New Uses for Things in the Dining Room
Place Mats as Coasters
Prevent water rings by cutting mismatched or damaged plastic placemats into smaller squares with pinking shears, discarding parts that are torn or stained.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Use a Wineglass as a Candleholder
Give some height to a candle display by perching a pillar on an upside-down wineglass.
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.
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.
Holiday Tags as Drink Labels
Merlot gone missing? A small, adhesive gift tag keeps each drink in the right hand.
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.
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.
Ribbon as Utensil Holder
When utensils are wrapped together, guests can grab what they need in one go—great for a buffet table.
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.
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.
Paper Towel Tube as Linen Organizer
Keep linen placemats and runners crease-free; roll them around a paper towel holder instead of folding.
Shells as Salt Cellars
Enhance flavors—and your table setting—with a salt pinch pot made from a shell.
Soup Tureen as Centerpiece
Arrange an easy centerpiece. Fill with a little water and float flowers on the surface, or stack citrus fruits inside.
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.
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.
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.