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Pull out your pretties: Welcome spring with a fresh new tablescape

For Franklin County Extension director Katernia Cole-Coffey, childhood memories are filled with images of beauty. With a mother who put a high value on having a home that was both clean and a delight to the eyes, Cole-Coffey has carried on that penchant for prettiness – and it’s a passion she wants to encourage in others.

“Having a house that’s clean – a pretty home – it helps your mind and helps you relax. When things are pretty and attractive, you gravitate toward those things,” Cole-Coffey explained.

Spring, Cole-Coffey added, is the perfect time to “pull out your pretties” and breathe new life into one’s home with fresh tablescapes for the dining room or any space in the house. Cole-Coffey has amassed a collection of linens and china she said she loves to display – first inspired by her mother’s love of antiques.

“When I was young, we would go around on Fridays and Saturdays and go to antique shops or home interior shops, and we would just get really neat things,” Cole-Coffey said. Since her mother, Georgia Leagrice Echols Cole, has passed, Cole-Coffey has inherited many of those items and recently used them to create different tablescapes, using downtown Russellville’s Tartan Plow as the location for her displays – many of which incorporate linen and lace. “My aunt, Rosie Langham Cole – she and my late uncle would go on different trips, and she knew my mother liked linens, so the linen and lace placemats and napkins were a gift to my mother from my Aunt Rose.”

In addition to showcasing her assortment of linens, Cole-Coffey also likes to beautify her tables with different china collections. Pink-and-green Haviland Limoges evoke a feeling of springtime, and pairing the setting with a Waterford tea glass adds an extra dash of elegance. “It’s pretty and refreshing,” Cole-Coffey said.

Although Cole-Coffey turns to her extensive collection, she said the important thing is for people to just use what they have and find a way to incorporate their items into a tablescape or their general décor. “When you’re setting the table – everything that says it’s for a specific purpose doesn’t have to be used for that,” she explained, encouraging experimentation and combining different pieces to create a new look. A pink Fenton bunny brings a touch of whimsy to one of her tablescapes. “Let’s hop into spring. Easter is coming around, so let’s incorporate different seasonal things into our home.”

Cole-Coffey also urged people not to neglect the centerpiece. “Whatever you are going to use for your centerpiece – green hydrangeas, white hydrangeas – incorporate other colors with it,” said Cole-Coffey. Other pieces in the display can help draw out different elements of the centerpiece – meaning the centerpiece can be tied in with multiple tablescapes for multiple different arrangements and displays.

Although the dining room and living room might be first on the list for a little re-decorating, Cole-Coffey said people should not neglect another crucial space – the bathroom.

“I encourage people to add really pretty linens to their bathrooms,” she said. “Put your cotton balls and Q-tips in really neat containers. Add liquid hand soap and bar hand soap and some really good sprays.” Spring might be the right time to change out that old shower curtain and add new towels and rugs. “Mama would find somebody in the community who could crochet lace, or if they did tatting, and she would have someone sew tatting on linen towels for her,” Cole-Coffey said – noting the technique also makes for lovely pillowcases.

The entryway of a home should also be a focal point, Cole-Coffey added. Seasonal items can bring a pop of color to the front door.

However one chooses to decorate the home, Cole-Coffey said the important thing is to use what’s available, be creative – and remember that house size doesn’t matter in the least. “If I lived in a tent, it would be pretty. No matter where you live, it needs to be pretty and inviting