Fall and Thanksgiving
Budget Decorator: 12 Cheap and Chic Fall Centerpieces
Some of the best things in fall are free (or nearly so) and make for beautiful, meaningful displays to brighten a table
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Fall entices us to spend more time in the cozy warmth of hearth and home, and often that means gatherings around the table. Luckily, there are many ways to update your table without splurging on new dishes and linens. Look instead to items from nature, quick and easy DIY ideas, budget-friendly finds and long-lasting centerpieces, to create a fresh, new look without a lot of shopping. Read on for 12 cheap and chic ideas that will make you smile each time you pass by your table.
Create a woodland-inspired living centerpiece. Plant any ground cover you like in a shallow, mod pot for a lasting display. Accent it with ceramic mushrooms or foraged wood and stones, and be sure to use a trivet or dish beneath it to protect your table.
Use other items from nature. Bare branches can be paired with tea lights or air plants as a sculptural centerpiece. Pheasant or other feathers look striking in a simple cylindrical vase, while sheepskins (real or faux) and a stack of firewood add to the warm, cozy feel. Keep your eyes open in your own backyard, on nature walks — and if all else fails, in the craft store — for supplies you can use in creative ways.
Choose long-lasting items from the farmer's market. Look for more durable items like dried persimmons or pomegranates, berries and interesting foliage to extend the life of your arrangement. Whereas fresh flowers last only a week, these finds can last anywhere from one month to a whole season.
Make a statement with a single swooping branch. A vase filled with one lovely, arching branch of foliage or berries takes up enough visual space to stand alone. Pair contrasting hues — like the red berries and blue vessel shown here — for a vibrant look.
Keep arrangements low for easy conversation. Casually arrange berries or other small branches along the center of your table. Intersperse candles (be sure to keep branches away from the flames!) and anchor the arrangement on a simple runner.
Spice up your table or chairs with a new hue. Embrace the season by painting your table a vibrant, warm color like red or golden yellow. If you are nervous about making a big commitment, try painting just the table legs, or a single bench or chair, and see how the color feels.
Shop your kitchen for creative table decor. Think beyond standard vases and planters for centerpieces. Pitchers, teacups, coffee mugs, serving platters and trays, and even soup terrines can all make wonderful containers for seasonal flowers, fruit and candles. Have some pretty herbs growing on your kitchen windowsill? Grab those, too.
Give small items more presence with plates and platters. You don't need an overblown centerpiece to make a statement. A small potted plant and a few slender candles can take center stage when elevated on a plate or cake stand. Use pretty cups as bud vases for flowers snipped from your garden (or plucked from a market bouquet) to round out the arrangement.
Use burlap and mason jars. Simply cut and fold burlap for a quick, rustic-chic runner or tablecloth. Use mason jars as candleholders, vases or glasses for water or wine. Or create easy embellished vases by wrapping a few of your jars with burlap (secure with hot glue).
How to make a rustic-chic burlap table runner
How to make a rustic-chic burlap table runner
Set up a functional display with frequently used items. Display silverware in a caddy and pretty cloth napkins in a basket, and keep ready-to-eat fruit on a pedestal or cake stand. If the containers you choose don't match, give them a fresh look with a coat of unifying black or white paint.
Corral favorite objects on a tray. Choose items in a tight color palette for a collection that hangs together. Silver paired with mercury glass, and white with wood, are two foolproof combinations.
Include food in your tablescape. Nothing is more luscious than perfectly ripe, in-season produce, so let your market finds take center stage when you set the table. Place a perfect pear, pomegranate or persimmon on each plate, fill a bowl with figs and grapes, or make a heaping pile of colorful squash.