With Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other winter holidays coming up, many of you are thinking about decorating your homes and setting your dinner tables with fabulous centerpieces. The possibilities for materials are about as endless as the possible price ranges. The good news is that you can make beautiful arrangements out of just natural items you find around the house and yard. And they are so easy, too! Let me show you how to make warm and inviting centerpieces for fall and winter. Each of these arrangements took me about 15 minutes to make (10 minutes to gather supplies and 5 minutes to arrange) and cost less than $5.
For my fall-themed centerpiece, I started by gathering some focal points for the centerpiece. I had some pomegranates and apples in the fridge, and a bag of walnuts in the pantry. You could easily adjust this to what you have on hand, and use items like mini pumpkins, gourds, cinnamon sticks, pears, or anything yummy and autumnal.
Next I went for a walk around my house and in the nearby park and started collecting colorful samples of fall foliage. I found deep red oak leaves on one tree and some green and red ones on another. The maple across the street had beautiful bright orange leaves and the poplar by the playground had giant yellow ones. Just grab anything and everything that looks pretty and sort it out later. (This is a great project for the kids to help with, by the way!)
Now select the base for your arrangement. I used a long, shallow, oval platter in a nice shade of brown. You can use just about anything you’ve got on hand, and I’ve had great luck in the past with shallow glass bowls, elevated cake plates, and wooden platters. (Can you imagine how gorgeous and elegant this would be on a fancy copper platter?) Just look around the house and find something with a shape that suits your table. You could even use one of the dinner plates from your china, and have it match the place settings.
Okay, let’s get down to business! Start by arranging a few of your larger leaves around the edges of the platter, making a nice base frame. Then add your fruit and nuts, with the biggest ones in the middle. For an extra special touch, slice a pomegranate in half before using it on the arrangement, which will make it look so much more inviting and extravagant.
When your focal points are in place, go back to your stash of leaves and other items and start poking them in between the fruit, filling all the nooks and crannies with foliage. Before long you’ll have a wonderfully full arrangement that’s ready for the table.
For the winter centerpiece, I used the same techniques as before, just with different materials. For my focal points, I used two small votive candles, some pine cones, and some cinnamon sticks. I used the same brown platter as before, which works equally well for this arrangement.
The foliage was all found around the yard and park again. I snipped some long pine needles from a tree in the park, and collected the pine cones from the ground below. I clipped branches from my evergreen bush by the front door, and some holly springs (look for berries!) from a friendly neighbor’s yard. I grabbed some lovely sage from my otherwise-dead herb garden and I was set.
The result is warm and inviting, and with all the aromatic elements I used (vanilla candles, sage, cinnamon sticks, pine), I have a lovely aroma as well as a beautiful display.
As you can guess, this technique can be expanded easily to just about any season. Here are some ideas:
- In the spring, snip young blossoms from flowers and fresh green leaves from budding trees. Add bright fruits like lemons and oranges (cut one open so you can enjoy its beauty) and some honeysuckle vines for an extra touch.
- In the summer, grab veggies and herbs from your garden and surround them with crisp green leaves.
- For Halloween, use mini pumpkins and lots of sticks and twigs for a dry, dead look. Sprinkle candy corn or fake spiders within the branches and drape a little fake spider web for full effect.
The key to all of these arrangements is to use what you’ve already got on hand and pull from nature as much as possible. There are so many ways to gather simple and fun items and make a unique and pretty arrangement!
Keep in mind that depending on what items you use in your arrangement, it may not have a very long shelf life, as the items dry up. If you’re doing this for a party or dinner, be sure to make the arrangement the day of or the day before, for maximum freshness.