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Last-Minute Sustainable Valentine’s Day Tablescape with Thrift Store Finds

Are you looking for a sustainable Valentine’s Day Tablescape using thrift store finds? Are you striving for a sustainable Valentine’s Day? Read on for how to easily use secondhand store finds to build an elegant, last-minute tablescape! 

sustainable valentine's day tablescape
Eco-friendly Valentine’s Day Tablescape with Thrift Store Finds

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Did Valentine’s Day sneak up on you this year? Are you still desperately clinging to your New Year’s resolution for morning meditation while chugging coffee with one hand, scrambling eggs with the other, and using a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick to shut your refrigerator door, all while reading this blog post?

Girl, I feel you. 

Normally, I love a good upcycled DIY tablescape for holidays, but in the spirit of an easily attainable AND sustainable Valentine’s Day, I’ve thrown together this elegant, very last-minute Valentine’s Day tablescape using thrift store finds.

(However, if you have the time for a fun, sustainable Valentine’s craft, you may enjoy this Sustainable DIY Felt Heart Garland for Valentine’s Day.)

Did I say thrift store finds? That’s right! Secondhand finds are my go-to for a festive tablescape, and since you never know what you’ll find at the local resale shop, I’ve included some other ideas to help you throw together an epic and elegant Valentine’s tablescape in no time.

Eco-friendly Valentine’s Day Tablescape with Thrift Store Finds

And why exactly is this a sustainable Valentine’s Day tablescape?

  • The linens, china, glassware, candlesticks, centerpieces, and napkin rings all came from a secondhand store. 
  • I used beautiful desserts as a colorful retro accent instead of cheaply-made, disposable decor.
  • We’re combining sustainability and creativity: The “table runner” is a vintage ribbon that can be repurposed in crafts or gift-wrapping after the party.
  • The hearts are made from upcycled tissue paper. After the party, they can be easily repurposed as gift packaging – or you can compost them. 
  • While I am using grocery store flowers, I’ve flushed out the arrangement with ivy and foraged greenery from the yard. 
  • All the decor in this tablescape is compostable, reusable, resellable, giftable, or something you can donate. 
Eco-friendly Valentine’s Day Tablescape with Thrift Store Finds
Eco-friendly Valentine’s Day Tablescape with Thrift Store Finds

Finally, I spent a whopping $32 on this tablescape, including the tins for baking the heart-shaped desserts, thanks to a huge half-off sale at a local thrift store. If you’re on a budget, it’s worth calling around to see if anyone is having a sale before you head out shopping.

Getting Started on Your Own Last-Minute Sustainable Valentine’s Day Tablescape with Thrift Store Finds

Before you hit the thrift store, take stock of what you already own that might work. Rifle through your table linens, plates, grandma’s china, vases, napkin rings, and candlesticks.

Are you not sure where you’re headed? I wasn’t either, so before I got started, I made two stacks on my dining room table: one for items that might mesh well in a pink, flowery tablescape with gold accents, and a pile for items that might accent a red, white, and silver tablescape.

Eco-friendly Valentine’s Day Tablescape with Thrift Store Finds

It quickly became apparent that I’d need to do a lot more shopping to pull off a red Valentine’s tablescape, and since my dog’s newest hobby is last-minute, very pricy vet visits, I wasn’t looking to spend any more money than necessary.

Last but not least, don’t let your perfectionist tendencies get in the way of having a good time. If you look closely at my tablescape, you’ll notice slight variations in the shades of pink, two tones of white table linens, that the dessert plates are saucers, and that my “centerpiece” is a fruit bowl that’s strategically positioned on top of a pretty pink plate. I promise that once you assemble the whole sustainable tablescape, it won’t really matter.

Eco-friendly Valentine’s Day Tablescape with Thrift Store Finds
Eco-friendly Valentine’s Day Tablescape with Thrift Store Finds

Suggested Materials for Your Last-Minute, Sustainable Valentine’s Day Tablescape with Thrift Store Finds

  • White or pink tablecloth (Mine is a white piece of scrap fabric that we cut to fit the table.)
  • White or pink cloth napkins (Do you recognize mine from my Haunted Orchard Tablescape? I originally rescued them from the free bin at an estate sale.)
  • Vintage ribbon (Always check the crafting materials shelf at your local thrift shop!)
  • Tissue paper, decorative paper, or gift wrap and a piece of scrap paper to trace a stencil (If you’re using used paper, you can quickly iron it to remove creases.)
  • Candlesticks 
  • Candles
  • Napkin rings: (If you don’t find any at the secondhand store, you can make your own by covering sections of an empty toilet paper roll with paper or fabric.)
  • Vintage pink, white, or floral plates or china
  • Chargers or larger decorative plates to rest behind your china (optional) or XL doilies
  • Silverware
  • Pink or clear-cut glass vases, tumblers, or bowls for the floral arrangements
  • Pink and white flowers
  • Additional forage greenery, such as ivy (optional)
  • Heart-shaped baking tins or cookie cutters (optional)
Eco-friendly Valentine’s Day Tablescape with Thrift Store Finds
Eco-friendly Valentine’s Day Tablescape with Thrift Store Finds

How to Assemble Your Last-Minute, Sustainable Valentine’s Day Tablescape

  1. If you’re baking Valentine’s-themed desserts to use as a table accent, make those first. While they’re baking, you can move on to the steps below, as none of the other steps are time-sensitive. If you want to do pink icing but don’t have food coloring, try using a splash of maraschino cherry juice, like I did! You could also use pink sprinkles, edible glitter, or pink sugar.
  2. Wash and dry everything you’ll be using in your tablescape. Iron any linens that need it. 
  3. Put down your tablecloth and smooth out any wrinkles. Then, roll your ribbon lengthwise across your table until you’ve reached the desired length. I let mine hang about 4 inches over the edge of the table. Repeat until you have 5 equal lengths of ribbon, leaving a 1-inch gap between the ribbons. 
  4. Then repeat the process 3 times along your table width-wise where the place settings will align. I did fewer ribbons underneath the place settings so that they would fit under the chargers and remain anchored. 
  5. Weave a width-wise ribbon section through the length-wise ribbons in an “over-under” pattern. Repeat with the next ribbon in an “under-over” pattern to create a basketweave aesthetic. 
  6. Trim down your flowers and greenery as needed and add them to your centerpieces with several inches of water. Place your flowers along the center of your woven ribbon “table runner,” and add candles and candlesticks throughout for extra interest and sparkle.
  7. Set the table with your chargers, plates, silverware, napkins and napkin rings, and glassware.
  8. Cut a small square piece of scrap paper. Fold it in half, and trace half a heart along the folded seam. Cut along the marks to create a heart stencil. Trace your stencil on the underside of your tissue paper and cut out as many hearts as you’d like. Scatter them around your table, but make sure they’re arranged “pretty-side-up.”
  9. Ice and decorate your cakes, cupcakes, or cookies. Light your candles and set out the desserts immediately before sitting down to dinner. 
  10. Enjoy!
Sustainable Valentine’s Day Tablescape with Thrift Store Finds
Eco-friendly Valentine’s Day Tablescape with Thrift Store Finds

Breaking Down Your Sustainable Valentine’s Day Tablescape

  • Compost your flowers and greenery. Alternately, if you used flowers like hydrangea or baby’s breath, which dry beautifully and easily, consider making dried flower arrangements. If you’ve used non-toxic botanicals like roses, lavender, or eucalyptus, try repurposing them as crafting materials. You may enjoy these aromatic firestarters or this simple homemade bath soak recipe.
  •  Reuse the glass centerpieces for your next floral arrangement, give them to friends, or sell or donate them. 
  • You can also reuse, donate, gift, or sell your candleholders. If you have leftover candle wax from your taper candles or votives, you can melt it down and use it in the aromatic firestarters.
  • Roll up your ribbons and store them for your next craft or gift-giving occasion. 
  • Use the paper hearts as gift-wrap filling or compost them (if they’re free of glitter or metallic embellishments)
  • Enjoy, sell, or donate the china after you’re done with the sustainable Valentine’s Day tablescape. Since mine only cost about $1.50 per place setting, I considered it an affordable “rental” and didn’t keep the china. 
  • Are you wondering what else you could do with your chargers? If they’re made from brass or wicker, you could incorporate them into a basket or gallery wall. 
  • If you’re tired of your tablecloth, consider reusing it as crafting fabric or recycling it through a textile-specific recycling program. 
Eco-friendly Valentine’s Day Tablescape with Thrift Store Finds

All photos via Reese Moore Photography

If You Liked Last-Minute Sustainable Valentine’s Day Tablescape with Thrift Store Finds, You Might Enjoy:

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Valentine’s Day Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches

About the Author

Reese Moore

Reese Moore is a photographer, content creator, and pickle connoisseur who divides time between Charleston and Lake Lure. When she’s not behind the lens shooting stunning images for Reese Moore Photography, Reese loves to spend her time wandering the woods with her dog Gatsby or adventuring with her husband Logan in their Airstream Basecamp.

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