It doesn’t have to be fancy, she added — she often uses large pieces of plain linen. “I think it’s a beautiful way to give your table a different quality.”
For a little pattern, Mr. Fulk sometimes uses blankets as tablecloths.
On top, “you can make a meadow,” Ms. Standefer said, with a series of bud vases or collected bottles — or, in a pinch, old wine bottles — filled with inexpensive greenery.
“You don’t spend a lot on the flowers,” she said. “You can literally take, like, a piece of grass or a piece of dill you buy at the grocery store,” and put one stalk in each vessel.
“When you have eight vessels and all those little stalks,” she said, “it makes a garden on your table.”
For dinnerware, Mr. Fulk suggested setting the table with antique decorative plates and colored glassware rather than the minimalist white ceramics that have become so popular in recent years. “I love to mix it up and give the dining table a collected feel,” he said, noting that he might use Limoges porcelain or antique transferware on a table in a contemporary room, for an unexpected visual twist.
“A great way to dress up your dining room without changing the décor is to change the tabletop,” he said.
And don’t fall into the trap of saving the fine china for special occasions, he added. “If the moment we’re in has taught us anything, it’s to use the good stuff,” he said. “Every moment matters.”