Yankee Doodle decorating: Festive Fourth of July tablescapes


Fireworks aren’t the only way to dazzle friends and family this Fourth of July. We’ve got a few festive ideas for making the most of your holiday tablescape with star-spangled, summertime style.

On a scale from a single sparkler to a fireworks grand finale, decorating for Independence Day is a democratic process that allows us to show off a little flair, or a lot.

Whether setting a patriotic picnic or a red, white and blue buffet table, decorating options abound. And they can be as simple as adding American flag-emblazoned appetizer plates to your tabletop or embracing the look from the tablecloth to the tapers.


Buckets of style

Small buckets or sand pails in patriotic prints, colors or galvanized surfaces are a fun way to create easy summer centerpieces: Plant pails with flowers or succulents, use as vases for cut stems, or fill with sand and add red, white and blue candles, pinwheels or small American flags. Pails can also be a great way to contain festively colored paper straws, silverware, napkins, candy or nuts on a buffet table.

Saving Washingtons

Inexpensive serving trays, baskets and paper goods can boost a Betsy Ross-inspired theme. Choose red, white and blue burger baskets, printed ice cream cups or festively colored platters for star spangled style without over-spending. Another way to keep the budget in check: Shop your own shelves for Americana-inspired pieces that might work unexpectedly together, or pull out your solid white dishes, serving bowls and platters and add blue or red accents (think: napkins, candles, flowers, streamers).


Stars and stripes

American flag-inspired tablecloths, napkins and runners are a great way to add instant drama and festive flair. The fact they can be used for other patriotic holidays and occasions makes them an investment worth considering.

American ingenuity

Invite unexpected items to the table. From the kitchen: Cute potholders can be used as trivets and freshly ironed dish towels with whimsical themes, prints and patterns can serve double duty as oversized napkins or placemats. Bandanas are a natural for Americana themes and are clever choice for napkins, basket liners, place mats or when tied onto the handles of platters ice buckets or lanterns.

Cheers to us

Drinks look festive and fun in wide-mouth mason jars — which can also be used as table vases or votive holders. Bonus points for decorative rocks glasses with images of our Founding Fathers from

Born in the USA

For style that is more subdued, little touches of patriotic panache can go a long way. Stars and stripes serving ware, striped flatware or picnic-cloth inspired linens can liven up a summer table. Add white flowers on a red and blue tablescape, or choose sunflowers for a happy, classic accent.

Bonnie McCarthy contributes to the Los Angeles Times as a home and lifestyle design writer. She enjoys scouting for directional trends and reporting on what’s new and next. Follow her on Twitter @ThsAmericanHome


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