As Sara Kate pointed out in her recent Kitchn email, the best decor for the Thanksgiving table is the one that you collect from your own garden (if you're lucky). But, even if you live in a city, you can collect fallen branches and leaves. We've rounded up the best ways to use Mother Nature's vibrant trash to decorate your home.
- Branches: Stark and sculptural, branches are popular in their natural state as well as spray painted in various colors. Gather a handful in a jar, intersperse them with flowers, hang small ornaments from them. For more ideas on how to use branches in your home, click here.
- Leaves: Autumn leaves in bright orange, vibrant red and velvety brown are a classic decor choice. Scatter them across a table, gather leaves that are still attached to their stems in a jar in lieu of flowers, press them between glass in a frame and hang them on your wall, keep children occupied rolling them into "faux roses." Although cheese is classically served on leaves, we recommend purchasing fake versions made from parchment paper unless you can be assured of using leaves that are clean and pesticide-free.
- Nuts: We've always loved the English custom of serving walnuts, port and stilton at the end of a meal, but a big bowl of nuts is a decorative choice that has the added benefit of being edible! Instead of serving them in a bowl, try a grouping of a bunch of vases, each filled with a different shelled or unshelled nut. A narrow vase filled with small nuts can anchor a candle for your dining table.
- Pinecones: Gather your own or buy them in a bag at the grocery store where they often find a place next to the firewood. Pile them in a bowl or basket, glue them into a holiday tree shape, scatter them across a sideboard
- Fruit: Big bowls of apples, pears or citrus are classic holiday decor and a better bet for snacking than a pretzels, potato chips or candy.
- Vegetables: While our friend Z despises Brussels Sprouts, we bet even he would find a vase of them still attached to their stems intriguing (more so if he never had to eat them). Artichokes are another sculptural vegetable we like piled in a bowl. Display a single one on a mail spike. And of course, gourds and pumpkins are almost de riguer display items at this time of year.
- Flowers: Bringing fresh flowers into your home is item one on the Apartment Therapy credo. Mix it up by seeking out unusual varieties at your local farmer's market. Some of our favorites: Anemomes, Gerber Daisies, Coxcombs. Gather a bunch in a vase, line up a bunch of small vases with a single flower in each one, pluck the heads from flowers and group them around the base of a candle, intersperse them with other autumn favorites to create unusual displays. Click here for a classic low display in a round bowl that can be modified to suit the flowers you have on hand. For other ideas on how to use cut flowers, click here.