Adding a centerpiece to your table gives a dinner, buffet or any event a feeling of festivity and completeness. Your centerpiece does not need to be extravagant or expensive. In fact, for many occasions things you already have can be combined to create a striking display for the center of your table.
The container, or containers, you select for a centerpiece can make the difference between a rather generic display or a spectacular arrangement. Insert a vase or jar inside something else, like cowboy boots, paper-covered boxes, or even a plain brown paper bag to create an unusual container for flowers. Multiple jars or glasses in different sizes and shapes--filled with flowers or used as candle holders--can be striking. Tuck florist foam inside to hold elements in place.
For instance, a football-themed centerpiece could use a helmet as a container. Place the helmet upside down, put foam inside and insert dowels embellished with little footballs or team banners into the foam so the dowels fan out from the helmet. Consider objects not generally thought as containers to open up a multitude of creative centerpiece possibilities.
Buy flowers from a florist, the grocery store, or pick them from your garden for your table arrangement. Consider using several vases, grouped together, instead of one, large vase to display your flowers. Change the height of the smaller containers--use inverted drinking glasses or wine goblets as pedestals--to create an interesting floral centerpiece using fewer flowers than if you used one, large vase. A centerpiece of floating blossoms in a low, wide container is simple, yet elegant. Add floating tea candles or color the water with a drop or two of food coloring for a different effect.
Use fruit in your centerpieces to totally change the arrangement. Put lemons, limes, or red cranberries in with the water in a clear container to hide the stems of flower arrangements and keep blooms in place. Make a pyramid or cone shape in the center of the table using a variety of stacked fruit. Start with the larger fruit, like oranges, for the base, then as you narrow and work up, have rows of smaller sized fruit, like lemons, then limes, and finally kumquats. Tuck a few sprigs of mint in between the pieces of fruit as a final touch. You can also use fruit for an edible centerpiece. Hollow out a watermelon, or use a basket,then fill it with tropical fruits or make fruit flowers or fruit kabobs to stick into a melon.
Candles can also make attractive centerpieces, either very formally in a candelabra or holders, or more casually using chunky pillar candles. Use the same technique for multiple flower vases to vary the height of pillar candles, or place them inside large mouthed glass containers, such as jars or drinking glasses.
Balloons make inexpensive, fast centerpieces for more informal occasions. You do not even need a fancy weight to secure the balloons. Tie the balloons to a brick, then place the brick inside a decorative paper bag, or cover with gift wrap or tissue paper. Make sure the balloons are high enough that they do not interfere with conversations or the food.
If you do not want flowers and have no particular theme for your event, a quick and easy solution for a centerpiece is to use elements from nature and your backyard. Bare branch limbs artistically placed in a tall container can look elegant as a centerpiece. The same holds true for a few branches with colorful berries. Dried seed pods, or pine cones can be arranged like a flower arrangement or like stacked fruit. Look around and you will find an abundant supply of centerpiece material.
If you are still not sure what you want to make for your centerpiece, get inspired by visiting florist websites, home and garden magazine websites and browse furniture stores, department stores, and architectural publications. Pay attention to what centerpiece displays are featured. If you see one you like, replicate it.