Dress up your table

A feast, whether for a holiday family gathering or a dinner party, deserves a festive table. And nothing sets the mood for such events as handily as guests spying a colorful table adorned with interesting and unexpected objects in addition to your best china, silver and crystal.

A feast, whether for a holiday family gathering or a dinner party, deserves a festive table. And nothing sets the mood for such events as handily as guests spying a colorful table adorned with interesting and unexpected objects in addition to your best china, silver and crystal.

Layer by layer, here’s how this table was dressed. Every good table deserves protection from wine spills, steaming serving dishes and candle wax. Today’s best table pads are constructed of leatherette vinyl tops backed with velour. Folded, they neatly hide under a bed or in a closet. The custom pads also give a softer look to special tablecloths. (The average size pad is $149, Hall of Fame Table Pad Co.)

Table linens may be your grandmother’s treasured damask that demands laborious ironing or today’s versions of damask requiring none at all. Other fabrics are less formal, such as the French linen cloth with dahlias shown in shades of blue, brown and taupe (71 by 71 inches, $72, The Blissful). Cotton napkins in a contrasting color add interest ($4.99, The Blissful).

Though brides-to-be still register for china, beautiful sets can be had for a fraction of the price of new at antiques stores and resale shops (12 place settings, cream and blue, Taylor & Smith, $125, New Baltimore Antique Center).

The same can be said for silverplate flatware. Though solid silver always will be high tariff, if you can’t justify the price for the amount of use it will get, consider a set of silverplate. Age gives it a much-valued, soft patina (service for eight, $51, ReStore).

Quirky accents such as the vintage-style arrows in aged bronze, gold and cream add interest and encourage conversation (arrows, 11 inches long, $19.99 each, The Blissful).

Whether you choose recycled green glass water glasses and wine goblets etched by Mexican artisans or more traditional crystal, each adds sparkle to the table (acqua, $14; vino, $17, The Blissful; plain crystal balloon glasses, $1 and up, ReStore; antique set of six lead-crystal water goblets sells for $50 at the New Baltimore Antique Center).

Floral centerpieces are fine, but a quick scan of your home can turn up alternative treasures.

A birdhouse filled with fall mums. Or the reproduction Moroccan bird cage made from mixed media (15 inches tall, $76, The Blissful).

Tuck a small houseplant inside or add more sparkle with a silvery “mercury” glass bird. No, there is no mercury in it but it was dubbed “poor man’s silver” in the 18th century (mercury glass bird, $8, The Blissful).

Also scout resale and antiques shops for one-of-a-kinds.

Flank such a centerpiece with light in the form of matching candelabrum with as much or as little shimmer as the event merits (reproduction beaded French candelabrum with aged glass beads and hanging crystals, $72 each, The Blissful).

Or opt for an elegant cut-crystal quartet of antique candleholders ($135, New Baltimore Antique Center).

Then, dim the lights, set the candles aglow, cue the music … and enjoy.

THE DETAILS ABOUT THIS TABLE TABLE

PAD Hall of Fame Table Pad, $149

DAMASK The Blissful, $72

CHINA New Baltimore Antique Center, $125

SILVERPLATE FLATWARE ReStore, $51

ACCENT ARROWS The Blissful, $19.99 each

GLASSES/GOBLETS The Blissful, $14-$17 each ReStore, $1 and up each New Baltimore Antique Center, $50 set of six

CENTERPIECE BIRD CAGE The Blissful, $76; add mercury glass bird for $8.

CANDELABRUM The Blissful, $72

CANDLEHOLDERS New Baltimore Antique Center, $135

MEET OUR TABLE-SETTERS

JIM CANTERBURY, NEW BALTIMORE ANTIQUE CENTER

Jim Canterbury spent his career at the Timken Co., retiring in 1994 to his first love and avocation, the New Baltimore Antique Center, at 14725 Ravenna Ave. NE (state Route 44) in Marlboro Township. Canterbury, who takes antiquing junkets to Europe, specializes in lighting repair and antiques restoration. From the front of the store to the back, hundreds of chandeliers of every description and period sparkle from the ceiling. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday; closed Tuesdays. Reach him at (330) 935-3300 or (330) 685-6253.

HILDA ANTHONY, HALL OF FAME TABLE PAD CO.

Hilda Anthony’s Hall of Fame Table Pad Co. has been selling custom protective table pads, damask tablecloths and napkins as well as vinyl storage bags for dining table leaves since 1984. “My folding table pads protect valuable furniture from damage from scratches, heat and moisture,” she explained. “They are equipped with nylon pivot locks so they don’t separate and can easily be stored away. I also have different finishes to match the wood of the table.” Anthony visits each customer’s home, taking measurements for tables and buffets of every shape and size. She works from her home at 3917 Crestwood St. NW in Plain Township. Reach her by calling (330) 478-2950 or e-mail: hoftablepadco@core.com.

SUE FALCIONE, HABITAT FOR HUMANITY RESTORE

Sue Falcione is store director at Habitat for Humanity ReStore at 4525 Cleveland Ave. NW in Plain Township.The sprawling building houses a treasure trove of bargain-priced resale home supplies from housewares, fine china and furniture to books, building supplies and paint. No clothing or toys. “We will pick up anything in useable condition and too big to fit in a car from donors, who then will get a tax write-off,” said Falcione, a former elementary schoolteacher. Store hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 9 a.m to 3 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sundays and Mondays. Phone (330) 493-0011. Web site is: restore@habitatstark.org. Register for e-mail alerts, weekly sales and coupons.

ABBY KERR, THE BLISSFUL

Abby Kerr is proprietor of The Blissful at 4605 Fulton Dr. NW in Jackson Township. She describes it as a French-inspired lifestyle boutique of finds and furnishings. Store hours are Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Phone (330) 492-2500.Web site: www.theblissful.com. Her shop-related blog, Lettres from The Blissful, can be found at www.theblissful.blogspot.com. The former English teacher opened the store in 2005 and launched online commerce in February this year. The store is a visual maze of offerings in a wittily stylized tableau created by Kerr and her mother, Debbie Kerr.