8 of the best table centerpiece ideas that will take minutes to achieve, yet make any occasion feel extra special
These table centerpiece ideas will help to elevate your hosting game and wow your guests
The table centerpiece is crucial to setting the scene and creating a great atmosphere at a dinner party, but the right centerpiece can also elevate the everyday dining experience and spruce up your dining room on a daily basis. You don't need to be throwing an occasion dinner for an excuse to set the table and create a centerpiece that draws the eye.
Deciding on what kind of table centerpiece you might want relies on the wider theme of the room. Are you decorating a minimalist interior or is it for a dining table in a glamorous scheme where you're looking to wow? Are you hosting for friends, throwing a party, or just wanting to add some character to your dining experience mid-week? Also think about the type of table you are working with. 'For centerpieces, it depends on the size and shape of your table,' says florist Nikki Tibbles. 'If it’s long, use lots of individual arrangements running down the center or, if you have a big round table I like something in the middle of the table, centering the eye and surrounded by masses of candles.' We've rounded up our favorite table centerpiece ideas that are suitable throughout the year and for every home. Read on for inspiration for dining room decor that's here to stay.
Oonagh is an experienced homes writer and editor with a penchant for all things interior decorating. For this article, Oonagh has spoken to the tablescape experts to find out how to create the perfect table centerpiece for a style-first home.
Table centerpiece ideas that work throughout the year
1. Go foraging for a table that's inspired by nature
Nature is an easy win when it comes to a quick and beautiful table centerpiece and dining table decor. Foraging in your garden is a budget-friendly way to create a sure-fire fantastic look, requires little effort, and has the power to make the space calming.
'We are more aware than ever of the dangers of single-use or plastic items, so it’s a good idea to get crafty with making décor by hand or sourcing real foliage or foraged branches, rather than plastic ‘pine’ runners,' says Alice Herbert of Lay London.
When using nature's bounty on your table, think about the time of the year you are decorating for. Christmas table decor might require holly, ivy, where in spring you might want to pick floral blooms. Build up your centerpiece in the center by working around a focal point like a candle. You can wind the foliage up the candlestick to give it some height.
If you're worried this might be on the festive side, pick other plants that have visual interest, like these thistles which are somewhere in between flowers and plants and make for a wild country garden look and bring different texture and color to the scheme. Also consider getting some little plant pots for your table. 'Little terracotta herb pots dotted down the table are always an easy go-to table centerpiece and a beautiful fragrance to your table,' says Milly Simmonds of Olive & Co.
2. Or try mini bud vases
Alternatively, go floral with your table setting. This doesn't necessarily mean with a large centered vase of your favorite flowers and scattering dainty flowers across the table, building them up in the center of the space is a cute way to bring a floral focus to the scheme.
Cute bud vases add elegance to tablescapes but are an effortless look and easy to create. While this might initially feel like a summery or spring-like display, as long as your chosen flowers are in season, they will always look like a seasonal display. Take a look at our flower trends for fall for inspiration for right now.
Think about the flowers you like best. 'Big, bouncy blooms (like hydrangeas or peonies) are one of the easiest ways to create a full table center and take very little styling – add a few stems in your chosen color scheme to bud vases and dot down the center of your table for a pretty table center look,' says Katie Fairlie from Truffle Tablescapes.
'I like filling bud vases with fresh green foliage and rose hips for a touch of color,' says Nikki Tibbles, the creative force behind the florist Wild at Heart.
3. It's all about the vase
A dramatic, structural ceramic object or statement vase is always a great centerpiece. 'With a newfound appreciation for the finer, more decorative details at home, particularly when decorating for the festive season, there has been a huge surge in popularity for vases as centerpieces,' says Helen Pett, Design Ambassador at Arteriors London.
Adding height, a focal point and clearly defining the center of your table, you can't go wrong with a vase. Make the scheme more dramatic by putting something in it - pampas grass is a great choice as it requires no real care and brings structure to a room. 'A flower arrangement idea I am really into is using pampas grass,' says Jane Rockett, co-founder of Rockett St George. 'Before using pampas be sure to give them a good shake to release any loose fur. I love using pampas to create tall displays on tables and on the floor around my fireplace.
'Dried grasses and flowers are available in a range of neutral tones (including black), as well as bright colors, so try mixing different hues and sizes of pampas stems for a varied arrangement.'
4. Create a glow with some centered candles
Candles are the ultimate centerpiece display - a quick and easy fix that you can arrange in mere moments and adding that all-important element to the dining room - another layer of lighting. Candles make particularly good fall table decor centerpieces. 'Including a few candles will add atmosphere to your ‘centerscape’ and will work especially well during darker evenings,' says Katie.
In terms of style, it's good to use height to lead the eye. Choose small tea lights around the table or in candle pots, then grow the height as you get towards the center, picking beautiful glass candlesticks mixed with candles stuck in the top of elegant bottles. Tall, tapered candles are always a good look in the center, and you don't always have to go for white or cream. 'Take your pick of color for a beautiful look,' says Milly.
Scented candles can also help add that crucial sensory element to your dining space, creating wafts and aromas that are nostalgic and make the dining experience more of a sensory experience.
Delaney candlestick holder from Anthropologie
Sweet candlestick holders that can be dotted around the table or put in the center to add color to the tablescape.
5. Opt for a colorful bowl of fruit
A bowl of fresh fruit is a simple table centerpiece that works to decorate a dining table when not in uss, but also works while dining. Fruit can add a seasonal pop of seasonal dining room color or ‘centerscape’ – think lemons and limes for added brightness (these work all year round), cherries or berries in late summer, apples or pears in autumn and pomegranates for a festive feel. 'You can even enjoy these decorations in cocktails throughout the evening,' says Katie.
Also think about the color of the bowl that you have, and how you can contrast and complement it with the color of the fruit. A dark green china bowl will look fabulous when filled with figs, for example. It's also a fun centerpiece idea as it changes and evolves, reflecting produce that is in-season.
Anna fruit bowl from Urban Outfitters
Go for a contemporary look with this iron green fruit bowl with a gridded wire basin.
6. Use a pendant for a mid-air centerpiece
Sometimes, if you have a long and rectangular table to decorate, there isn't a natural center point and your table is too narrow to make a large and fussy centerpiece in the middle. If you have pendant lighting that dangles from the ceiling, why not make the most of it and decorate the cord and the top of the shade.
Make sure to keep things safe and hazard-free, and make sure the centerpiece isn't too heavy so that it pulls too much on your pendant. Twines and greenery from the garden are a good place to start, plait them around the cord and tie pampas grass into the scheme for a light and feathery look, building on the look to give your guests something they might not expect.
7. Try a cluster of colorful glass bottles
Decorative glass bottles make for a beautiful centerpiece. They refract light, cast a colorful shadow and add a color pop to the table. They make for good vessels for fauliage, with a delicate branch of eucalyptus adding height to the scheme, but are equally stunning on their own.
Group them in three and make sure your chosen bottles are varying heights. Think about the colors that work in your room too. Different shades of brown and gold will beautiful together, or shades of pink and purple, or pick from opposing sides of the color wheel when deciding what glass to go for.
Blue decorative glasses, Amazon
Give your table a pop of color with this set of cute glass bottles. They'll look super dainty and cute in a cluster in the center of a table, some filled with greenery, maybe a candle and some left empty.
8. A wreath isn't just for Christmas
The rounded shape of a Christmas wreath makes for a great centerpiece during the festive season. They tie the scheme together and give a focal point to your table, but what about throughout the rest of the year? We'd encourage you to go for a Christmas wreath and break with the tradition that says wreaths are only suitable for Christmas.
'Wreaths in different styles and colors are becoming a staple decoration throughout the year (fresh, dried or feathered are our favorite),' says Katie. 'Place a wreath flat in the center of your table and fill the hole with seasonal accessories, flowers or with a glass hurricane holding a pillar candle for a chic and easy-to-achieve table centerpiece that will work all year round.'
Are placemats out of style?
Long gone are the days of vinyl or plastic placemats with chocolate box scenes pictured on them. Instead, homeowners are using fabric and texture to demarcate a seat at the table. Think wicker, rattan and linen - these are subtle, still easy to treat and wash, and inoffensive with a tasteful neutral scheme. If you do want to go for plastic or vinyl to avoid your table from getting spilled on or scratched, keep the palette neutral and avoid any imagery on the placemat.
Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.
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