Centerpieces—be they at a wedding or just a static, steady feature on your dining table—have a reputation for being rather fussy. Many of them are also very obviously seasonal: sunflowers and cacti for summer, red berries and coniferous branches in winter.
They don’t have to be so boxed in, though, and they don’t have to be floral. And they certainly needn’t be fussy, because, quite frankly, who needs that right now. I’m quite partial to centerpieces that just use what’s available, like a variety of produce or a collection of vintage items you have lying around used as vases—the more unexpected, the better. Below, we’ve collected 13 unique centerpiece ideas that will scratch your creative itch and feel 100 percent autumnal, but can easily be modified for any theme or season.
1. Collection of Candlesticks
If you’re a lover of vintage candlesticks (brass, wood, silver—all fair game), gather them all together with some taper candles and set them at the center of the table. No florals necessary.
2. Dried Leaves and Cut Fruit
This centerpiece feels quintessentially fall, but it can be easily recreated with dried grasses, more citrus, and bright, springy florals to carry this same concept through the seasons.
3. Spray Painted Baby’s Breath
This overflow of (very affordable) vase filler is simply spray painted and arranged down the center of the table. While this version is brightly hued, this idea would work just as well with more neutral or moody colors.
4. Fish Bowl Florals
Fish bowls lend themselves perfectly to floral arrangements, because the tight rim keeps thick bunches of stems right where you put them. This collection of eucalyptus, roses, ferns, and protea would be equally at home on a fall or summer table.
5. Clustered Vases
We’ve spoken before about the ease and payoff of several bud vases or bottles clustered together as a centerpiece—it’s a perfect beginner floral arrangement for a look that's totally professional.
6. Submerged Botanicals
Similar to the cluster of vases, this centerpiece is versatile enough to use any vessels you have on hand. But instead of leaving the stems to stick out, the pieces are submerged, à la homemade gin.
7. Coffee Table Styling
There are no rules when it comes to arranging a centerpiece, so who says you can’t take inspiration from coffee table styling? A stack of books, a neutral object, and a round vase of preserved stems would stun on a dining table, too.
8. Filled Clotches
Similar to a terrarium (but much easier to arrange) a glass clotche can hold any number of curiosities—from dried florals to small objects.
9. Suspended Pampas Grass
While this centerpiece isn’t actually on the table, it certainly would be the focus. This tutorial is actually pretty simple, using just chicken wire, clear string, and stems of dried pampas grass.
10. Potted Plants
There’s probably no better last-minute centerpiece than rounding up your houseplants and sticking them at the center of the table—which in the end, looks quite intentional.
11. Seasonal Fruits
Entirely edible, affordable, and elegant…who knew a plain ol' bowl of fruit made such a perfect centerpiece? Like florals, this one isn’t confined just to fall, but can adapt with the seasons—citrus in the summer and stone fruit for the winter.
12. Crystals and Brooding Florals
The darker color palette of this tablescape can actually bridge the seasonal gap, as the purple agate and crystal details would be just as perfect for a Hocus Pocus Halloween dinner as it would for a summer meal al fresco.
13. Stone Piles
Okay, so maybe you don’t have chunks of marble laying around (or you do?), but this centerpiece was too unique not to include.
14. Out of the Cornucopia
A cornucopia is one of the most quintessential symbols of Thanksgiving, but they’re also pretty antiquated. Instead of holding fruit hostage inside a cone-shaped basket, let them roam free on the table as an edible centerpiece.
15. Stacks of Pumpkins
These adorable stacks of pumpkins conjure images of digging through buckets of miniature pumpkins at the patch to find the perfect arrangement to stack on up, and I can’t think of anything I’d rather do right now, TBH.
16. Butternut Squash Vase
Just like a pumpkin, you can actually carve out the flesh from a butternut squash to use it as a vase. The day of Thanksgiving (or any fall gathering!) simply cut a lid and scoop out the flesh just like a pumpkin, fill it with water, and fluff up some flowers inside.
17. Pile O’ Pears
I mean, need we say anything else? A beautiful pile of pears is the perfect thing to welcome Thanksgiving guests into the table.
19. Dried Hydrangeas
Did you know that hydrangeas dry into beautifully muted forms of their fresh selves? All you have to do is let them sit in water (which will preserve some of the color) until the petals are stiff and the branches easily snap, so don’t toss your summer blooms just yet!
Whether you're in the mood for some soup-simmering, leaf-peeping, or nothing at all, your dream weekend awaits...View Guide