My Mom’s Secret Decorating Weapon (That I Now Kind of Love)

published Sep 21, 2017
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(Image credit: I Suwannee)

I grew up in a home with a mom who liked to experiment with decor (for better or for worse). Whether it was the lime green and silver vertical-striped accent wall in our living room (that my teenage self thought was pretty rad) or the antique garden bistro set (which she found and spray painted a bright aqua) that lived in a corner of the family room, decor changed faster than hair styles around the Hernandez residence. One thing that was always steadfast? My mother’s adoration of the skirted side table, a.k.a. her decorating secret weapon.

Though I thought they looked a little fuddy-duddy at the time, they were an easy way to fill corners and foyers (as well as use as secret storage since the simple frame of the table left plenty of room underneath for boxes galore). My mom loved them because they were inexpensive—any ol’ round table would do (especially a cheap-o particle board version or something that’d seen better days). She usually picked up a table cloth at a discount retailer like Ross, or sewed her own with fabric she had laying around.

With the change of every season, she swapped out the table cover to get festive; that or if someone happened to tip over a candle ::cough not me cough::, it was an easy fix (wash the fabric or whip up something new the following weekend).

Well mom, I’m here to say, I think I get it now. Sure, the look is pretty traditional (and I prefer slightly more modern furnishings), but sometimes you need a touch of color or pattern in a room, a little more surface area, or something with heft to fill a dead corner…and your clever skirted table does just the trick.

Let’s take a look at a few tastemakers who share my mom’s skirted-table love:

I recently spotted Jamie Meares of I Suwannee‘s Schumacher-clad skirted table (top photo), and was reminded of how these can present a wonderful opportunity to add a touch of movement, pattern and color to a space.

Have visitors coming soon and want to set up an easy nightstand where there is none? Repurpose an appropriately sized table you may have laying around (or pick up an inexpensive one at a thrift store) and cover it with an oversize table cloth. While the table shown here via Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles has a custom fabric made to match the bed bench and shams, it’s not difficult to recreate something similar on a budget.

(Image credit: Lonny)

Boy do I envy anyone who has as much spare space in their open floorplan as this room from Lonny, but if you do indeed have a dead area in your home that you’re unsure what to do with, the skirted table never fails.

(Image credit: Allison Elebash)

A highly tailored cover with inverted pleats over a console like the one here from designer Allison Elebash gives a more modern lean to the traditional skirted table.

(Image credit: McGrath II)

Very similar to the one shown above, but with a slit in the front to make anything inside the console more accessible. I can see something like McGrath II‘s version here in a foyer…to hide shoes.

(Image credit: Hunted Interior)

From Hunted Interior, a media center is a genius application for the skirted table! These hefty furniture pieces can be very pricey, but if you don’t have much in the way of movies or things to store, consider DIYing something pretty rudimentary and covering it with a skirt (Little Green Notebook has an easy-to-follow tutorial here).