Quick and Easy Thanksgiving Centerpieces You Can Make in Minutes
While Thanksgiving may be a treasured national holiday — a time when farflung family and friends gather together to catch up and create new memories — it's also a lot of work. Shopping, meal prep and getting your home ready for guests can really take a toll — leaving you with no time to create a centerpiece. No worries, these centerpieces are ones you can whip up using items you already have on hand, can pick up at the grocery store or find in your own backyard.
Put a Vintage Piece on Display
Thanksgiving Table Decor: Beyond the Antique Dough Bowl
If you don't have an antique wooden dough bowl at your disposal, many reproductions can be found at chain home decor stores. This idea would also work with a metal or wood trough, a crate or even a shallow basket. Just find something with the right shape and scale for your table.
An antique dough bowl or wood trencher is just too pretty to keep hidden away; put it to work as a low, rustic centerpiece. Just fill with pumpkins, gourds and fruit from the market and pinecones and sprigs of goldenrod and berries from the backyard.
Make This: Dough Bowl Centerpiece
Be Inspired by the Harvest
Cake-Stand Centerpiece Full of Fall Fruit
When arranging produce, alternate colors, textures and sizes to create a display that looks as delicious as it tastes. In this centerpiece, artichokes, grapes and plumcots are arranged around a large bosc pear. Try to find produce that is unique and seasonal, although it's OK to mix in some imported, out-of-season fruit as well!
For a fresh twist on a traditional cornucopia, stack a pair of footed dishes or cake stands and pile high with fresh fruit, veggies and nuts in shell.
Make This: Autumn Abundance Centerpiece
Give A Nod to History
Get a little help from the kiddos to craft this ship-shape centerpiece that's reminiscent of the vessels that brought colonists to the new world. Filled with crunchy snacks, it'll give guests something to nibble before the big meal.
Make This: Sailing Ship Centerpiece
Soooo pretty, this arrangement gets its punch by contrasting colors. Hit the grocery store floral aisle to select blooms in complementary colors, like dark red and bright green. Here, we used burgundy cockscomb, dahlias and calla lilies paired with chartreuse spider mums and lotus seed pods.
Nuts in shell, moss and trendy pheasant feathers create this earthy centerpiece that, unlike flowers, requires no maintenance to keep its good looks.
Make This: Pheasant Feather Centerpiece
Mix Seasonal Greenery With Storebought Blooms
Image courtesy of Kat Flower
Or opt for traditional elegance with a tightly bunched arrangement that mixes ranunculus, roses and sprays of greenery. Tip: Customize a pre-made grocery store bouquet by mixing in fall greenery from your backyard, like 'Autumn Joy' sedum or Scotch Heather.
Bare Can Be Beautiful
No flowers needed; head outdoors to gather long bare branches for a sculptural statement.
Put Vintage Pieces to Work
An old dough bowl or wood trencher makes a great low centerpiece when filled with seasonal pumpkins, gourds, pinecones and flowering branches. Our step-by-step instructions make it easy to recreate this oh-so-trendy, rustic look.
If your centerpiece will consist of more than one arrangement, position them symmetrically for a balanced look. Here, designer Marian Parsons created an edible centerpiece with two stacked cake plates in the center flanked by two slightly shorter floral arrangements in white stoneware pitchers that have a similar shape but aren't matchy-matchy. Get more of Marian's tips for creating a harvest-inspired centerpiece.
Mix High With Low
Designer Camille Styles pairs rustic elements like beeswax candles, gourds and a salvaged wooden board as a table runner with a porcelain footed dish overflowing with greenhouse blooms. Her arrangement contains roses, hydrangea, dahlias, copper amaranth and ranunculus with a few sprigs of fall greenery, grasses and berries to signify the season. Get more of Camille's tips.
Make It Edible
A centerpiece you can eat? Yes, please! Make an edible bread cornucopia for your Thanksgiving table using refrigerated bread dough, aluminum foil and a single egg. Fill with sweet and savory nibbles for an impressive centerpiece that’ll keep your guests happily munching while they wait for dinner to begin. Our step-by-step instructions show you how or watch the quick vid.
Faux Can Be Fabulous
For a centerpiece that'll last all through this fall season (and for many more to come), swap fresh elements for faux. For this rustic-meets-refined centerpiece, Chelsea Faulkner filled a doughbowl with faux mini pumpkins and greenery, interspersed with cotton stems, dried grasses and pinecones.
Craft a Living Centerpiece
In just a few steps, you can transform a faux or fresh pumpkin into a rustic planter for assorted succulents. Surrounded by other fall elements, this garden craft makes a charming, living centerpiece for your fall or Thanksgiving table.
Make a Ship-Shape Centerpiece
Seriously, how clever is this? Follow our step-by-step instructions to learn how to make the mast and sail then place it in a long, low container filled with snacks your guests can enjoy before the big meal.
Try a Modern Twist
Floral designer Lindsay Coletta gave the idea of a traditional Thanksgiving cornucopia a modern twist with this sumptuous arrangement. She used wet floral foam to anchor an assortment of greenery scavenged from her backyard along with splashes of color courtesy of ornamental cabbage, dahlias and persimmon branches. Get all Lindsay's tips for recreating this look.
Don't Forget the Kids' Table
For most families, setting up a separate kids' table is as much a Thanksgiving tradition as turkey and pumpkin pie. When setting up their space, don't forget the centerpiece — fill vases with sweet, savory or healthy snacks to keep little pilgrims happily munching. Learn how to craft your own.
Opt for Rustic and Refined
To create a show-stopping arrangement, rely on contrast. Designer Erinn Valencich contrasts both color and style by pairing magenta cockscomb, dahlia and calla lilies with chartreuse mums for pop then sliding this sophisticated arrangement into an earthy birch-bark container.
Put It In a Pitcher
Skip the standard vase and get creative when choosing a container for your arrangement. Vintage pitchers and teapots are great for tall arrangements while creamers and sugar bowls are just the right height for low ones. Follow these step-by-step instructions to recreate this beautiful centerpiece in any container you have on hand at home.
Keep It Simple
Designer Susana Simonpietri of Chango & Co proves that simple can be chic with the monochromatic table setting in this eclectic dining room. White hydrangeas are a great centerpiece choice for your Thanksgiving table — you need just a few blooms to create an artful arrangement that'll last for two weeks or more.
Get a Little Help From the Kids
Get an assist from the kiddos to craft this easy focal point. Use our free template to cut leaf shapes from colorful card stock you can attach to bare branches gathered in the backyard. Before dinner, ask your guests to write what they're most thankful for on the leaves or just leave them blank. Get crafting with our step-by-step instructions.
Go Flower Free
Designer Layla Palmer surrounded trendy pheasant feathers with layers of nuts and moss to create a centerpiece that's autumnal, rustic and, unlike flowers, requires no maintenance to keep its good looks. Make your own with our step-by-step instructions.
Add Some Sparkle
Give leftover Halloween pumpkins or gourds a glamorous makeover with gold, silver or copper leaf. Faux pumpkins are best because you can store them to display year after year. Learn how to get this look.
Try a New Hue
There are no hard-set rules that state you MUST use only oranges and golds for your Thanksgiving centerpiece — mix it up and choose flowers in whatever color you choose. Here, designer Manvi Drona Hidalgo used copper amaranth, white astilbe, silver brunia berries, echinacea, gomphrenia, Dutch hydrangea and sweet Annie artemisia to create a real show-stopper.
Make It Munchable
Add an edible touch to any centerpiece with fresh fruit. Skewers of grapes are a crowd-pleasing choice and will stay fresh almost as long as the flowers. Other good choices are skewered pears, apples or citrus fruit. Get crafting with our step-by-step instructions.
Break Out the Good China
Hand-me-down pieces, like this antique soup tureen, are too pretty to keep locked away in a cupboard — put them to work as an eye-catching container for your Thanksgiving centerpiece. To protect your heirloom, use it as a cachepot, creating the arrangement in a smaller container that you then place within the antique.
Use Upcycled Containers
An old cheese box, filled with floral foam, serves as a conversation-starting container for this low centerpiece of white cabbage roses, pittosporum and silvery Dusty Miller. Small brown bottles, filled with more blooms and clippings, give the small centerpiece greater visual impact.
Opt for Timeless Elegance
Compact flowers like ranunculus and roses are the perfect choice for a traditional centerpiece. For added texture, fill in with sprays of greenery or fall-blooming foliage like Scotch heather or 'Autumn Joy' sedum. Image courtesy of Kat Flower
Get a Pro Look on the Cheap
Bare Can Be Beautiful
Take a stroll outdoors to gather bare branches for a minimal, flower-free centerpiece. Sculptural and elegant, their slim silhouette won't block the view of other dinner guests or distract from the main event: the food. Design by Manvi Drona-Hidalgo, Mochatini, photo by Lawrence Luk
Go Fuss-Free With Succulents
For a streamlined, modern look, choose succulents. Most garden centers carry these low-maintenance relatives of the cactus year-round. They do well in direct sunlight and when planted together en masse. A shallow container, sandy, well-draining soil and an eye for combining succulents of various colors and shapes are all you need to create a stunning centerpiece that will look great for many months to come. Image courtesy of Viceroy Miami
Turn Fresh Apples into a Rustic Centerpiece
Our step-by-step instructions show you how to put fall's bounty on display by covering a foam topiary form with sprigs of fresh greenery and apples or pears.
The More, the Merrier
At a large table (this one seats eight) consider using several small centerpieces rather than a single grand one. Here, a glass bowl filled with crabapples creates a low centerpiece while silver cups brimming with peach rosebuds add color and interest to each place setting. Image courtesy of Blackberry Farm; Photography by beall + thomas
These sturdy late-summer bloomers look their best when grouped together en masse. As you add sunflowers to the vase, be sure to turn them so each flower faces out. To extend their freshness, add a little floral preservative or bleach to the vase and be sure to change the water every few days.
Sometimes More is More
For an extra-long dining table, a single centerpiece may feel skimpy. Instead, line the center of the table with several small arrangements, interspersed with candles of varying heights to add a magical glow.
Upcycle Old Lumber
Basic carpentry skills and tools are all you need to turn wood fence pickets or any leftover lumber into a long, low wooden container that's a lovely Thanksgiving centerpiece when filled with greenery, apples and bundles of cinnamon sticks. Make your own with our step-by-step instructions.
Craft a Seasonal Centerpiece
Follow our step-by-step instructions to turn inexpensive silk leaves into a sleek tray that resembles fine porcelain. Fill with fresh fruit or a candle and acorns or pinecones for a fuss-free centerpiece.
Keep It Long and Low
Low centerpieces are popular because they allow easy conversation between dinner guests. To re-create this look, fill long, shallow vases with flowers and greenery cut short, allowing sprays of greenery or berries to spill over the sides. Slide leafy branches along the vases' sides for a mounded effect.
Add the Unexpected
A footed copper pot is a beautiful container for this mounded arrangement featuring calla lilies, white hydrangeas, gloriosa lilies, freesia, viburnum and green hanging amaranthus. Delicate paper butterflies resting among the flowers add a touch of whimsy and will have guests doing a double-take. Table setting by Manvi Drona-Hidalgo, Mochatini; Photography by Julie Eisel
Go Back to Nature
Designer Alissa Ditta let organic texture and color be the star of her centerpiece. She filled glass hurricanes with candles, moss and grapevine then surrounded them with potted succulents, votives and twig balls.
Don't Skip the Produce Aisle
For added interest, mix fall fruits and vegetables with traditional flowers for a florist-worthy centerpiece. Persimmons, pears, apples and grapes are fruits to consider; squash, artichokes, asparagus and winter cabbage are good vegetable choices. Skewered with picks, the produce should look fresh in the arrangement as long as the flowers — about a week. Make your own with our step-by-step instructions.
Go Crazy for Color
Although most people choose traditional fall colors for their arrangements, there's no hard-and-fast rule. So, match your arrangement to your dining room, china pattern, favorite necklace — whatever you'd like. That's one of the great things about flowers; they come in all the colors of the rainbow. Image courtesy of Kat Flower
Sub Veggies for Flowers
Pair ornamental kale with asparagus to create a stunning (and edible!) centerpiece for your fall get-together or Thanksgiving dinner. Make your own with our step-by-step instructions.
Turn One Into Many
Bountiful Fall Centerpiece
A long, footed urn elevates this low, rustic centerpiece with hydrangea, seeded eucalyptus and repeated round shapes in the mini pumpkins, plums and twig balls. Get crafting to make your own.