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18 Fall Centerpieces to Warm Your Table Right Up

Gather what's readily available and get going.

September 14, 2021
Photo by Food52

Centerpieces—be they at a wedding or just a static, steady feature on your dining table—have a reputation for being rather fussy. Many of them are also very obviously seasonal: sunflowers and cacti for summer, red berries and coniferous branches in winter.

They don’t have to be so boxed in, though, and they don’t have to be floral. And they certainly needn’t be fussy, because, quite frankly, who needs that right now. I’m quite partial to centerpieces that just use what’s available, like a variety of produce or a collection of vintage items you have lying around used as vases—the more unexpected, the better. Below, we’ve collected 13 unique centerpiece ideas that will scratch your creative itch and feel 100 percent autumnal, but can easily be modified for any theme or season.

1. Collection of Candlesticks

If you’re a lover of vintage candlesticks (brass, wood, silver—all fair game), gather them all together with some taper candles and set them at the center of the table. No florals necessary.

2. Dried Leaves and Cut Fruit

This centerpiece feels quintessentially fall, but it can be easily recreated with dried grasses, more citrus, and bright, springy florals to carry this same concept through the seasons.

3. Spray Painted Baby’s Breath

This overflow of (very affordable) vase filler is simply spray painted and arranged down the center of the table. While this version is brightly hued, this idea would work just as well with more neutral or moody colors.

4. Fish Bowl Florals

Fish bowls lend themselves perfectly to floral arrangements, because the tight rim keeps thick bunches of stems right where you put them. This collection of eucalyptus, roses, ferns, and protea would be equally at home on a fall or summer table.

5. Clustered Vases

We’ve spoken before about the ease and payoff of several bud vases or bottles clustered together as a centerpiece—it’s a perfect beginner floral arrangement for a look that's totally professional.

6. Submerged Botanicals

Similar to the cluster of vases, this centerpiece is versatile enough to use any vessels you have on hand. But instead of leaving the stems to stick out, the pieces are submerged, à la homemade gin.

7. Coffee Table Styling

There are no rules when it comes to arranging a centerpiece, so who says you can’t take inspiration from coffee table styling? A stack of books, a neutral object, and a round vase of preserved stems would stun on a dining table, too.

8. Filled Clotches

Similar to a terrarium (but much easier to arrange) a glass clotche can hold any number of curiosities—from dried florals to small objects.

9. Suspended Pampas Grass

While this centerpiece isn’t actually on the table, it certainly would be the focus. This tutorial is actually pretty simple, using just chicken wire, clear string, and stems of dried pampas grass.

10. Potted Plants

There’s probably no better last-minute centerpiece than rounding up your houseplants and sticking them at the center of the table—which in the end, looks quite intentional.

11. Seasonal Fruits

Entirely edible, affordable, and elegant…who knew a plain ol' bowl of fruit made such a perfect centerpiece? Like florals, this one isn’t confined just to fall, but can adapt with the seasons—citrus in the summer and stone fruit for the winter.

12. Crystals and Brooding Florals

The darker color palette of this tablescape can actually bridge the seasonal gap, as the purple agate and crystal details would be just as perfect for a Hocus Pocus Halloween dinner as it would for a summer meal al fresco.

13. Stone Piles

Okay, so maybe you don’t have chunks of marble laying around (or you do?), but this centerpiece was too unique not to include.

14. Out of the Cornucopia

A cornucopia is one of the most quintessential symbols of Thanksgiving, but they’re also pretty antiquated. Instead of holding fruit hostage inside a cone-shaped basket, let them roam free on the table as an edible centerpiece.

15. Stacks of Pumpkins

These adorable stacks of pumpkins conjure images of digging through buckets of miniature pumpkins at the patch to find the perfect arrangement to stack on up, and I can’t think of anything I’d rather do right now, TBH.

16. Butternut Squash Vase

Just like a pumpkin, you can actually carve out the flesh from a butternut squash to use it as a vase. The day of Thanksgiving (or any fall gathering!) simply cut a lid and scoop out the flesh just like a pumpkin, fill it with water, and fluff up some flowers inside.

17. Pile O’ Pears

I mean, need we say anything else? A beautiful pile of pears is the perfect thing to welcome Thanksgiving guests into the table.

19. Dried Hydrangeas

Did you know that hydrangeas dry into beautifully muted forms of their fresh selves? All you have to do is let them sit in water (which will preserve some of the color) until the petals are stiff and the branches easily snap, so don’t toss your summer blooms just yet!

This article was updated in September 2021 to add even more centerpiece ideas.

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Which of these centerpiece ideas would you recreate for Thanksgiving dinner? Let us know below!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Charlene V
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Caroline Mullen

Written by: Caroline Mullen


Charlene V. September 24, 2022
For a vegetarian dinner, I placed a variety of mostly green fruits, veggies, and herbs in shallow bowls or plates. They could also just be placed down the table as shown in some of these arrangements. It was a hit with all the guests and a great example of a “found” centerpiece.
Rosalind P. October 11, 2020
Giant bowl of mixed nuts with or without oranges or lemons or apples. Mini pumpkins (all white is stunning) or unusually shaped gourds. Pine cones and leaves. Small evergreen branches with mini vases or glasses tucked in. Shells and stones. Pile of ruby red pomegranates or ugli fruit.