Party like it’s 1938 with furniture, accessories, and linens as colorful as the vintage Fiesta plates we used as inspiration.
Sometimes you just gotta pull the collectibles out of the closet. And this easy-does-it backyard bash is one of those times. Starting with stacks of circa 1940 Fiesta plates, we designed a casual party that combines everyone’s favorite Art Deco dinnerware with retro tablecloths, classic paper lanterns, and always-stylish summer blooms.
We’re happy to say this vintage shindig is easy to throw together. That’s because it’s simply about mixing and matching colors, the characteristic that has made Fiesta a tabletop choice for millions of homemakers and collectors.
When Fiesta hit the market in 1936, the idea of being able to combine pieces by personal preference (rather than buying a set of matching dinnerware) was pretty radical. That clever marketing ploy, which has sold Fiesta dishes for more than 75 years, works just as well for party decor. So we set up the main table beneath a pergola, letting red, turquoise, and yellow Fiesta glazes inspire our style.
Bursting with color, the backyard party pops against a neutral backdrop of weathered boards. Fishing line keeps matching (and thrifty!) paper lanterns hovering above the party zone; their metal wire frames mirroring the concentric circles found on Fiesta plates.
Vintage cotton tablecloths in layers of vibrant blue and yellow plaid cover the dining table. Red-rimmed metal trays and midcentury metal goblets add splashes of additional color. Spray paint updates mismatched wood chairs in hues to match our heirloom dishes. And behind it all, vintage tablecloths fashioned into tie-back curtains inject a Fiesta-worthy spirit into the atmosphere.
Reduce the mess—and conserve paint—by spraying chairs in an impromptu booth made from a large shipping box. Stick push pins in the chairs’ feet while painting to keep them off the ground and prevent sticking.
Old mason jars become sparkling turquoise-color vases for red and yellow alstroemeria.
When holding blue and yellow plates, the red-rimmed metal trays tie all the colors of the party together.
Chalkboard paint makes it easy to personalize napkin rings that hold new linens in an old-timey hue.
Bring out your favorite flea-market finds for this casual, colorful tablescape.
We mixed in collectibles, terracotta pots, and fresh blooms atop a painted cupboard peeling with vintage-chic style.
Two themed food stations keep party guests moving and mingling. A vintage-chic cupboard kicks off the buffet line with Fiesta plates and flatware perched in painted terracotta pots.
Pilfered from a potting shed, the pots (now holding flatware) became party-ready when primed and then painted in vibrant hues. We hung them upside-down on bamboo stakes to streamline the spray-painting process.
An old piece of slate, drilled and screwed to a piece of weathered board, can be used for a welcome message or as a menu board.
Catty-corner from the red cupboard, a decked-out dessert station started life as an old tea cart.
Yesterday’s tea cart becomes today’s mobile party stand when draped in golden-yellow linen and stocked with treats and a bottle of bubbly in a vintage metal bucket.
An heirloom milk-glass cake pedestal adds height to a food display that includes fresh fruit and gourmet chocolates.
A tiered plant stand holds baskets of red and yellow begonias and purple violas that mimic Fiesta glaze colors.
Old floral and plaid tablecloths become tie-back drapes when hung from clips and tied to posts with twine. As curtains, they ramp up the party atmosphere and create a sense of enclosure for party guests.
Give past-their-prime tablecloths new purpose with our simple no-sew directions.
What You’ll Need
- Vintage tablecloths (2 tablecloths per finished curtain panel)
- Fusible tape
- Clothes iron
- Clip-on hooks
To make one panel, choose two tablecloths that are the same width. Launder and iron tablecloths, so any flaws will not show when panels are hanging (try an enzyme soak to remove any old stains).
Cut one tablecloth in half horizontally. Band whole tablecloths on top and bottom with the two halves of the other cloth. Seam the two pieces of cloth to the full tablecloth with fusible tape and iron for a permanent bond.
Hang curtains on small nails driven into pergola or sew a pocket in the top of the curtain to hang it on a drapery rod. Tie curtains to posts with twine for a full effect.
No pergola? Hang curtains from tree branches (using fishing line) or drape them over a tall fence.
We filled in design gaps with flowers and plants that echoed the Fiesta color palette: Gerbera daisies and alstroemeria for the buffet table, and baskets of purple violas and red and yellow begonias for a bare corner of the yard. With flowers and food offerings in place, the party (or fiesta!) is complete.
© Caruth Studio