Fall Decor on a Couple o’ Dimes: Table Linens on the Cheap

I love fall.

I love it when the Hades-like temperatures of a southern summer disappear and the morning air becomes crisp and clean. I love it when the trees swap out their summer garb for richer autumn hues and textures. I love fallen leaves crunching beneath my feet.

None of that has happened here yet, but it will.


And when it does I’ll whine about having to give up my flip flops for “real” shoes, but every good thing comes with some sacrifice.

And fall is a good thing. It brings crunchy apples and the state fair and the return of the crock pot to my kitchen. And it brings decor that can be done on the cheap.

I love me some cheap. Fall Table and Mantle Decor Over the last couple of days, when I could drag my strep throat and bronchitis-infected self off the couch, I put my cheap fall “mantle” decor together. (Yes, I realize this isn’t really a mantle. I don’t have a mantle. I have a fireplace, but I don’t have a mantle. This is a sore and contentious spot with me, one that’s sparked many “discussions” with The Hubster and fostered many sledge hammer-ridden fantasies. But that’s another story for another post for another day.)

Anyway…back to cheap decor.

As I’ve already shared, I love cheap. Especially this time of year when the expenses of three holidays are staring me in the face. And smirking. And sticking out their tongues.

But that’s okay. Cuz she who laughs…lasts. And she who decorates on the cheap can laugh all the way to the bank. This table runner of mine…the one desperately needed to create a break between the dark wood table top and the dark colors of the accessories…it was cheap. (Yeah…shocking…I know!)

Because I’m a hoarder I had this neutral canvas fabric in one of my many stashes. After measuring the length and width of my table top, I cut the fabric about three inches narrower than the table top and about eight inches longer. I then pulled many many threads to created the fringed edge. I didn’t Fray Check the edges, but I will.


After I finished my decor and crawled back on the couch, I began to wonder what other interesting runners I could have created if I’d spent a bit more time and had a bit more energy. (Being sick sucks.) I wondered what I’d have done if I hadn’t had the fabric in my stash.

I thought my paint supplies. My drop cloths are a similar color and texture. And I wondered if there was an edge that wasn’t totally paint splattered and could be sacrificed for decor purposes. (I wasn’t motivated enough to drag myself out the shed, but I’ll check it out. Eventually).

After I’d rested a bit and grew completely bored with daytime TV, I dragged myself to my computer to gather some other ideas that I thought could be done on the cheap, and oh my word! The amazement I found.

Pottery Barn proves time and time again that simple and unadorned doesn’t have to be plain.

I love this textured runner. I don’t love the $29.00 plus tax and shipping price tag (total cost to get this to my house would be $38.96…I know that in PB Land this is cheap…in LaVidaLindsay Land, it’s not). A few Google searches later I learned that I could purchase two yards of burlap and two yards of ivory broadcloth for less than 22 bucks at most online fabric stores. (I adore online shopping. I avoid both traffic and my splurge urge, and I get that shopping high twice…once when I click on the checkout button and again when my package arrives.) Two yards of both fabrics would provide enough fabric to make two runners. If I could round up some light colored fabric from around the house (and I’m sure I could…an old bed sheet, lining from old draperies) I could buy just the burlap and have it shipped for 8 bucks. Yes, this look that I love can definitely be done for a lot less. (It sucks that I want to live inside every PB catalog I’ve put my hands on, but PB and my wallet are not a match made in heaven.)

CB2 is another shopping space I adore, and they’ve got a look similar to the one above…

…only their version is linen. Linen is more expensive than burlap, but a few Googles later I discovered I could order it for about 7 dollars a yard. I could order a single yard of both the dark and the light linen, but I’d have a seam in the middle of my runner. A runner sans center seam would require two yards of dark and two yards of light, and I’d end up spending as much for fabric as I would just to order the runner straight from CB2.  However, ordering DIY material would yield not one but two runners, plus enough additional fabric for matching napkins. Lots of matching napkins. I could get a runner and a set of napkins for me, and a runner and a set of napkins to give as a Christmas gift. I’m liking the “one for you, one for me” idea.

Crate and Barrel is offering up some gorgeous and in-the-big-scheme-of-things-relatively-inexpensive embroidered runners this season.

The small version of these run $29.95 plus $13.95 for shipping, but as I looked and drooled over these, I began wondering if this wouldn’t be the perfect opportunity to try out a freezer stencil project. With some fabric, some fabric paints, a little creativity and artistic effort, I think I could definitely create this look for less…a lot less…even if I had to purchase fabric, fabric paint and freezer paper.

As I pondered my freezer paper idea I realized I was probably getting carried away. I’m sick. I can barely drag my behind off the couch. I should be looking for ideas that are quicker and easier than fabric painting. So how about a runner made from gift wrap or wall paper? Hey, Martha does it!

And I found another paper version. This one’s from 100layercake.com and is the epitome of simple elegance. I adore simple elegance, especially inexpensive simple elegance. With an edge punch, a hole punch, some paper and some ribbon I could create a runner that’s not only stylish as all get out, but also cheap!

Then I got thinking about the kids. I thought it might be fun to include them in a creative endeavor.  I stumbled upon this quilted table runner made by Those Alaskan Girls, but my sewing talent is nearly non-existant and my Singer isn’t something I’d dare try to introduce to the kids. But then I thought this would be super cute done with craft and construction paper and a bit of glue. If I had to have textiles, a bottle of Mod Podge for fabric might solve my sewing dilemma.

Fabulous decor ideas abounded, and I was totally inspired to replace my it-now-feels-too-totally-plain-Jane-runner. Unfortunately inspiration doesn’t equal energy, and I crawled back onto the couch.

I’m definitely gonna replace that runner…with something cheap but slightly more inspired.



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Categories: Decor, Fall Decor

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