By Vanessa Greaves

I'm a firm believer that a nicely set table adds to the enjoyment of your meal, but I don't love spending big on fancy decorations. And with Easter hop hop hoppin' our way, my goal is to set a fun and festive table on the cheap. Here's how I plan to do it, and I hope it gives you some ideas and inspiration, too.

Easter Table Ideas | Photo by Vanessa Greaves

The plan: Use what I already own and add cool finds from thrift stores, garage sales, bargain bins, and discount retailers. It's all about reuse, recycle, and reinvent. With style, of course. Love doing more with less? Feel free to steal these ideas for your own charm-on-the-cheap Easter tables and place settings.

Three Cheap Chic Easter Table Ideas

1. Casual Brunch Place Setting

Casual Brunch Place Setting | Photo by Vanessa Greaves

Owned: White plates, flatware, baby chick candles, and glass cups.
Found: Yellow plates, green-rimmed saucers, and linen napkins from a thrift store. Candy eggs, and edible candy grass are from Target. The yellow-striped placemats pulling this look together are simply cotton kitchen towels. I also tied the napkins with yellow organdy ribbons to keep the green and yellow color scheme going.
Cost: Under $15.00
Notes: I found the set of baby chick candles years ago, and I knew I'd never have the heart to light them up. So now I just pull them out every spring and wrap them with wired leaf garlands to make them look like they're nesting.

2. Baby Bunny Kids' Place Setting

Baby Bunny Kid's Place Setting | Photo by Vanessa Greaves
  • Owned:White plates, vintage flatware.
  • Found:Pink and blue plates and bowls are from a thrift store. Napkins, placemats, and vintage bunny candles are garage sale finds. White egg dish is from a discount retailer. Mini milk bottles are from World Market. Pink straws and candies are from Target.
  • Cost:Under $15.00.
  • Notes:Yeah, I have a thing for bunnies. I found the vintage bunny candles at a garage sale in an tiny old box marked 1965. I didn't have Easter in mind at the time, but I knew we were meant to be together. I put candy eggs in the egg dish, but you could fill it with deviled eggs, as the retail gods intended. I kept the color scheme pastel pink and blue to give the place settings a feeling of freshness and youth.

3. Elegant Grown-up Brunch Place Setting

Elegant Brunch Place Setting | Photo by Vanessa Greaves

Owned: White plates, vintage flatware, champagne flutes.
Found: Pink linen napkins were in an off-season bargain bin. Floral plates are from a discount retailer. Pastel candy eggs are from Target.
Cost: Under $10.00
Notes: I find some of my favorite cheap pieces at end-of-the-season sales. That's how I scored these super-soft pink linen napkins for a fraction of their normal price.

More: Learn how to fold napkins into bunnies for your Easter table.

Top Tips for Cheap Chic Styling

When you're working with mismatched items from random sources, it's way too easy to end up with visual chaos. Here's how to weave it all together into a coherent story:

Color Palette
Keep it simple. Choose two or three colors that go together and stick with them to create visual continuity. Pale pastels are easy on the eyes, but if you go vivid, a white background helps calm things down.

No Match, No Problem
Who says you have to have all the same plates, flatware, and glasses at every setting? Tie a ribbon around mismatched flatware to literally bring them together. Find one element to repeat at each place setting to make the whole thing look intentional; it could be as simple as a small bowl of candy or a rosemary sprig laid across a plate.

Keep to a minimum the ties and ribbons and embellishments that you have to undo in order to get at the flatware and napkins. Untie one thing = cute. Untie two things = fussy. Untie three things = ridiculous.

Less is More
Go ahead and include toy bunnies, candy, baskets, and Easter eggs on the table. It's Easter, after all. But take a step back and view it with an objective eye. Then start removing things one by one until you've found the right visual balance for your taste.

Hop through our entire collection of Easter Recipes.

Related Easter Fun

• Try these make-ahead Easter brunch recipes to free up time for an Easter egg hunt.

• Speaking of Easter eggs, here are all-natural Easter egg dyes and ideas for creative egg dyeing techniques.

• Looking for super-cute Easter food? Of course you are! Start with these cinnamon roll Easter bunnies and adorable edible Easter egg nests, then move on to cakes shaped like lambs, bunnies, and Easter baskets.