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Designing a pretty tablescape requires little time or materials
Hall County Master Gardener Judy Kaczorowski places a sunflower while teaching a class on seasonal tablescapes during the Lunch and Learn Gardening Series at the main branch of the Hall County Library System. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Your guests are on their way, but you haven’t had time to shop for decorations to make your dining space more festive.

What should you do?

Well, according floral design instructor Judy Kaczorowski, the last thing you should do is panic because more than likely, you already have everything you need.

"Creating a beautiful tablescape with things you find around your house is really easy," said Kaczorowski, during a recent Lunch and Learn class at the Hall County Library in Gainesville.

During the demonstration, which was called "Fabulous Tablescapes on a Recycling Budget," Kaczorowski educated attendees on tricks to pulling together simple decorations with items found around their homes.

According to the designer, who is also a member of the Hall County Master Gardeners, creating a festive table can be as simple as locating a few votive candles and repurposing a door wreath.

"When I’m doing a wreath, I rarely use hot glue (to secure items) because I like to change things up," Kaczorowski said.

Items like wired ribbon and silk flowers can also be used over and over. Bamboo skewers and dry Styrofoam are staples for building a support system for tablescapes.

When looking for potential decorative items, you shouldn’t overlook fallen tree branches in your yard, or even empty cans destined for the trash, Kaczorowski says.

Before you go looking for items, you should pick a theme first. For a summer tablescape, she suggested going with a beach theme.

"One of the things that I love best about the summer is going to the beach," Kaczorowski said.

"I have always been a shell collector and so I enjoy working them in."

For her beachy centerpiece, Kaczorowski made flowers out of some of her beach shells, using floral wire for stems. She then tucked the stems into a grapevine wreath, which was laying in the center of her table. In the middle of the wreath, she placed a yellow candle in a bud vase that she picked up from a dollar store.

"You can find some really good pieces at those stores," Kaczorowski said.

After adding a few loose shells and store-bought Spanish moss, she completed her tablescape by spreading a few votive candles around the wreath.

The entire process only took about 10 minutes.

"It’s really simple," she said.

When designing a tablescape, Kaczorowski says one of the important things to remember is that it doesn’t have to be permanent. Tablescapes can be constructed specifically for your event and then dismantled when it’s over.

Even if you don’t have a specific idea in mind, Kaczorowski says you should always be on the look out for decorative items. It doesn’t hurt to think outside the box either. Just because an item is being sold as a door ornament, there’s no reason why it can’t find its way onto your dining room table.

"Be sure to keep your eyes open when you go in dollar stores and craft stores," she said.

"The end of a season is a great time to catch things on sale."