Unless you’re hosting a holiday dinner, the centerpiece on the table is likely an afterthought. You buy some flowers and shove them in a vase, maybe plop down a few candles. A creative centerpiece on the dining table, however, can make your guests feel more welcome and set the scene for the atmosphere you’d like to have while entertaining your friends or family.
Over time, as potlucks and buffets have become more popular, the importance of setting a beautiful and creative table ebbed. Now, with the focus on the home and entertaining in your own space, having a centerpiece that fits your theme or the season is once again an important element.
As you’ll see in these examples, while flowers are always an appropriate choice, they’re not mandatory for a grand centerpiece. Get creative. Choose flowers but use them in a different way, or opt for other natural materials. Maybe you have dozens of candleholders that can be grouped for a dramatic scene. If your garden has a bounty of herbs, use bunches as part of your centerpiece. The main point is to be creative. There’s a great centerpiece to be for every budget!
Tips for Creative Centerpieces
Think Beyond the Flowers — Flowers might be the first thing that comes to mind for a centerpiece, but some of the most creative dining table centerpiece ideas have very few flowers or even none at all. Consider any theme the meal might have, what you a serving or the season because all of these things can inspire a centerpiece.
Use a Collection – Anything you collect may have the potential to be a centerpiece. Maybe it’s candlesticks, bowls, porcelain, figurines – whatever you can arrange in a grouping can be made into a centerpiece.
Go Seasonal – Create a centerpiece arrangement that can see you through a number of dinners by creating a tableau down the center of the table that you can leave in place for a longer period of time. Develop your theme and then use a variety of seasonal, long-lasting elements. For instance, an arrangement of gourds, pinecones, preserved leaves and branches can see you through the entire autumn to Thanksgiving. You can even incorporate battery-operated fairy lights to highlight the arrangement.
Go the Easy Route – If you find entertaining challenging, develop a go-to centerpiece arrangement that you can put together quickly. This can be a collection of small glass vessels that you insert single seasonal blooms into or a series of lanterns that you fill with fairy lights and pull out every time you entertain. Or, have a collection of votives and maintain a stock of tealights so you’re always ready!
38 Creative Centerpiece Design Ideas for Your Beautiful Dining Room
The most effortless centerpiece is one that is built into your dining table. Some tables come with a feature in the center, like this lighted collection of clear crystal shapes. It is a dramatic and intriguing focal point that is appropriate for any holiday or occasion. Not having to worry about how to arrange the centerpiece means that you can focus on the place settings, whether they are holiday-oriented or just for a special dinner.
Another option for a dining table centerpiece idea is using cases and vessels all in one color. If the color you choose is neutral – like these white vessels – it give you wide latitude in decorating for the season or for a particular theme, using the same vases each time. All you have to do is change the color of your linens and the flowers or materials that you place in and around them. This is a great idea if you don’t have a huge amount of storage space for lots of extra vases in different colors.
Greenery and kitchen items
For a more organic look, turn to some greenery and your dinner menu for inspiration. Combining some flowers, lush leaves or branches, along with produce or kitchen items can create a marvelous tableau. You can always kick up the formality by adding some glitter elements or just add a multitude of votives for extra drama.
For those who are not into over-the-top dining table centerpiece ideas, embracing minimalism, perhaps with a touch of the futuristic is a good option. You can also turn to this concept when time – or inspiration – is short. Pull out a piece of dramatic serve ware or an interesting vessel and make it the star of the show with some metallic elements or pluck a single bloom and showcase it along with some branches from the backyard.
Stark Natural Elements
This starkly adorned modern table is nothing short of spectacular and it’s easy to recreate a similar look, whether or not you have a modern dining room. This particular dining table centerpiece idea relies on the stark nature of the branches and the fact that nothing else is added. Similar branches can be purchased from floral supply, or you could use a larger piece of driftwood, an interesting log, or sections of bare branches that have a certain look. The other key to success with this look is keeping the rest of the table minimalist as well.
A tight budget or an impromptu dinner don’t mean that you have to forego a centerpiece. Look to the potted plants you already have at home to take center stage on your dining table. One large plant is all you need, but if you don’t have one of those, a series of smaller pots can be used alone or with votives. You could even make pots of kitchen herbs work for a centerpiece. Or, if it’s summertime or you’re in a warm climate, you might have an outdoor pot of flowering plants that come be brought in for the evening.
We’ve already mentioned looking to your menu to inspire a dining table centerpiece idea, but you can easily elevate an abundance of a single item to a dramatic centerpiece. Here, a large bowl or red apples makes a dramatic focal point for this black dining set but would be equally striking in any dining room. Or, try green apples, autumn squash, artichokes, piles of grapes – just about produce. The secret to making a big impression is to abundantly fill the bowl or vessel you’re using.
Obviously, flowers are the most common table centerpiece and for good reason. They bring in a touch of the outdoors, add color and enliven the table. That said, you don’t have to have a traditional floral centerpiece and these days, using fewer blossoms in creative ways is definitely the name of the game. Here, instead of having larger bouquets of tulips, this setting uses single stems in a larger number of slim vases, which give the impression of abundance without breaking the bank. the can be done with all kinds of flowers and all types of containers.
A luxe space can still host an elegant and casual dinner by making the table less formal. This setting uses a fringed, blanket-like throw as a tablecloth and includes basket win holders and plenty of loosely arranged flowers. Mix and match tableware, all in the same color family, also project a less rigid vibe, despite the grand chandelier overhead. Most of all, the outdoor bistro-style armchairs lend a big dose of country casual flair to the setting.
We’re generally not fans of faux flowers, however, this setting mixes beautiful spring blooms on the table with oversized paper blossoms hanging from the ceiling. This is a great way to get maximum impact for a more modest budget. The signs on this table are meant to indicate that love is love, no matter who the people involved. For other types of occasions, colorful signs –along with the flowers — can jazz up a neutral space.
In a tent-like room, surrounded by vibrant floral printed wall coverings, the flowers on the table do not need to be a big investment. Here, a modest number of blooms are used on the table while additional flowers are hung in sprays from the ceiling. The technique, along with the cocooning space, gives the feeling of being surrounded by flowers.
Occasionally, there just isn’t time — or a budget — to go all out for a floral display. In those cases, choose a flower that you can afford to buy in a decent quantity and then make it be center stage in a clear glass case at the center of the table. This is great to pair with a minimalist place setting that carries through the restrained nature of the decor.
If you’re lucky enough to have a long table, try using multiple vessels of the same style in different sizes and shapes. Fill them with bouquets of the same flowers in each, along with some branches for height and interest. This creates a table setting that looks really abundant without using a ton of fresh flowers because the vessels are large but the necks are small, so they don’t need as many stems to be full
A slightly more modest option is to have two arrangements on the table with some sort of tray or decor display in the middle. This could be a mirrored platter of candles, a tray of fruit or other seasonal material. Use your imagination because this is a wonderful way to add to the impact that two bouquets can have,
Not every table needs to have fresh cut flowers. Using potted plants either alone — or in combination with flowers — is a budget conscious way to set an interesting table. Here, some minimalist grasses and green plants have been placed in two dramatic, matching containers as part of the table decor. The plants are paired with small decorative containers that pair well with the dark decor in the room.
Plants, mixed with dried elements are highlighted with a very large, long lighting feature. Anytime you can add unusual lighting to a table centerpiece, you’re sure to make a design statement. The crystals that look like they are flowing from the end are another element that adds interest. This is a very imaginative way to create a dramatic table setting.
Even a single potted plant can be a good centerpiece if you make it the highlight of the table. Try placing the plant on a tray or mirror to make it the focal point. You can always add votives or other candles when it’s time to serve dinner too.
Fruits and Assorted Items
Assorted accessories and fruits make a great centerpiece that is actually more of a tablescape. These types of items are ideal for creating a themed table as in this global setting. Gilded pomegranate covered bowls pair well with natural wicker cloches that are accented with large feathers. Around these larger pieces, fruits of all types are arranged, adding color and natural element to the table. Using a runner to define the center of the table helps draw the eye down the length of the display.
In addition to flowers and potted plants, plain greenery also makes a wonderful highlight in all kinds of vases and vessels. One idea is to start with a large tray and arrange a single glass vase to display a larger spray of greens and then use large leaves around the bottom of candlesticks to fill out the tray at the center of the table. This is especially dramatic of the room already has plenty of green elements, as in this room.
Another budget conscious option is to use multiple vases full of the same type of greenery, such as these eucalyptus stems. The repetition is great for making a statement without lots of cut flowers and the vases are all the same height, which creates a specific look. They are arranged in a specific order even though the colors are different.
Similarly, this intimate table relies on a single vessel of greenery not just for impact but also because of table size. It’s a great example of how a smaller table can still have a magnificent setting when do use a bit of creativity. By placing the dandelion sculpture near the table, the metal vase of greens can play off the artwork and make the table seem larger.
If you want a table setting to be over the top, try adding greenery or something dramatic on the floor. Even if you choose to play it simple, the mixture of evergreen and dried branches create an abundant, woodsy setting that is a touch rustic yet still refined. While the upholstery resembles tree bark, you could achieve the same idea with your own dining set by using a tablecloth, placemats or other elements that play up the forest vibe.
The bowl of fruit you keep on your counter can also serve as a centerpiece for your dinner table. Add some candles and all your tableware and you’ll have a table setting that is ideal for any dinner with friends or family. There’s no reason you can’t repurpose things for a centerpiece!
Flowers and Fruit
For a really dramatic table, combine your favorite fresh flowers with an abundance of fruit for the centerpiece. The lush blooms, plentiful greenery and cascades of grapes and other fruits make it look like it’s positively bursting. In this setting, the luxe factor is high because of the fresh floral panels that are at the corners, but the table setting on its own is super. With a centerpiece so full and lush, minimalist place settings work well because they don’t detract from the overall look.
Something Really Unusual
If you’re feeling really creative, try coming up with a tablescape that includes none of the typical table decor: no flowers, fruit, greenery or vases. This particular table plays on the concept of “the elephant in the room” and has as its focal point the mesh elephant hanging from the ceiling. With such a dramatic thing overhead, the table is a simple minimalist style, with LED lighted chargers underneath each dark dinner plate. With this bold decor, a minimum of items on the table is the best choice.
Lots of Candles
Creating lots of drama with a minimum of flowers — or none at all — is possible when you use lots of candles. Whether you gather up every size and shape or stick with one type and size, more is more when it comes to candles. Turn down the lights and fire up all the wicks and you’ll instantly have a dramatic atmosphere for dinner. Candles make everyone look good and make for a warm, moody vibe. This table uses a few orchid plants interspersed among a collection of tapers, which are an elegant shape and a little less commonly used these days.
Even without flowers, candles are still a great option. An interesting holder with multiple bases is a clean, contemporary look for a centerpiece, whether being used during dinner or just as decor. Simple fixtures like these allow for versatility when it comes to tableware or adding other elements. Have extra time? You can add different items to jazz up the candleholder too.
Posies and Personalization
This dining table centerpiece has a little bit of everything — plus something really special. The tablescape includes candles, flowers, fruit, greenery and more. But what really distinguishes the table is the personalized chair covers for each guest. This would be a wonderful thing to do for a very special occasion. If you happen to be handy with machine embroidery, it would be easy to personalize ready-made chair covers. Even iron-on letters could be used to embellish chair covers.
Vessels and Vases
For a very cost-conscious centerpiece, just use a large and interesting vessel that you already own. Or, invest in one that you can use repeatedly for different dinners. It’s a great way to highlight a favorite artful vase or vessel. If it happens to be by an artist that you really like, the piece is also a great conversation starter during the meal.
Or, instead of one large piece, use a collection of pots, vases and vessels to create a low-maintenance tablescape. With or without candles, this is an interesting way to create a centerpiece that doesn’t require buying anything new. Shop your own collection around the house and pull pieces that you think might work well together and then edit the pieces until you come up with an ensemble that you really like.
Glass cloches are an excellent item to use for centerpieces. Either singly or in multiples. you can put absolutely anything in them. Fruit, flowers, food — anything your heart desires. You’ll want to avoid candles inside a cloche because the lack of oxygen will cause them to go out rather quickly. (Use hurricanes for candles instead.) Cloches are really dramatic, especially if you place food under them as the centerpiece and then later lift them all for guests to have access to what’s inside.
Last but not least, all your home decor accessories are potential fodder for a table centerpiece. Candles, figurines, sculptures, birdhouses, puts, tools — just about anything can play a role in your table centerpiece with a bit of creativity. Follow a theme and them pull in all the things that you own that will fit. Try out different combinations and find what works best. Sometimes, it might just be a few accessories and other times, it might be a centerpiece bursting with items.
As you can see, the options for table centerpieces are many and have nothing to do with having a big budget. Sure, an explosion of fresh flowers down the middle of the dining table makes a magnificent setting. Other arrangements can also have the same impact. Get creative and try different things. If you’re a little less crafty or don’t think you can dream up something really novel, then stick with a safer choice like lots of candles or a single vase full of greens. the important thing is to have something to anchor your table and make guests feel welcome.