My husband Jimmy and I have an ongoing battle over the dining table centerpiece. Meaning: I want one, he doesn’t. I adore a dramatic bowl or vase or jar of eclectic, conversational items. He doesn’t. I like to layer a base, then a vessel, then an assortment of interesting flowers or items. He—wait for it—doesn’t.
If it were up to him, the dining table would be starkly, sadly naked.
Now, he has a point sometimes. If the table is loaded with dishes and food, and all sides are packed with laughing people, a three-foot vase of gladiolus just gets in the way. But if it’s a small gathering—three or four people—a low bowl of hydrangea blooms or pinecones adds a sophisticated touch.
If you struggle with dreaming up a table centerpiece, you are not alone. They were commonplace with our parents and grandparents (I give you: the cornucopia), and still take center stage during business luncheons and fancy parties. But a centerpiece doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated or even floral. It just needs to be interesting.
If you have a cutting board, you have a base. If you have an artsy bowl, you have a vessel. If you have a collection of anything—marbles, dried flowers, copper utensils, artificial fruit or vegetables—you have a filler. You can skip the vessel entirely and put a houseplant on the cutting board. Voila! Centerpiece.
Let’s give it a try: Choose a board, put it on the table, then look around your house. Bring some odds and ends over. Try different combinations. Grab a glass bowl, fill it with water, then float some candles or mature blooms from your own gardens in the center. Lovely!
And you know what? You don’t have to throw a dinner party to showcase your table creations. They can be just for you and your family. Before long, every decorative item in your home will have centerpiece potential. And then my work will be done.