Prevent water rings by cutting mismatched or damaged plastic placemats into smaller squares with pinking shears, discarding parts that are torn or stained.
2 of 20Monica Buck
Chalk as Tarnish Prevention
Slow the tarnish on your good silver by tying up a few moisture-absorbing pieces in cheesecloth and store them with your cutlery for shinier flatware that reflects well on you in no time flat.
3 of 20Photo: Nicole Hill Gerulat; Styling: Kristine Trevino
Pumpkin as Place Card
Spell out guests’ names with adhesive letters (or write them with a permanent marker); send the mini gourds home as party favors.
4 of 20Photo: Erica McCartney; Styling: Kristine Trevino
Doily as Candle Holder
Looking for an easy and inexpensive way to dress up tables? Give pillar candles delicate, lacey embellishments by folding doilies in half, wrapping them around candles, and securing with tape.
5 of 20Erica McCartney; Styling: Kristine Trevino
Wrapping Paper as Napkin Ring
Cut even strips of leftover wrapping paper, wrap around a napkin, and affix with tape. There’s no easier—or cheaper—way to dress up place settings.
6 of 20Photo: Nicole Hill Gerulat; Styling: Kristine Trevino
Use a Wineglass as a Candleholder
Give some height to a candle display by perching a pillar on an upside-down wineglass.
7 of 20Photo: Nicole Hill Gerulat; Styling: Kristine Trevino
Pine Cone as Place Card
Dust off pinecones from the yard to make rustic (and free) place card holders for a fall dinner party. You can also paint them for a more modern look.
8 of 20Photo: Nicole Hill Gerulat; Styling: Kristine Trevino
Ribbon as Place Card Embellishment
Punch four holes around a piece of cardstock, then tie two pieces of ribbon along the top and bottom to make a striped place card.
9 of 20Photo: Nicole Hill Gerulat; Styling: Kristine Trevino
Holiday Tags as Drink Labels
Merlot gone missing? A small, adhesive gift tag keeps each drink in the right hand.
10 of 20Photo: Nicole Hill Gerulat; Styling: Kristine Trevino
Wrapping Paper as Placemat
Turn rectangles of giftwrap into placemats you don’t mind getting dirty. You can even write guests’ names on the edges to designate seats.
11 of 20Photo: Nicole Hill Gerulat; Styling: Kristine Trevino
Kazoo as Place Card
Ready to blow it out at your next dinner party? Use a permanent marker to write guests’ names on kazoos to designate seats—perfect for New Year’s Eve.
12 of 20Photo: Nicole Hill Gerulat; Styling: Kristine Trevino
Ribbon as Utensil Holder
When utensils are wrapped together, guests can grab what they need in one go—great for a buffet table.
13 of 20Anita Calero
Quilt as Tablecloth
Give your table a cozy vibe by covering it with an extra quilt. Just make sure it is machine washable, so a spill won't ruin an heirloom.
14 of 20Photo: Nicole Hill Gerulat; Styling: Kristine Trevino
Tree Bow Ornament as Napkin Ring
Use tree bows (with built-in loops on the back) to hold napkins for Christmas dinner—or turn any ornament into a decorative tie by threading a ribbon through the wire loop on top.
15 of 20Photo: Nicole Hill Gerulat; Styling: Kristine Trevino
Paper Towel Tube as Linen Organizer
Keep linen placemats and runners crease-free; roll them around a paper towel holder instead of folding.
16 of 20Jose Picayo
Shells as Salt Cellars
Enhance flavors—and your table setting—with a salt pinch pot made from a shell.
17 of 20James Merrell
Soup Tureen as Centerpiece
Arrange an easy centerpiece. Fill with a little water and float flowers on the surface, or stack citrus fruits inside.
18 of 20Annie Schlechter
Mirror as Centerpiece
Place an inexpensive full-length mirror (the kind you attach to a closet door) atop the dining-room table. Set vases or candles of various heights on the mirror. It's an easy and elegant way to adorn your table.
19 of 20 Mark Lund
Salt and Pepper Shakers as Bud Vases
Screw off the caps of spare salt and pepper shakers (or empty jam jars or perfume bottles) and use the receptacles to display flowers on a bedroom night table or a guest-bathroom sink. You can also put potpourri inside.
20 of 20Mark Lund
Storybook Pages as Placemats
Add some character(s) to a table setting by sandwiching favorite storybook pages between lamination sheets (available at office-supply stores). Catchy text and colorful pictures (think Dr. Seuss and nursery rhymes) are especially attention-grabbing.