plate, and eat together. If it catches on and proves to be a simple, happy addition to your day, perhaps you will start eating together at the table more often than not. I’m gonna go for two this week 😉

Breakfast Nook with Perfect Greige by Sherwin Williams




Salt & Pepper Set | Floors: Nottaway Hickory in Weathered Saddle | Paint: Sherwin Williams Perfect Greige | Sideboard: HomeGoods | Candelabras: HomeGoods | Mirror: Hobby Lobby | Floor Lanter: Z Gallerie (no longer available) | Wreath: DIY HERE

*Note: Post contains affiliate links and sources throughout the post. Where product is no longer available, a similar substitute has been listed.

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  1. 5.15.16
    Wendy said:

    We eat at our table every night mainly because we don’t have a breakfast bar. It’s usually a casual setting but I love dressing it for special occasions with flowers and pretty napkins. I love your stylish tables,thank you for sharing your ideas and inspiration.

    • 5.15.16

      Wendy, thank you so much! It started getting easier and easier for us to be lazy in our meals, eat at different times, or park in front of the tv so I am enjoying having the “structure” again to remind us to eat and truly be together for meal time.

  2. 5.15.16
    Tamara said:

    What a nice tradition to keep, Kel! Especially in such a beautiful setting. Love that ginger jar too!

    • 5.16.16

      Tam, thank you, my friend! I so want a white one like yours!

  3. 5.17.16
    Gretchen Thomas said:

    What an important tradition to continue…and there is nothing like setting a table correctly! I love this so much and totally relate! No cell phones or other distractions allowed, right?

    • 5.17.16

      Exactly. 😉 Love our brainstorming sessions and that you taught me so many lessons and ways that influence the way I try to do things in my home. Love you!

  4. 5.25.16
    Stacey said:

    Where did you get that fabulous buffet table? I looked at the link that you listed but its not the exact same one.

    • 5.25.16

      Hi, Stacey! It was a random find at HomeGoods. If you go there often, stay on the lookout 😉

  5. 6.22.16

    Beautiful! Thanks for using my post as a source 🙂

    • 6.22.16

      Niki, thank you! I refer to it all the time 😉

  6. 8.27.17
    Caitlin said:

    Do you have a tutorial or steps on how to paint the table? Thanks in advance!!