Quick and Easy Thanksgiving Centerpieces You Can Make in Minutes

Creating a show-stopping centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table doesn't have to be time-consuming. We have easy ideas for arrangements you can pull together on the fly.

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

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. 

Be Inspired by the Harvest

Cake-Stand Centerpiece Full of Fall Fruit

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.

Give A Nod to History

DIY Red and White Ship Thanksgiving Centerpiece

DIY Red and White Ship Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Kids will love helping to make this large sailing ship centerpiece, which is reminiscent of the vessels that brought colonists to the new world. It's a cinch to make and will definitely bring a boat-load of fun to any Thanksgiving table.

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.

Contrast Colors

Red and Green Floral Centerpiece

Red and Green Floral Centerpiece

From: Erinn Valencich

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.

Go Nuts

Pheasant Feather, Nut and Moss Centerpiece

Pheasant Feather, Nut and Moss Centerpiece

Trendy pheasant feathers are surrounded 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.

Nuts in shell, moss and trendy pheasant feathers create this earthy centerpiece that, unlike flowers, requires no maintenance to keep its good looks.

Mix Seasonal Greenery With Storebought Blooms

Cream and Peach Floral Centerpieces

Cream and Peach Floral Centerpieces

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

©Image courtesy of Kat Flower

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

Winter Table Setting Gold Branch Centerpiece

Winter Table Setting Gold Branch Centerpiece

Tall spray-painted branches and black tapers on brass candlesticks accentuate the design's gold accents and carry the eye above the table, while remaining unobtrusive.

No flowers needed; head outdoors to gather long bare branches for a sculptural statement.

More Stunners for Your Thanksgiving Table

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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. 

Embrace Symmetry

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.

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.

Get Tips From Our Pro

Putting together a gorgeous centerpiece may seem intimidating but, really, it's far simpler than you may think. Before shelling out big bucks at your local florist; check out our 7 tips from a floral-arranging pro.

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. 

Photo By: Heidi Geldhauser

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.

From: Erinn Valencich

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.

Photo By: Heidi Geldhauser

Or, Put an Old Box to Work

Filling an old jewelry or cigar box with empty water bottles is just one trick to creating this lovely centerpiece featuring a mass of colorful dahlias. Get more tips and learn how to create your own

Photo By: DK - Fresh Flower Arranging ©2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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 2 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.

Create Casual Arrangements for a Casual Get-Together

For low-fuss affairs, keep the floral arrangements low-key as well. Just clip a bunch of grocery store blooms to the same height as your vase, then pop the whole bunch in water. 

©Rustic White Photography

Bring in the Sun(flowers)

Three varieties of sunflowers (black, teddy bear and giant) create this textural fall arrangement. To craft a rustic container, cover a glass vase with burlap wrapped loosely with garden twine. Get more tips for creating this centerpiece

Photo By: DK - Fresh Flower Arranging © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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.

Stack a Centerpiece

For an earthy focal point, skip the flowers and instead stack heirloom variety blue, green and gray pumpkins in graduated sizes to create a rustic topiary. Remove the stems from all but the top pumpkin to create a stable base.

A Bountiful Basket

A low wicker basket is a pitch-perfect container for a seasonal centerpiece of sunflowers, roses hypericum berries, blackberries and smokebush stems. Learn how to make your own, plus get more floral tips for fall wedding arrangements. 

Photo By: DK - Fresh Flower Arranging ©2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Keep It Casual

A Thanksgiving centerpiece doesn't have to be formal or stuffy. Take a cue from designer Lauren Liess and fill the center of the table with fresh herbs, gourds and colorful fall foliage.

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

Craft an Organic Vase

Hollow out a butternut squash then fill with fresh flowers for a creative seasonal centerpiece. Make your own with our step-by-step instructions.

Photo By: Jason Kisner ©Copyright 2013, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.  

From: Charles Faudree

Photo By: Photo Credit: Jenifer Jordan © Gibbs Smith, Charles Faudree Interiors, Charles Faudree, Jenifer Jordan (photographer)

Bring on the Brass

Although it may be hard to accept for those of us who've purged our homes of '70s brass tchotchkes, brass is back big time. Designer Manvi Drona-Hidalgo lined her table with brass elements large and small for a glamorous, glowing effect.

Photo By: Design by Manvi Drona-Hidalgo

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.  

©Design by Camille Styles. Photo by She-n-He Photography

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

©Image courtesy of Kat Flower

Get a Pro Look on the Cheap

Skip the florist and craft this pro-looking centerpiece yourself with fresh citrus, flowers and greenery picked up at your local grocery store. Our step-by-step instructions show you the trick for creating the lime-lined vase. 

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.

Subdued and Simple

A scattering of seed pods, pinecones and nuts surround cream pillar candles for this easy centerpiece. Its neutral colors work with the table's subdued palette.

From: Erinn Valencich

Match Your Arrangement to the Surroundings

Mismatched vases filled with bunches of grocery store flowers are all designer Manvi Drona-Hidalgo needed to complete her outdoor table setting. A pastoral setting this beautiful doesn't require fussy flowers.

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

Bring the Outdoors In

An informal Thanksgiving buffet calls for a laid-back centerpiece. Designer Camille Styles filled an earthenware jug with fall-blooming grasses, leaves and berries for a quick and colorful arrangement.

Cheery Sunflowers

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 Some Grasses

Fall backyards, fields and gardens are full of grain, ornamental grasses and just plain weeds that are an easy way to add a harvest-themed touch to either a formal or informal centerpiece. 

Photo By: Courtesy Amanda Gentile / Great Performances

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

©Image courtesy of Kat Flower

Contain Your Arrangement

For a twist on a traditional centerpiece, place flowers inside a tall glass cyliner and add just enough water to submerge the stem ends. Guests will still be able to enjoy the flowers' beauty without a tall arrangement blocking their view of each other.

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

Typcially composed of a variety of flowers, filler and greenery, grocery store bouquets are a great money-saving option when you need to spread the floral love around. Just separate the different elements and use them to create multiple small arrangements. 

Waterless Bouquet

Your guests will really be impressed with your floral-arranging skills when they see this stunning centerpiece that will look great without water during dinner (about four hours). After your guests leave, cut the ends off the stems and place the bouquet in water and the arrangement will stay fresh for about a week. Make your own with our step-by-step instructions.

Photo By: DK - Fresh Flower Arranging © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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.

Go Organic

For less than $10 (really!) you can turn floral foam and a few bunches of dried wheat into this symbol of the fall harvest. Learn how to craft one of your own.

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