The Essentials of Making Gorgeous Centerpieces

The Essentials of Making Gorgeous Centerpieces

The Essentials of Making Gorgeous Centerpieces


Our designer Becky Shea has already walked us through how to craft rustically beautiful Thanksgiving tablescapes, but now, we zoom in on the centerpieces.

Some people might argue that the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table is the turkey. Well, they are WRONG. Ok, I’ll back off a little, but being a designer, I tend to think that the mainstay, the central figure, the centerpiece is… well, the centerpiece. When people walk into your dining room on Turkey Day, you know what will take their breath away? That GORGEOUS, curated, hand-crafted piece that you’ve set on the table.

But how do you make sure it is, in fact, GORGEOUS? General rule of thumb: consider the size of the table you’re working with. The centerpiece should always be proportionate to the scale of the table. Make sure to leave sight-lines open, so your guests can engage in easy conversation. As beautiful as a giant sunflowers might be, no one wants them directly in front of their face. Now that we have that main concern out of the way, let’s delve into the details of dimension, diversity, and color below.



The Understated Rustic Look

The centerpiece on this table keeps in mind two important design elements: diversity and dimension. The first noticeable pieces are the magnolia and olive branches. Each are completely unique to the other, and yet they both evoke a true autumnal vibe. Gathered in two different sized vases, they have a height variable to create visual interest. (Note: the vases are also clear, so guests can see the exposed branches.) But it doesn’t stop with the branches! To embrace the length of the table and fill in the blank spaces, I layered in pinecones, white gourds, acorns, and even an antler. The antler is especially cool, because it isn’t one staid height.

Whenever you’re designing a centerpiece, remember that it is IN THE CENTER (like obvi). In other words, all eyes will be on it. If you have the time, sit at each spot of the table and try to create mini vignettes with what you see. This will make each guest feel special while drawing their eyes up to the floral elements.



The Brooding but Lush Look

This centerpiece was my study in color. Though it definitely incorporates the lessons of dimension and diversity from the first centerpiece, I introduced lush hues from the amaranthus, speckled pumpkin, and pale green artichokes. But it’s not overwhelming! You might not have noticed, but everything from the dishware to the vases are in subtle monochromatic tones, made of either concrete or stoneware. IT’S ALL ABOUT BALANCE! That stoneware (not to mention the charcoal gray tablecloth) allows the floral elements to really shine. In the end, it’s my non-conformist cornucopia, and it looks like I gathered it from my nearest enchanted forest while I was skipping in a linen dress surrounded by ethereal light. (In reality, I was wearing jeans, covered in dust, and going through a Whole Foods. Plus side, everything on this table can be sourced at Whole Foods.) Notice the color pops one last time thanks to little radishes on the plates… a fun little surprise for guests.

To see the overall look, check out my tablescape article.

In this tour:
Dining Room