Gatherings in the dining room can conjure up some of our most special memories: holiday dinners, evenings with the book club, Sunday morning brunch ... the list goes on. While we can't always remember the exact details of what we ate or why we were all gathered in the first place, it seems that we always remember the way the evening felt: the candles glowing in dimmed light or the flower arrangement we plucked from the garden sitting amongst a group of family and friends.
Much like we advocate for keeping a bottle of chilled bubbly on hand (you never know when it's time to celebrate), we also recommend incorporating dining room table centerpieces as part of your everyday decor, just in case life presents an impromptu opportunity to entertain. Ahead, we've rounded up the best centerpiece ideas to add to your space. And bonus: We bet you'll already have a few of them on hand!
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1. Add color with fresh fruit.
This low-maintenance dining room table centerpiece by Shira Caplan is a foolproof way to add color to your neutral decor. Simply add bowls of varying heights and sizes with fresh fruit (lemons, limes, and apples often work great!), and a small bud vase for an additional pop of color. (Just make sure not to leave your fruit out in the sun for too long in order to keep it fresh and avoid attracting fruit flies.)
2. Play with scale using an oversize vase.
This modern dining room by the bloggers behind Chris Loves Julia is a great way to play with scale, thanks to an oversize vase and a simple flower arrangement. To bring this look into your own home, keep the vase and florals neutral for a final look that feels sleek and streamlined.
3. Use foraged foliage in place of flowers.
In their previous home, Chris and Julia opted for cut foliage in a colored glass vase for a slightly more relaxed, casual farmhouse style. You can recreate this approach by heading into your yard or neighborhood with a pair of clippers — making sure, of course, to be mindful of which plants are okay to take, as well as safe for humans and the animals you live with. This look works great against black and wood dining room decor for added texture and color, and the branches can easily be swapped in and out depending on the time of year.
4. Give a nod to the season.
You can skip flowers and foliage while still injecting life into your dining room table centerpiece by arranging a group of seasonal pumpkins and gourds, much like Gil Schafer does in this seaside home. To translate this idea into other seasons, opt for a fresh garland in winter, or a bowl of white seashells in varying sizes during the summer.
5. Keep it minimal with sculptural pieces of decor.
Dining room table centerpieces don't always require buying something new. This look by Chelsea Hing shows how to arrange everyday home decor for the table, creating a striking finished look. To recreate this idea, make sure there's a balance of varied heights and sizes, while also keeping enough in common between the pieces for the look to feel cohesive. In this case, all of the pieces are a similar, modern style, and two of them even share gold details.
6. Style in groups of three.
If you have a grander dining table that requires a large centerpiece, try a decor trio. (This is one example of the rule of three in interior design — like the legs of a tripod, three objects together instantly create balance.) Here, Meg McSherry shows us how to combine a group of three leafy arrangements to make a cohesive statement by using a variety of vases and planters, but keeping the texture and plant style consistent. Finish the look with scattered tapers for additional light and ambiance.
7. Use planted moss for a long-lasting solution.
If routinely swapping out plants and flowers doesn't sound appealing, but you still want to incorporate something green into your dining room centerpiece, take a leaf out of Alaina Kaczmarski's book with an oversize moss planter. To get her dining room look for your own space, mix and match white, slipcovered chairs at the head of the table with black Louis-style chairs and add a rug underneath to bring them together.
8. Display a mixed floral arrangement.
Cassandra Lavalle reminds us to get back to the basics with this simple, seasonal floral arrangement in her sunny dining room nook. Choose a variety of warm, colorful blooms to brighten up otherwise neutral dining room decor.
9. Keep it classic with long tapers.
This pared-down dining room table centerpiece from Michelle Janeen is a perfect example of "less is more." A group of simple, gold tapers elevates a minimalist space just enough to make it cozy and inviting. To recreate, pair a rustic wood table with white metal farmhouse chairs and a warm faux sheepskin for added texture.
10. Display dried grasses.
For an easy, elegant centerpiece, go for dried grasses like pampas. This silvery kind looks especially striking in a simple earthenware vase. If you want more color, pampas grass also comes in lovely shades of pink and purple.
11. Create your own cane vase.
Instead of fresh flowers in a glass vase, try a dried floral arrangement in a DIY cane vase. This is a gorgeous centerpiece and a fun activity in one — and you won't have to worry about the flowers dying. This tutorial by Sara Albers of Alice & Lois uses dried amaranth, protea, banksia, and bunny tail for a romantic, autumnal look.
12. Choose a cheeky sculpture.
Art doesn't have to be serious, as shown by this half-peeled gold banana sculpture. Place your favorite cheeky art piece — maybe even one you made yourself — on your table for a centerpiece that shows off your personality. You can treat the space like your own personal gallery and change what's on display as often as you like.
13. Show off a single succulent.
It doesn't get easier than this. Don't underestimate the sculptural potential of a single potted plant. Whether you choose a starburst-shaped aloe vera or a demure string of pearls, one plant is all you need. If you want to take your centerpiece to the next level, try making your own pot out of concrete.
14. Go for gourds.
All you need for a simple fall centerpiece is a pair of gourds. Choose classic orange pumpkins or go for bumpy, colorful, or striped varieties. Pair them with a floral arrangement in autumnal colors like yellow and maroon.
15. Get into the Halloween spirit.
Halloween decorations can be as cheesy and over-the-top as you want — artificial spiderwebs, plastic spiders, glittery pumpkins. But, as this centerpiece shows, they can also be understated and sophisticated. Follow Carrie Walker's tutorial to make this creative bat display using little more than cardstock and a branch. Goths and bat lovers may want to keep it up all year long, and that sounds just fine to us.
16. Use some eucalyptus.
A botanical arrangement doesn't require flowers. For a minimal centerpiece, display a few sprigs of eucalyptus in a vase. In this simple room full of neutral colors and clean lines, the leaves' color and shape provides more than enough interest. (Bonus: Eucalyptus smells refreshing, too.) Two short, empty vases fill out the meditative composition.
17. Get reflective.
A round tray is the perfect foundation of a stylish centerpiece, and this DIY mirrored one is extra special. Follow the tutorial by Sara Albers to turn a 12-inch circle mirror and air-dry clay into a base for candles, flower arrangements, and more. Terra cotta-colored clay looks natural and pretty, but you can customize your own tray with any color you like.
18. Match your vase to your flowers.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with being matchy-matchy, especially with a color as uncommon as this shade of orchid purple. Go with lilies, as seen here, or try this technique with your favorite flower: sunflowers in a yellow glass vase, sweet pea blossoms in a soft purple one — you get the picture.
19. Embrace desert vibes.
While we love a full floral bouquet, a sparse centerpiece is also beautiful in its own way. This black ceramic basket and paddle cactus evoke the austerity of the desert, while the patterned pot and lit candle add warmth.
20. Try tiny pumpkin candles.
Jack-o'-lanterns aren't the only way to make an illuminated gourd display. For a more sophisticated (and easier) alternative, try DIY pumpkin candles with this tutorial by Sara Albers. Mix various colors and leave some pumpkins whole for a memorable fall centerpiece.
21. Pair condiments with a green bouquet.
High-quality ingredients are all you need for a delicious meal, and they're all you need for a centerpiece too. Display your staple finishings — oil, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, etc. — in practical and beautiful containers. Place them on a tray with a bouquet of greenery, and you have a feast for the eyes.
22. Highlight beautiful leaves.
You don't need to buy anything to create a stunning centerpiece. If you have a clear glass or bottle and some plants to cut from, that's plenty. This monstera leaf arrangement is as simple as it gets, but it still provides a stylish focal point for your table.
23. Keep it monochrome.
If your style is minimal with a subtle sense of humor, play with a monochrome palette. This centerpiece is composed of three vases in a gradient of browns. The round shapes of the dried flowers — along with the bright yellow dining chairs, large monstera plant, and tumbleweed-looking chandelier — ensure that the room is anything but boring.
24. Go all out with maximalist art.
For a maximalist look, bring your full personality to your centerpiece. In this dining area, the candle holders, vase, and planters fit the style of the electric blue gallery wall. Choose accent pieces by your favorite artists and crafters, and mix them to your heart's delight.
25. Mix jar and pillar candles.
As with flowers, there are infinite ways to display candles in a centerpiece. A particularly laid-back take: Mix pillar and jar candles, as shown here. To keep your arrangement looking intentional, place it on a tray. Avoid competing scents by choosing one scented candle and pairing it with scent-free ones.