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7 Tips for Styling a Buffet in a Dining Room

We moved our buffet {formerly used as a TV Stand} into the dining room last week. Since we’ve moved in to this home, I haven’t really had a surface to style and decorate with pretty things. So as soon as we got the walls painted, I was ready to bring together a mix of pieces from around the house and decorate!!


I adore the style of Emily Henderson — specifically how she layers and mixes textures. So, I tried to incorporate those concepts as I collected items from around our home.

In the center of the buffet is a bamboo serving tray {$3, thrifted}, vintage green bottles {$2 or less, thrifted}, a marble cheese tray {$6, thrifted} and a bamboo cutting board we received as a gift.

The mix of glass, marble and natural textures feels eclectic and collected over time. Plus, there are some items with special meaning in this little vignette. The green bottles were used in our wedding {you can see how I’ve used them before, here} and the cutting board is engraved with the name and skyline of our hometown, Louisville.

I balanced each end of the buffet with taller items. The traditional choice for this spot is two lamps, flanking each side of your buffet. However, it’s directly in front of the window, with plenty of light during the day. Also, I want this buffet to be a very flexible space. We’ll be using it for serving food at parties and it will be one of those spots that I tweak and decorate for holidays and the change of seasons. So, it just seems that two lamps aren’t the most practical solution.

My made-over Ikea clock is sitting on one end with two other taller items, creating a nice little grouping of three {you know, the magic decorating number for groupings}.

The metallic trophy {on clearance for $8 maybe??} sits in front of the muted gray/green clock and a natural wood vase {also clearance, $4} filled with flowers from our yard. The ceramic “Bingo” balls brighten up the darker tones with a touch of white.

I repeated the color white with a serving bowl and candles on the opposite end {as well as the marble tray in the center. It was kind of exciting {yes, I’m a nerd} to see the groupings across the buffet come together just by repeating a few colors — even though the individual items are really quite different.

Those candlesticks have been around our home{s} for awhile and we originally got them at Garden Ridge. I don’t recall the price any longer though. Our former living room had some items we brought home from Ethiopia and we bought these candlesticks because they had a global feel.

My bamboo plant has been in a very shaded spot {which, apparently they don’t mind}. This window get’s morning sun so I may have to move it back. Either way, I like the height and the pop of green. So if the bamboo has to move, I’ll be on the lookout for a similar plant. Also, with Emily Henderson’s layering in mind, I placed the bamboo planter into a larger dish {a wedding gift}.

I spent the entire day tweaking this setup. Not continuously; but I’d try a few items and leave it for awhile. Then, I’d come back later and switch some pieces out. Sooo… here’s what I learned and want to take away from this as I decorate other spots in our home.

How to Style a Buffet {or any other surface}

  • Layer items. It’s helpful to begin with some “base” items like a tray, books or a large bowl.
  • Larger items will act as “anchors.” This could be lamps, vases, candlesticks, etc.
  • The magic number, three, works for grouping items. Even when there aren’t 3 items, an odd number works best… like the five pieces in the center of the buffet.
  • Challenge yourself to mix colors. Everything doesn’t have too match — especially when it comes to accessories. The big pieces in the room can match {like paint and window treatments}; but the details will be more interesting when they feel collected instead.
  • Challenge yourself to mix textures. If a grouping feels boring incorporate a new material, like a smooth marble, shiny metallic, or a natural wood.
  • Include meaningful items. A pretty vignette is great for a magazine; but in a home the pieces should tell a story too.
  • Break the rules. Even though two lamps were the obvious choice for our buffet, the functional choice for our family was something different.

What other tips do you have when it comes to styling a surface? I’d love for you to share them with us!

Craftivity Designs

Sunday 17th of August 2014

Ha! I didn't even think about that I'd use my other one in this post last week, lol. Guess I'm obsessed. ;)


Sunday 17th of August 2014

There's that bamboo tray I love again :). Great tips--looking good!