(working with what you have) fall table

by | Sep 12, 2017 | All Things Home, Decorating, Holiday | 49 comments

Last year, I participated in the Farmhouse Holiday Series and it was such a fun blog-hop to be a part of that I agreed to participate again this year.  I like saying yes to fun things and collaborations with creative people.  But then I realized that only about 2% of my house is finished in my colors and style…

And I really felt that as I was working on this fall tablescape.  It was supposed to be in the dining room, but my dining room is dark beige right now with carpeting, so I decided to shoot in my half-painted kitchen on a half-finished table with chairs that are too big and, by the way, also aren’t finished.

I was very close to bailing at the last minute, but I had to resist that urge.

The seasons change and we can still decorate for them even if everything isn’t finished, right?

So, I did what I always do.  I hit a few local shops and picked up some local produce and flowers and paired it with stuff I already had.  This was going to happen, even if the conditions weren’t exactly as I wanted them.

It started with the pretty fall heather.  I took a cue off of that and added some purple figs and then some artichoke and green apples.

I used our everyday runner, which is a piece of a grain sack roll cut to size…

And arranged the fresh produce a few white pumpkins around the three potted heather plants.

I also added in a few trimmed flowers from an old bouquet and from around my yard.  It’s all finished off with some of my favorite antique plates and flatware.

My son loves blackberries, so I bought them for him, but realized they worked well for my shoot.  I had to tell him to keep his fingers off until I was done with the pictures!  The nice thing about decorating with produce is most of it gets eaten.  Better than storing in in plastic tubs 11 months of the year!

And with produce that pretty, you can forgive that only 1/4 of the kitchen cabinets are painted!

For more fall-decorating inspiration, check out these gorgeous dining rooms…

Ella Claire | Craftberry Bush | Love Grows Wild | Shades of Blue Interiors

City Farmhouse | Dear Lillie | French Country Cotage | Miss Mustard Seed

Liz Marie Blog | Rooms for Rent | Julie Blanner | Kindred Vintage

My Sweet Savannah | and our beautiful featured guest, The Inspired Room

(In case you were wondering, there wasn’t a memo about using purple!)


  1. Karen L.

    Very pretty—makes me want to fix something for our table as we’re cleaning up here in coastal South Carolina from our part of the huge hurricane, Irma, which only affected us a bit compared to Florida’s woes. (Our daughter and family evacuated from Tampa to us at the last minute.:) So much to be grateful to God for in it that my heart is overflowing with gratitude in that it wasn’t a lot worse and that more lives were not lost. I love the Fall so this was perfect timing to inspire me away from hurricane issues during the cleaning up and putting our porch furniture back on the porches today. It’s almost Fall, y’all! Yay!

  2. Linda at q is for quandie

    Way to tease us with those kitchen cupboards off in the distance! They are looking fantastic 😉 Can’t wait to see the full on transformation.

  3. Marty Oravetz

    It’s gorgeous and the kitchen is looking good too.

  4. Donna

    Beautiful Tablescape! nothing to be ashamed of…looks perfect to me!

  5. Jen

    Beautiful as always !!

  6. Kelly

    I love this so much! You’re right; we don’t have to wait until it’s “finished” in order to LIVE in our home!

  7. Leslie

    I love this because it’s so encouraging. Thanks for continuing to be real and focus on the “what you have” rather than what I typically see happening with setting the bar so high that it’s not even realistic for most people to live on that level. I’ve honestly felt a lot of blog fatigue in the past year or so because it’s become too much about being so pulled together. I love reading all your in-progress posts with your house. It’s so fun to see things come together and it’s giving me the itch to work on some things I’ve been putting off for too long. Thanks for sharing!

    • Teresa from Northern BC, Canada

      I concur on all counts!!! Love the white cabinets Marian!

  8. Pam from Maryland

    Looking good Marian !!! Your love for home and tranquility is shinning thorough !!,,

  9. Teresa

    Lovely Fall table scape Marion……I spy some white cabinets in the background. You have been a busy lady as usual!

  10. Gilda Stigliano

    my mantra: stop buying and use what you have in recombinations! If you ‘ve been a good buyer in the past, and bought what you love, it all works together in a million new ways! let’s be creative! love the tablescape

  11. Denice H.

    Simply lovely….as always!

  12. Anne

    Beautiful. I’m so impressed with how much you have gotten done in such a short time…and still making everything look beautiful amidst the chaos of painting! I look forward to your blog everyday. Keeping it real!!! Blessings to you and your family.

  13. Sharon

    So pretty. Fall is the hardest table decorating time for me but you have given me inspiration!

  14. Cathy

    Absolutely gorgeous!! You are SO creative! And, those painted cabinets… 🙂

  15. Kim

    Lovely and welcoming as always! The kitchen will look awesome when done. Love the cabinets in white.
    See, even in the midst of chaos, we can find beautiful moments to brighten our days. It must be lovely to walk by and see this, minus the berries, I’m sure. I’d leave it set up for a good week, well for you, I guess until supper hour.

  16. Elizabeth

    Considering you just moved into your house and that neither your kitchen nor your dining room is finished, you’ve pulled together an amazing fall tablescape. More important, you found acway to include Eulalie in the photos.

    I have a question. Do you leave the tablescape up all the time and kind of eat and work around it? Or is this a theoretical way you might set up a table for one special meal? I’m not familiar with the practical application of tablescaping, other than the pleasure of seeing it in your blog, of course.

  17. MaryLisa Noyes

    Table looks amazing! The heather wrapped is such a naive touch!

  18. Renee

    What you describe as issues/problems sounds very much like normal for most of us.
    Your talent is an inspiration to us Thank you

  19. Cheryl

    Beautiful!! You can’t tell your kitchen isn’t finished!

  20. Robin

    Your new home is making such a lovely backdrop for your artistic design and photography!
    Are the heather plants in antique pudding molds? It’s all just gorgeous!

  21. Rebecca M

    As always your designs are beyond beautiful. It you would have left out the first part of your narrative, we would have never thought it wasn’t what you may have really wanted to do. Happy Fall. You certainly do it in style.

  22. Mary

    One of my long standing sayings has been “champions adjust”! YOU are a champion! Beautiful!

  23. Debbie Reynolds

    Oh, Marion, as always, you have done a lovely job!

  24. Denise

    Your arrangement is so beautiful! The muted, soft colors and the combination is so inviting! And the painted cabinets look wonderful. So fun to follow along on your journey!

  25. Amber Carey

    Thank you for sharing! Please don’t ever stop yourself from doing something just because it isn’t exactly the way you dream it. You need to have a life while you journey thru life. By sharing you enrich all our lives. Thank you!

  26. PJ

    Your table looks lovely. I like your use of natural elements which seems much “greener” to me. I am trying to be much more conscious of bringing stuff into the house. Thank you for sharing. You have accomplished an impressive amount in just a short time.

  27. JC at the uncommon pearl

    I love the color combination of your centerpiece. It looks beautiful just as it is!

  28. Libby

    So lovely! I like the muted peaceful colors very much, no orange anywhere!

  29. Charlotte

    I love that you jumped in….even though you want it to be the vision in your head, you made it beautiful with “how it is” versus “how it can be”. So many of us aren’t at that “perfect” place! You inspire to ” make the most of “imprefectness”!! It’s beautiful, just beautiful!

  30. Susan

    Love it. Love it. Love it. Inspirational.

  31. Lelanie

    I really love this too. So sad that we don’t really decorate our homes for the seasons, but I can always do mine! Although I’m so inspired by Fall after watching all of this, it will be hard to decorate for spring! It’s been a very long awaited spring here in New Zealand! Love you blog as always. 😀

  32. Mildred

    Marian, the purple figs are beautiful, hope they taste as good as they are pretty!
    I’m glad you are such a down-to-earth person that you can show us a picture of your partially painted
    cabinets. The kitchen is going to look great with painted cabinets.

  33. Norma Rolader

    Oh my love love the tablescape all the textures and using what you have is great I see cabinets in the back looks like everything is coming together in your new home God bless and keep the great info coming

  34. Ashlea

    Beautiful as always Miss Mustard Seed.

  35. Loretta

    You know Marian, I like that your house is less than perfect. Mine is too and this encourages me to pretty up a spot even if I can’t do the whole house right now. Thanks!

  36. Rachel

    I’m so glad you posted this! So real, so relateable and authentic, and yet so incredibly beautiful! You are inspiring and I love how you layered all those natural elements to create a lovely and inviting setting!

  37. Karen

    Beautifully done! I would have had a major anxiety attack in your situation. What makes you a pro is you pulled it together despite the obstacles and it looks amazing.

  38. Michelle

    Are you kidding?! It’s PERFECT! 😍 Thank you for sharing! ❤️

  39. allison cadieux


    would love the see a peek of what the front of your new house looks like marion!

  40. Sue at Blu

    Beautiful to see you adapt, which you do so well. Most of us deal with what we have and are frustrated daily by wanting it all perfect now! Thanks for the reminder that we can make it work with what we have!

  41. Julie Blanner

    Love the sentiment- I completely agree! It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.

  42. Wendy Y

    This is all so encouraging and so pretty too. And I think your photography just gets better all the time too. I love the close-up shots here this time — They really drew me in to the beauty that is there. 😍

  43. Marlene Stephenson

    When a table is that pretty who cares about the back ground. Looks like you are doing a great job on those cabinets.

  44. Kristen

    I love your Fall table Marian! I love that yummy grain sack and all of the fresh elements! So, so pretty! I also had to giggle about your son and the blackberries because I have SO many pictures of my kids little hands popping in my pictures to sneak a bite of something. 🙂

  45. Yvetta

    Too funny that you all used purple. I guess great minds really do think alike! Love watching the house become your home!

  46. Anna

    To me it’s gorgeous! So nice to see something other than orange and browns for fall decor. Love it!

  47. rajan

    Many user uses the multiple account and they forget the password of them. This is apply in Microsoft accounts so we provide the remembering password.

  48. roman davis

    This is a very splendid table for eating a meal and working.I have never seen such a valuable table and beautiful blog. Thanks for sharing this news.



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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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