I have a little bit of a reputation for doing it up big around the holidays. But I have a method to the madness!! Over the years I have collected decorative items that I love and every single year I use them in a different way. Some of them (like the cream-colored pumpkins in the above left picture) are so old that I cannot even remember how long I've had them or where I got them! But I loved them when I bought them, I still love them, and I use them over and over every single year. The key here is when you find something you really like, buy it and you'll hang on to it. But it'll look fresh every year as you pair it with different things.
The picture to the left is my dining room tabletop arrangement. It's a simple way to feel festive, with just a few items you love and some imagination. I like to take everything I have and use it differently each year, pairing holiday-themed objects with everyday ones to add a touch of the holidays to the everyday while not looking too over-the-top. In this vignette, I started with simple glass bottles (you know I love colored glass), and went from there. You might need to study these instructions really well before you get started (ha-ha).
Directions for Creating a Fall Tabletop Vignette:
1. Clear your table and cover with a white, cream, or seasonal tablecloth. I prefer a neutral background because it makes the colors of my vignette pop (I'm not a fan of holiday-themed tablecloths anyway usually). For this look I started with a pale yellow tablecloth topped with a cream-colored knit runner (very, very pale beginning). Or you might prefer no cloth at all if you love your table's surface. Tablecloths do indeed cover a multitude of sins, though!
2. Gather your tallest items and arrange them in the middle (in this case, I used green and orange glass bottles that I already had). It must be an odd number -- three or five (odd numbers look best). If you don't have any bottles, look for old wine bottles at garage sales or olive oil bottles, etc. -- any bottles you like that have a nice shape and color...or you can use tall slender vases. I've even pulled beautiful glasses out of my kitchen cabinets and used them before!
3. Fill the bottles (or vases, etc.) with stems of fall leaves. Pictured above are some red velvet ones I've had since the beginning of time but, when the leaves change, I might replace them with real stems from a gorgeous tree, and you can do this if you don't have silk stems. Don't make them look perfect, just sort of haphazard looks best, and vary the heights of the stems for interest.
4. Arrange an odd number (again) of small pumpkins around the bottles. If you don't have any, you can buy real ones almost anywhere during the fall months for a really good price. After the holidays is a great time to find artificial ones for a steal when they are marked down. As I said, these cream pumpkins have been in my family for a long, long time. One pumpkin is behind the vases...make sure your arrangement looks good from all sides.
5. When you get an arrangement you like, fill in the spaces. Twigs, leaves, sticks, branches, pinecones...anything that looks fallish. You might want to go for a walk in the woods and find all your items there.
There you have it -- five easy steps to a beautiful (but simple) and totally inexpensive fall centerpiece. When it gets nearer to the time I entertain, I add in some beautiful candles that truly light up my tabletop in the evening hours (well, not literally...be careful not to place your candles too near to the dried twigs!).
Anyone can do this simple fall arrangement for little or no cost..AND you can repeat this method on countertops, mantles, dresser tops...anywhere you want some fall color!