When setting the table for dinner your guests usually expect flowers and candles. But what if flowers aren't in your budget or, during these winter months, aren't really in season? No worries - you can create a cool centerpiece from just about anything.
Centerpieces usually serve as the color for the table as well as a focal point. It can also be a great conversation starter and show off your creativity. Your centerpiece will look its best if you are aware of the overall scale. You want it to take up horizontal and vertical space but not so much to impede eye contact or take up too much of the table. Arranging your one-of-a-kind centerpiece may take a bit more time than plopping down a vase full of flowers but the results will be worth it.
Take a look around your home for inspiration. Maybe that vintage enamel bowl collection could be stacked upside down and on top of each other. Or perhaps you own a large collection of glass candlesticks or toy robots. You'll have fun gathering items in your home (or your kid's room) for interesting objects. Stick with one theme and use it in full force. Too many ideas will look cluttered and confused.
What You NeedA collection of objects: vintage salt and pepper collections, every candlestick in your home, antique glass bottles, a multitude of pretty boxes, a collection of seashells or objects from nature. Whatever you'd like to show off.
1. Set your table with tablecloth (if necessary), plates, glasses, etc. Set out any serving platters or bowls that you would like to have on the table during your meal so you can arrange your centerpiece around necessary objects.
2. Start arranging your centerpiece. Large, heavy objects should go on the bottom in the center. Lighter, smaller items can stack on top or start spreading out. Arranging the items in a balanced way may take a few attempts. Balanced means either symmetrical or assymetrical with an even distribution of color and "weight".
3. Step back from the table and view it from several angles to gage the balance. Sit down in a chair and make sure that guests will be able to see each other and reach what they need.
Additional Notes: Below is some information about the ideas shown above.
Scrapwood: These pieces came from a lumberyard (scraps were in the $1 bin) as well as leftover samples from a home renovation project. Only the samples were finished and sanded, the rest were left raw. Tiny votive candles lend a little elegance to the wooded pile.
Arts & Crafts: This tablescape is great for kids and adults. Cover the table in white craft paper and let your guests doodle or rearrange the Legos. This would be a great icebreaker for your crowd (or if dinner prep is taking too long!) and will help keep guests out of the kitchen. Select items with tons of color and think about how you can creatively arrange art supplies in see-through containers.
Literary: Choose books from your shelf or purchase inexpensive books from the store. This method works best with paperback books with very worn in or broken spines. Fan several on the table and arrange them creatively. If using candles it would be wise to use a hurricane-type vase. Newsaper "placemats" were chosen to incorporate the theme throughout the table.
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(Images: Anne Reagan)