The best thing about this rustic farmhouse buffet table setup is it can be used for any event. Whether you’re throwing a birthday party, wedding rehearsal dinner, graduation party, Mother’s Day, or “just because” party. As long as your theme is farmhouse, this diy food buffet tablescape is PERFECT!
Plus, it’s easy.
Two great things when you’re styling a food buffet table.
I know, it’s so easy to overspend on farmhouse table decorations.
But the great thing about rustic farmhouse style is you can pick up fantastic pieces at garage sales, estate sales, Facebook Marketplace, and thrift stores.
Cause when I think about farmhouse decor, I think of worn wood, chicken wire, wooden crates, grandma’s table linens, crockery, and vintage tableware. Items that SO MANY people get rid of.
In fact, nothing I used to create this rustic farmhouse food buffet tablescape is brand new.
They’re items I already had. (Shopping your home is the best place to start!)
How to Create a Rustic Farmhouse Buffet Table Setup
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*Note: I created this farmhouse-style food buffet tablescape on a folding table. But you can set it up on any long surface: on your kitchen island, your dining table, a picnic table, or a board that is placed on top of cement blocks.
Step 1: Select the foundation for your farmhouse buffet tablescape
Unless you’re fortunate to be using a fabulous farmhouse table for your food buffet, you’re gonna want to cover it.
You’re gonna want to hide the “ugly”.
Especially if you’re using a beat-up folding table like I did.
In which case, you’re also gonna want to hide the table legs.
There’s nothing pretty about a folding table. Right!
And the BEST thing to hide a nasty-looking folding table …. a white flat bed sheet.
Yep, I said a bed sheet.
It’s long enough to drape over the table and hide the legs. (Which, let’s be honest, can be super distracting when everything on top of the table looks fantastic.)
The length of your table will determine the sheet size you need to cover it.
*You can get super cheap bed sheets at Target or Walmart, or even your local thrift store,
Then place a tablecloth or other type of table covering over the top of the sheet.
I used a scarf to cover the top of my buffet table.
Yep, that fantastic table covering is a scarf. I just love the thin brick-red stripes! Total farmhouse style.
*Tip: think outside the box. You don’t have to use a tablecloth. As long as it’s fabric and has the farmhouse vibe, use it.
Step 2: Add height to your buffet setup
Once you’ve created the foundation for your rustic farmhouse buffet tablescape, you need to add varying heights to it.
You don’t want everything on your buffet table to be at the same height. That’s unappealing.
Think about it.
You eat with your eyes first.
What do I mean by that?
When you see something that looks like it tastes good ~ you assume it’s yummy. But you haven’t yet tried it.
You’ve automatically decided if you want to eat something just by looking at it.
By adding varying heights to your food buffet, you’re enhancing the visual presentation of the food on the table.
For this rustic farmhouse buffet table setup, I started by adding wooden crates at varying heights on the table.
I started low on one end, went higher in the middle, and then low on the other end. The idea is to create a visual arch. If you have a longer table, consider creating a wave or a rollercoaster shape, so there are a few peaks and valleys with the heights.
My first and third crates are from a local craft store and the one in the middle is an old Sunkist orange crate. It’s definitely seen better days, but that adds to the rustic element of the tablescape. Plus it also creates a lot of visual interest.
I love how the Sunkist crate has two shelves and three levels for food dishes!
On the right side of my buffet table setting I added a wooden toolbox. I found it a while back and thought it would be perfect as a utensil holder. I discovered that it’s a kit that can be found at Home Depot. Its unfinished wood style is perfect for the tablescape.
To add a little visual interest to the back of my rustic farmhouse buffet tablescape, I added a twig wreath and an old washboard. I found the washboard in a pile of free stuff at a garage sale just a few weeks ago. Total bonus!
Next, I wanted to soften the look of all the wood pieces. And I needed to hide the red and white stripes on the smaller wooden crate. So I added antique crochet doilies and embroidered table linens on top of them.
This is a great way to use those wonderful pieces your mother or grandmother made. They definitely add to the farmhouse style.
I also added a few pieces inside the crates and spread more doilies along the top of the buffet table. Most of the doilies will be hidden when the food dishes are added to the buffet setup, but your guests will be able to see them peaking out in various places which totally enhances that farmhouse feel.
Step 3: Style your buffet table setting with rustic farmhouse elements
With the varying heights created, and a little farmhouse decor added to your buffet, it’s now time to style the tablescape.
To add more rustic farmhouse decorations to the buffet.
If you’re gonna have flowers on your buffet table, you’ve gotta put them in a farmhouse style pitcher. It’s practically required.
I found my pitcher at a local thrift store. Its shape is perfect for a rustic farmhouse centerpiece.
Then I added flowers I bought at Trader Joe’s and placed the pitcher on top of my tallest crate. If there had been a bunch of wildflowers, I would have used them, but there weren’t any in my area.
*Note how the branches fall down on each side of the pitcher, this creates visual interest and directs your eye where to go.
I wrapped a white flour sack towel around the base of the pitcher to soften the look on top of the crate.
Then I added a few other smaller bouquets around the food buffet setup. You’ll notice two cute white ceramic boot vases, and a large mason jar (in the toolbox) filled with flowers.
*Tip: use flowers with little or no smell, so they don’t fight with the delicious smells from the food.
Then I added smaller farmhouse decor decorations around the tablescape.
A bell on the left, another hanging bell in the middle, a cute mouse on the right, and a wooden mallet inside the toolbox.
These are all subtle additions to the tablescape and ones your guests might not notice right away. But they help to carry your farmhouse buffet theme and add visual interest to the table setting.
And when they’re noticed, I bet you’ll hear it.
They’ll be pointed out to the other guests. Almost like a mini treasure hunt. Because once they see one item, they’ll be looking for others.
Step 4: Add the finishing pieces to your rustic farmhouse buffet table setup
Your rustic farmhouse buffet table setting is almost complete.
You just need to add the final pieces.
Don’t forget to place the plates at the beginning of the buffet line. On this table, it’s on the left. And the utensils on the opposite end.
I added mason jars filled with my spoons, knives, and forks inside the toolbox. Then I added a sticker identifying each one on the side of the toolbox.
*Tip: place the utensils face down in the mason jars, with the handles facing up. That way your guests don’t touch the parts that will also be touching the food.
I also added two wire baskets to the buffet table.
A small one filled with napkins in front of the wooden toolbox, and a second one on top of the smaller crate. I placed a cute embroidered napkin inside the larger basket to add a little visual interest to it. My thought is it would be a wonderful bread basket.
Isn’t this rustic farmhouse buffet table setup awesome!
And SO EASY to create.
Now you too know how to create a beautiful rustic farmhouse buffet table setup without breaking the bank.
Plus, you can set it up the day/night before so it’s ready when your guests arrive to add the food dishes.