Okay, I know I’m a little slow to embrace fall decor, but better late than never – right? I wandered through the house pulling things from here and there that had fall-ish colors and collecting them on the dining table. The only thing I bought to add is the leaf garland (60% off at Michaels since it was after Halloween and they have Christmas stuff out now) and the ribbon that was on sale too ($2). I’ll take you step by step through my process so you can see one way to pull together a centerpiece.
Here are photos of my dining table and sideboard in the “before” stage. You can see my table has a token gourd and candles that are much too calm to make much of a statement.
So now I begin collecting…..gathering…..no decisions yet on what will go or stay, just things that seem ’fall’ in color.
I have a couple of rustic baskets, a couple of vases, my cheap garland & ribbon, a galvanized metal tray, some embroidered leaf napkins and a bag of pinecones. Because I know I’ll need some height, I pulled in the stand on the right.
I decided the red vase was too fancy / decorative, so pulled these clear vases out of the closet. To dress them up a bit I used my ribbon and used a strip of double sided tape to hold the ribbon in place. Put the strip of tape on the right side of an end of ribbon, wrap it around the vase and press the other end of ribbon over the tape to hide it. It works beautifully! I decided to make the larger vase the focal point so filled it with pinecones to hide the ugly plastic stems and hold them in place.
I cut the garland into 3 pieces and used one stem of fall grass that I spread out. The shortest leaves are laid on the edge of the stand, the longest part of the garland (maybe 18″) drapes down the left and the mid length is to the back and bends to the right. A pretty good start. I know that I don’t want the centerpiece to be in the center of my table because we use it every day and I didn’t want to have to move it out of the way….so it’s going to fill the end of the dining table.
Here I’m trying something to raise the tray of pinecones off the table top (using a copper planter turned upside down). Hmmmm – not liking it.
To me just the vase on the stand wasn’t quite enough, so I added the gourd for a different color and texture. I’m trying out the short gold vase and the tray of pinecones is down lower - better but the colors are all pretty similar…no contrast or drama. The process is kind of like being an artist – this is the sketching part…a little trial and error.
As much as I’d like to use the gold vase, it’s just too wide and leads the eye out of the grouping.
Doesn’t this colored napkin help? Now all those light colored elements don’t just blend into my table top. If you have a dark tabletop, try using a light colored napkin or placemat to ground your arrangment and contrast with the table. Here I’ve also added a birch branch to the pinecones to lighten that up and I love the texture of birch. The short gold vase with the same ribbon holds another short length of leaves to balance the ones bending to the left in the tall vase. Not sure about the candles…….
I took out the gourd and added this potpourri pouf with feathers – lovin’ it! The terra cotta stars scattered by the tray are rough feeling so the little feather pouf is the only slick texture and I like the contrast plus it’s that little touch of something unexpected.
I’m thinking I’m almost done but something doesn’t feel right. The right side is nicely balanced with the leaves and pinecones, but on the left the candles just aren’t doing anything for me. I’d love to use candles….maybe I need them to be taller?
The difference is I brought in a rough bark basket and added the textured ball. The darker colors provide the visual weight to balance the dark pinecones on the other side. Candles got moved to the back but I think I’m trying to force something that just isn’t working. Sometimes editing is the answer – so candles need to go somewhere else.
I’m happy with the final product – it’s tall and dramatic but not heavy looking; it’s colorful; it has a touch of whimsy with the feather pouf but also has lots of the natural elements of fall.
Not everything made it into the arrangment – and that’s okay. I wanted to give myself options of texture, size and colors but knew I probably wouldn’t use everything. Now those candles…. how about on the sideboard?
If ribbon works on a vase, why wouldn’t it work on a candle? I used the same technique with double sided tape and suddenly this candle looks alot more appealing (of course, make sure the ribbon is far enough away from the flame).
The bowl was already on the sideboard. The little green bowl was originally on the dining table but works here for a scale contrast as well as to bring the wall color into the grouping. I added a table runner in woven grasses, and my candles look better in this grouping. The leaves are the left over couple feet of the garland. Feather balls work great all year long but especially in the fall.
My touch of fall in the dining room is complete. A centerpiece (at the end of the table we don’t use so that it’s not in the way) is balanced by the sideboard arrangement on the opposite side. Some of the same elements help tie them together – leaves from the same garland, terra cotta stars, the same ribbon and the colors of feather balls / pinecones.