These fall centerpieces will liven up any seasonal spread. Best part? They put gratitude front and center (and the kids).

Back to Nature

Leeza Hernandez

Nothing says fall like acorns, pinecones, leaves, twigs and pumpkins. This centerpiece is inspired by all these natural gems, so head outside and start gathering.

Setup: Use a piece of muslin as a base cloth, then run a strip of brown craft packaging paper from one end of the table to the other. Place a couple of small pots in a wooden planter and position lengthwise in the middle of the table. Cut seasonal flowers and place into the pots, then fill the rest of the planter with pinecones. Scoop up acorns in the yard with the kids and put them in a glass vase or mason jars of different sizes at either end of the planter with some pumpkins and twigs.

Finishing Touch: Remnant fabric in colorful earth tones can serve as napkins. Tie with raffia. Ask guests to write what they’re grateful for on the tags and display.

Bargain Buys: We found the mason jar at a thrift store ($3), the planter at a yard sale ($1) and the wooden leaf and pumpkin tags at the dollar store ($2/10 shapes).

A Fresh Take on Fall Classics

Leeza Hernandez

We’re loving white pumpkins, aka Casper or Lumina. Group them with some Jack-Be-Littles (baby orange) and Pumpkemons (orange and white stripes) to give your table a fun twist on fall centerpieces’ traditional color palette.

Setup: Lay a plain ivory cloth on the table, then use autumnal fabric as a wide runner down the center. For dramatic effect, place an oversized white Flat Boer Ford pumpkin in the center. Trail the rest of the pumpkins, sprigs of greenery, faux red fruit (apples and pears), pinecones and a small candle or two at both ends of the table. Use smaller pumpkins as you work outward.

Finishing Touch: Tie silverware with matching fabric to the runner. Ask family and friends to write what they’re thankful for on the big pumpkin. Don’t forget to snap pics!

Bargain Buys: We found orange plates at the dollar store ($8) and the leafy side plates at a yard sale ($2), which completed the look.

Black, White & Mod

Leeza Hernandez

Skip traditional fall centerpieces in favor of a modern composition of bold black and white. Introducing a dark squash for contrast adds grandeur to the centerpiece and is guaranteed to stand out at any feast.

Setup: Start with a plain white cloth over the whole table. Instead of a runner, drape 12-inch-wide strips of black fabric topped with black and white striped ribbon across the width of the table for place settings. Layer white dinner plates with smaller plates and pumpkins. Tie black ribbon to white mini pumpkin stems for contrast.

Finishing Touch: Use picture frames as place cards. Remove the glass, add black card stock, give guests white paint pens and ask them to list words of gratitude to display on the table. Accent the overall look with black chair covers for a more dramatic effect.

Bargain Buys: We found the black-edged plates at a thrift store ($1.50), mixed bunches of flowers from Trader Joe’s ($25) and picked up fabric from a local craft store ($5).

Put the Art in Party

Leeza Hernandez

Let the kids take the lead decorating the table with a bright, Matisse-inspired centerpiece that’ll shape up to be the most colorful setting of the year.

Setup: Make a date with your mini artists before the feast to paint multiple pumpkins with abstract leaves, stars, spots and other shapes (leave some pumpkins unpainted, too). When the big day comes, cover the table with solid-color wrapping paper and arrange the pumpkins in haphazard clusters for extra whimsy.

Finishing Touch: Scatter faux flowers and succulents between the pumpkins. Have older kids cut letters and shapes out of craft foam. Then, invite family and friends to write on them or spell out the things they’re thankful for. Sprinkling the words like confetti, hanging them from the chandelier or tacking them to the dining room wall make great conversation starters.

Bargain Buy: We used a half-off coupon to purchase a pack of foam sheets at a local craft store ($4.59).

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