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Design & Style | July 21,2021

The Thrifted Table: Table Decor Ideas with Emily Kontos

the thrifted table, vintage tablescape, rustic tablescape, emily kontos, natural table setting

by Emily Kontos 


My love of vintage was handed down to me as most good things are. Between antiquing with my mother and learning everything there is to know about vintage toy trains and classic cars from my father, my own collections have grown over the years.


In 2019, I began sharing my love for a well-dressed table and thrifted finds and I was overwhelmed with the response. Soon thereafter I started to sell treasures from my picking adventures at a table at our local flea market and The Thrifted Table was born.


I am best known for my mix and match vintage tablescapes that oftentimes center around my jadeite collection. In addition to styling weekly tablescapes for family dinners and curating my online market, I have expanded to sourcing and designing tables for local events and national magazines.


I've included a few easy tips to achieve a tablescape you and your guests will love, with items you'll continue to treasure.


Dust off grandma’s china. 

While today’s tables are much less formal than they used to be- grandma’s china serves as a good foundation to build your table. You can add eclectic elements along with newer items to give new life to old china.


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Photography by Chris McIntosh

Evoke your inner artist.

I see the table as a blank piece of canvas in which I build color and texture. Mix and match is the name of the game. Whether I stack layers of plates that have different color patterns or add textural elements such as wooden chargers or a vintage tablecloth, I always take a step back and see how my art is coming along throughout the process.


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Photography by Chris McIntosh

Think outside the box.

Yes, there is a formal etiquette for setting a table but feel free to throw the rule book out. Want to use fish knives as butter knives go ahead. You want to use vintage etched wine glasses for water, do it. You have an old beautifully patinated loving cup trophy that you want to use as a centerpiece vase, yes please! If it works for you, you are doing it correctly!


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Photography by Chris McIntosh


Pick one element to center your table around. It could be the menu, I have styled Italian-themed tables for family pizza night. It could be a color scheme, a centerpiece, the flowers that are in season in your garden, really anything. It will help you design and then edit the table. The rules for dressing a table are like dressing yourself. Once you think you are through, take a step back and perhaps take away one element. Having a set focus will help you do that.


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Photography by Chris McIntosh

Don’t fear the cleaning. 

I get a ton of questions about how I wash vintage china, polish silver plates, get stains out of linens etc. I get it. It seems daunting but it’s not. Honestly if it was hard I would avoid it at all costs. As a mom of 3 that works full time in addition to my vintage treasure hunting, I need fast and easy. If china needs to be hand washed then I put all my pots and pans in the dishwasher. Silver plate flatware- goes in the dishwasher too! White vintage napkins are a synch to clean with a dash of bleach and some hot water. 

Emily’s AuctionNinja Picks


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  1. White Milk Glass Cake Stand (Clearing House Estate Sales)

  2. Set of 6 Beautifully Etched Crystal Stemware (Clearing House Estate Sales)

  3. Sterling Weighted Silver Candlestick, 446.9 Grams (All American Tag Sales)

  4. Beautiful Set of Footed Dessert Dishes with Silver and Crystal (Clearing House Estate Sales)

  5. Two Vintage Milk Glass Pedestal Bowls (Clearing House Estate Sales)

  6. Lot of Sterling Silver Salt and Pepper Shakers, 159.9 Grams (All American Tag Sales)

  7. Naken Wooden Silverware Chest with Assorted Silver Plate and Viande Insico Stainless Flatware (Avant Garde Estate Sales)

  8. Milk Glass Bowl, 3x10 Inches (All American Tag Sales)


Other Picks Not to Miss:

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