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A Dining Room For $30?!

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A Dining Room For $30?!

Do you pull out the same decorations and put them in the same places every year? I get that. Same here. But then I also get a little itch to change things up (the hub’s influence.) To keep things fresh but sane, I have a system that employs three ‘R’s’: Restrain, Redesign, Reallocate. But first, I need to tell you where my penchant for decorating comes from.

My mom was a master at seasonal décor and event planning. Even when we had nothing as missionaries in Korea, she managed to make things special and beautiful. No fireplace? No problem. We had one made from cardboard so we could hang up our stockings. As a teenager, I remember her, after a long day of work, puttering around the dining table until the wee hours of the morning, making a fabulous table scape for whatever gathering was next.  Everything she did was a reflection of her: sparkly and lavish.

My hubby’s mom, Sheila, is also excellent in this department. We love coming to her house and get inspired by her designer Christmas trees and gorgeous, but welcoming tables. Around every corner is something else to surprise and delight. She is genius at rearranging things to make something new, whether floral décor or whole rooms.

Gold Centerpiece

With the influence of these two amazing women, I have become who I am in this department. It only seems right that I pass on to you some of what I have learned from them.

Disclaimer: I will be the first to admit that after 21 years of marriage, I have a ridiculous number of Christmas decorations. But in my defense, I can safely say that everything was purchased at deeply discounted prices and collected over YEARS.

If you have a good supply of decorations but want to freshen things up, follow these three R’s: restrain, redesign, and reallocate. Time to get busy!


Wait? What?  You heard me.  Restrain... from thinking that you have to redo everything to get a fresh look. You don’t want to be completely overwhelmed, do you? Sometimes all it takes is some new ribbon! But if you want to do more, focus on one area. That way your project will stay manageable in all aspects. Each year even if nothing else changes at all, my dining room does.


When I do any sort of home design, I need an inspiration piece or a theme so I can wrap my brain around it. That element informs colors and motifs. Even if it’s not completely obvious to everyone else, it helps me create a cohesive design.

For the dining room, I almost always choose a Christmas carol with spiritual meaning as a theme. Then I choose a color scheme or motif that fits with it. For example, one year the song was “O’ Holy Night”. The decorations had a lot of blue with gold stars. Then I used our Nativity set as the centerpiece. Another year it was Joyeux Noel. Red, silver, and white seemed to fit a French feel and I found a bunch of ornaments in red that said “Joy”.

This year, I didn’t really have a song in mind but I had a design I had seen in a catalog that I wanted to duplicate that contained blues and greens with metallic gold. That palette seemed very calming so the word “Peace” came to mind, which is a very good reminder these days.


I usually know what theme I want to do the year before so when we put our decorations away, I save out the ones that I want for the dining room in a plastic tub along with a sketch of my plan. I know, I’m “extra”. But it saves me some thinking under the typical pressure of the Christmas season.

I wasn’t as prepared this time so as we were putting up our other decorations, I pulled out the blue, green, and gold ornaments that I usually put on other trees.  (We have very full trees so a few missing ornaments here and there is okay.) I also found some “peace” ornaments and green and gold doves.

Christmas ornaments

I didn’t need to buy ribbon because I buy large amounts on sale and use it over and over. The one I chose is probably two years old.

So, what about this “Dining Room For $30” claim? It’s true! My only cost this year was incurred with greenery because I didn’t realize HOW much I already had. So, I spent another $30 on 60% off bushes. Lesson Learned: Look at your stash before shopping.

In full disclosure, if I would have purchased everything for this room this year, I would have spent at least $500, depending on sales. It’s a good thing I have a case of “Justified Hoarding”.

I made a video of my process. But to get a quick run-down of how I decorated the dining room this year, read on.


The Dining Room

I focus on three elements in the dining room: two thin Christmas trees and the table.

The first thing I did was to separate the ornaments evenly into thirds to be sure each area was covered adequately.

Christmas ornaments

Next, I put down a white table cloth covered with organza toppers. ( is my source.) A super wide gold ribbon acted as a runner, adding another layer of lux.

The vessel for the centerpiece was a box made from scrap trim which I spray painted gold. Shop for these boxes here.

I filled the box with floral foam then added bushes of greenery, spreading it down the table to make a big and showy display.

To be sure I had flat spaces for my (battery operated) candles, I went ahead and placed them at this point.

Next, I added the ornaments, one color at a time.

Finally, I put in loops of ribbon.

Blue, tree, and gold centerpiece

For the place settings, I used all gold and white but added a piece of ribbon to bring in color. The “peace” ornaments finished out the theme.

place setting

Finally, I decorated the trees using the same ornaments and ribbon. I used more table cloths and toppers for tree skirts.

Dining Room Christmas Tree

The result is cohesive and fresh. The best part is that I used what I had (except for that confounded unnecessary greenery).

Cool colored dining room

The Encouragement

If you want a new look this Christmas give it a go!  Just remember to:

“Restrain” by choosing just one element or space.

“Redesign”, getting inspiration where you can find it.

“Reallocate” what you already have to achieve your vision.


If you need any help, reach out!



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