Summer Tablescape and Ideas for Vintage Linens

Decorate your dining room for summer with beautiful florals and my fun ideas for displaying vintage linens to create a cozy, cottage home.
white and purple lilacs in pitcher, lavender wreath, vintage dishes

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Hey friends, I'm so happy to welcome you to our home and share some fun ideas with you today! If you have a stack of vintage linens, you'll enjoy my creative ideas for decorating with them and getting them out of the drawers and into the light of day!

Summer 2023 Home Tours

Welcome to the 2023 Summer Tours hosted by Marty of A Stroll Thru Life! Nearly 30 home decor enthusiasts are inspiring you all week with ideas for adding summer touches to your home, both inside and out! If you hopped over here from Pasha is Home, a special hello to you! I always love seeing her cozy home.

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I wonder if you can relate?

We moved to MS last summer from TX, after Mr DIY was laid off (read our story here) Moving closer to our families was a priority (they're spread out over the US and Canada, so while we're closer, we're not super close!). We were hoping to rent for a year before finding our forever home, but here's the thing - it took longer than we thought for Mr DIY to find a job in a new career field, and the housing market isn't in a buyer's favor at the moment!

So here we are a year later, and we just renewed our lease for another year. We have lots of stuff packed away in the garage, our furniture has seen better days and I'm so ready to be in our forever home! While this is a beautiful home, and we are blessed to be here, it's not HOME. We aren't spending time and money investing in the yard, and there's no point replacing our tired sofa and chairs until we know what our needs will be.

Living in limbo is certainly not easy, I am having to lean into my faith and trust God more than ever! While I share beautiful ideas and projects here on the blog, life is messy and uncertain and chaotic at times and I just felt I needed to let you know how it's really going because I have a feeling a few of you are in similar circumstances! 

Finding ways to bring beauty into our chaos can be a great stress reliever, and surrounding ourselves with beautiful things can make anywhere feel like home.

Summer Tablescape and Ideas for Vintage Linens

I love thrifting, and I've found many beautiful linens that I can't resist. Not only do they take up almost no space to store, but they make me think of my Nana. She loved pretty things too, and her home was one of my favorite places to visit when she was still living.

Today I want to give you some ideas for decorating with those linens, rather than leaving them folded and tucked away. Pull them out, give them a fresh wash and use them to decorate your home for summer!

Decorating and crafting is also a good way to use those over-stimulated brain cells if you're in any kind of transition period!

Our dining room admittedly doesn't get used very often, only for special occasions. I have seen so many gorgeous pictures of fresh lilacs, and longed to bring some of those sweet smelling blooms into my home, but they don't grow this far south. Instead, I found some pretty faux florals at Michaels and gathered them into an ironstone pitcher for a table centerpiece that gives me the feel of sweet summer lilacs.

lilac centerpiece, vintage doily, woven chargers, lavender wreath

A large vintage doily anchors the florals and the colors work with the purples and pinks going on in this room. Everyone has doilies right? Pull them out and decorate with them!

I think of purple and pinks as the softer side of patriotic! I do enjoy adding reds and blues to my home, which I'll show you in a bit, but kept the dining room on the softer side.

A painted bunk bed ladder rescued from the trash was hung with vintage embroidered linens I've collected over the years. They have such beautiful colors and I love anything with a lacey edge! Displaying the linens over a ladder is a great way to showcase their intricate details and turn them into an instant collection!

vintage embroidered linens, painted ladder, monstera plant

pine hutch, lavender wreath, ladder with vintage linens, lilac centerpiece

What other vintage linens could you display on ladder rungs? Here are a few additional ideas:

  • table runners
  • hankies
  • doilies
  • quilts or quilt pieces
  • favorite fabric remnants
  • vintage feed sacks
You might also like the Patriotic Garland I made for our mantel using thrifted doilies and quilt pieces.

vintage embroidered hankies, table scarves, painted ladder

The table was set simply with white chargers, summer floral melamine plates I found at HomeGoods, and these lace edged napkins tied with a little ribbon.

lilac centerpiece, purple floral dishes, white lace edge napkins, lilac gingham ribbon

What if I don't own vintage linens?

If you don't have any vintage linens, keep an eye out at the thrift stores, especially the end caps! If you can sew, it's easy to make your own vintage-looking linens!

pine hutch, ruffled flour sack towel

Here are a few DIY vintage linen ideas:

  • I recently shared the Ruffled Flour Sack Towels I made using inexpensive Walmart towels. These generous sized ruffles are swoon-worthy in my opinion, I can't get enough! I made white ones, as well as blue and red checked ones, that have been embellished with a vintage grocery store stamp I found at Dollar Tree (see more here).
  • You can make a painter's drop cloth runner for your table by sewing ruffles at the ends, as I did to mine. Canvas drop cloth washes and dries to a lovely softness and the color is perfect!
  • Make new doilies look vintage by dipping them in a coffee or tea stain.
  • Purchase a yard of vintage inspired fabric and tear fabric into 18-20" squares to use as napkins.
  • Create your own grain-sack fabric by painting lines onto it as I did with my Faux French Grain Sack Bolster.
  • Recover your chair cushions with a vintage looking fabric tablecloth, as I did to my dining chairs.
  • Fold and stack several fabric pieces, quilts and blankets in a wire basket to show them off (only 3 of the below pieces are genuinely vintage)

white wire basket, folded linens

I hope those ideas stimulate your creative juices if you want to add vintage linens to your home!


More Summer Home Ideas

Here are a few additional peaks at our home, decorated for the summer. I love this white basket in the entryway that is filled with geraniums. Hung from a mirror, a basket of floral looks twice as full!

white basket hanging on mirror, white and red geraniums

I added lots of fun summer inspired decor to our living room shelves, like picnic baskets and baseballs. You can see more details of our summer living room HERE.

built in bookshelves, summer decor, picnic basket, baseballs

olive bucket filled with hydrangeas

The kitchen sports some of my DIY Primitive Scrap Fabric Flags, an easy, no-sew project that turned out so cute! I've tucked them in all over my home for a little pop of cottage Americana. 

I mix real and faux plants all over my home and they add so much cottage charm! If you're a fan of African Violets but can never get them to bloom, be sure to read my Best Tips for Growing African Violets!

African violet, basket centerpiece, geraniums, ironstone, scrap fabric flags

star basket, florals, flags, greenery, cabinet with vintage creamers

My Garden Themed Coffee Bar and mug rack filled with vintage pieces I've collected is a favorite spot in our kitchen. I'll be sharing a tutorial to make the ruffled stool cover soon.

mug rack, vintage dishes, ruffled towels, ruffled stool cover, garden theme coffee bar

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lilac centerpiece, lavender wreath, vintage ironstone, vintage linens

Tamara of Citrine Living is next on the tour, and I know you'll love her summer living room decorating ideas! You can click on any line below to catch up or see any tour.

bringing beauty to the ordinary,


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  1. Cindy, even though you are not in your forever home you truly have made a lovely temporary haven. It is so inspiring! It's always such a joy to be on tour with you.

    1. Thank you sweet Laura, I appreciate that! Hope your summer is wonderful!

  2. After seeing the cheerful lavender dining room photo but before I read this post I was thinking how different, more creative, open and cheery I find your blog since your move to MS. I didn’t know the backstory or your struggle with job loss and renting. it’s encouraging to see you graciously yielding to God’s timing for your getting another home of your own. And it’s apparent He is blessing your creative gifts and honing your talents.😊 this post is just lovely, I’m smitten with vintage linens too, especially when there’s tatting on the edges. My aunt did tatting but I never learned. What a creative use for a bunk based ladder. I sometimes hesitate to put out my old-lady linens because I actually am an old lady! abut I love seeing new modern ways to use them. Thank you. Pamela

    1. Pamela, your kind comments were a breath of fresh air today! Thank you for taking the time to lift my spirits with your encouraging words! I'm so happy to hear that I'm still inspiring you and yes, get those linens on display! Happy summer xx

  3. Oh how pretty, you would never know this wasn't your forever home, you have done an amazing job with a rental. I adore all of your beautiful linens, I have a few from my mother and they are cherished posessions. I also love how you decorate, one of my favorite spaces is your coffee bar. I love that you added the mug rack, the entire space is so inviting and welcoming. Thanks so much for joining the tour, your home is so full of inspiration.

    1. Thank you for those sweet comments Marty, it's always a pleasure to join your tours, and I appreciate all your hard work!

  4. You made me realize I need to stop shoving my vintage linens in a drawer and display them. I love the idea you had of placing them on a ladder or in a basket where you can see all the color! I also realize I have no clue where mine are. Guess that's something I also need to do when I get back to the farmhouse. Happy summer!

    1. Thanks Cindy, hope you find them 😉 Thanks for always making me giggle xx

  5. Cindy, the way you've styled each space is incredible, with so much love and attention to detail! I know you're in limbo right now but you've truly created such a magical home, even if it's temporary. Keep your faith! You will be where you are meant to be soon! I love all of your vintage linens and your tips are so wonderful - I think I need to take on some new projects, you've inspired me!

    1. Thanks so much for the encouragement Tamara, it means the world! And I'm so happy to have inspired you! xx

  6. Cindy, no matter what's going on behind the scenes you sure know how to inspire and captivate your audience. I'm loving all your summer linens and how you're styling every nook, shelf and tabletop. Things always have a way of working out and I know you'll get there. Big hugs sweet friend!

    1. Thank you sweet friend, I appreciate that! Happy summer!

  7. Your tips for using vintage linens on a tablescape are great, Cindy! And I love the other summer touches in your rental home... it doesn't look like a rental at all! You've done a great job being content with what the Lord has given you! His timing is perfect!

    1. Thanks Julie, appreciate that! I am resting in His promises, and remembering what He's done in the I know it'll be good! Thanks for the encouragement!

  8. Cindy, your tablescape is beautiful!! So many great tips that you've shared with us about decorating for the summer season, so inspiring and creative! Thank you so much for sharing this with us today, have a happy wednesday!!

    1. Thank you AnnMarie, it's always fun to tour with you twoE!

  9. Cindy, I love your table and all your pretty linens! You'd never know those faux flowers aren't real. Plus, they're practical for those of us who suffer from spring allergies! Great touring with you again!

  10. I've lived in limbo too and know how it feels when you are waiting on your forever home before choosing new furniture. You have done an amazing job decorating your rental though, Cindy. It looks so cozy and welcoming with all of your pretty linens and vingnettes. Happy summer and I'm sure your forever home is right around the corner!

  11. Cindy! Vintage is my love language! I love it! Thank you for sharing in such a fun summer blog hop! Let's do it again soon!

  12. Cindy, sorry you are going thru uncertain times. For us, it wasn't COVID but hurricanes.
    Love the cheery clean look you created. That ladder with the linens and those violet plates are my favorites. I wish you all the best and answered prayers.

  13. Hi Cindy! I love that you are making the best of your circumstances. God is in control and knows exactly where you are right now! Keep trusting! I love that you are using what you have to make your home cheery for summer! It's lovely! Great touring with you. Blessings, Lori

  14. I just love your table and all your pretty linens Cindy. I would have never been able to tell that the flowers were faux. They look so amazing! And that mug rack is adorable. Happy Summer my friend!

    1. Thank you Kim! I spent forever in the store trying to put together a real looking bouquet, so that means a lot!!


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