Planning a Thanksgiving dinner or a holiday gathering soon? Host away! But before you make room in the budget for a new centrepiece, consider using literally anything you already have lying around. From office supplies to kitchen utensils and seasonal fruits and veggies, a beautiful, creative and affordable centrepiece is just one or two recycled items away. Trust us, and don’t enlist the party planner just yet.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

If you’re in the commendable habit of recycling and reusing, you probably have a gold mine of centrepiece materials just waiting to be put together. It all comes down to imagination and a good eye for layout. 

For example, one thing you could use instead of throwing them away is eggshells. Next time you prepare an omelette for breakfast, empty the eggs without cracking them (it’s easy – here’s how). Then clean the shells, paint them as desired, and add candles, moss or tiny flowers to each egg. It’s perfect for an Easter lunch or a baby shower, and you won’t find anything cuter than that.

Another item that shouldn’t go to waste is your happy hour leftovers. After sipping your favourite wine, save the bottle – and while you’re at it, save beer and water bottles too. Spray paint two or three bottles in matching colours or wrap them with macramé cord and add flowers, baby’s breath, pampas grass or other greenery, insert taper candles to turn them into candlesticks or fill the bottle with tiny Christmas lights. 

Whatever you choose, tall bottles will create a focal point and add an elegant charm to the table. To create visual interest, use bottles of different shapes and sizes, or elevate a few of them to varying heights using pretty books or upside down bowls.

Flowers are a centrepiece favourite, but there’s no need to run to the florist: paper flowers are a beautiful and creative alternative, plus they won’t dry up. They’re also versatile: you can make your own flower design with whatever colour combination you want. 

You can also use paper for a different type of centrepiece, with a heartfelt twist: Place two wooden or ceramic bowls in the centre of the table, one filled with colourful 6-inch paper strips and the other one empty. Have your guests write a special note, roll up the paper strip and toss it in the empty bowl. You can ask them to write down something they’re grateful for if you’re hosting a Thanksgiving dinner, or it could be a message to someone you’re celebrating. The result will be tons of heartfelt messages, and a pretty display of coloured strips to adorn the table. It’s definitely a centrepiece your guests won’t ignore. 

You’ll often see DIY centrepiece ideas that hinge around painting and decorating clear glass vases – but there’s an easier way: You can bring colour to the table using vases or mason jars and simply add rubber bands. Just wrap the jar with coloured rubber bands – in any pattern you like, however you like – and insert your favourite flowers. This is especially ideal for a kid’s birthday party or any informal event that could use a touch of whimsical playfulness.

Go Seasonal

When it comes to rustic, vibrant centrepieces for the dining table, decorating with fruits and veggies is a good call, since you’ll find them in the same array of bright colours that you’d generally find in flowers. And no one can stop you from eating your decoration once the guests have left – we can’t let the food go to waste, right? 

We’re not talking about the classic fruit bowl, but rather inventive and eye-catching centrepieces literally made out of fruit. For instance, if your Halloween pumpkins are still looking good, trim off the top, carve out the seeds and place a jar with water and flowers inside the hollow pumpkin. You can choose to paint the pumpkin first in a colour that suits your overall décor, or leave it as is, but it’ll definitely invoke the spirit of the season– and you can turn the leftovers into a creamy pumpkin soup.

For summertime or a tropical-themed get-together, you can do the same with a pineapple, carving out all the fruit flesh and inserting a vase or jar filled with flowers or plants. Perfect for an outdoor event, you won’t find an arrangement more seasonally appropriate. 

For an even more unexpected alternative, and only if you don’t mind eating cabbage all week, try a cabbage vase – it’s a lot easier than it looks, and it’ll definitely be the centre(piece) of attention.

Citrus fruits can also add a fresh touch to the tabletop. The options are many: lime slices floating in clear vases filled with water at different levels; lemons combined with a bunch of daisies in a solid colour vase; a composition of key limes and kumquats with moss in a tray; or full oranges with gardenia leaves displayed in an elegant dish. 

For the winter months, create a nature-inspired tablescape using a wood stump as a rustic vase and insert soft-toned flowers and baby’s breath to counterbalance the hard texture. Or, if you’re going for a more formal seasonal event, spray-paint pinecones in gold or silver, arrange them in different dishes and bowls, and add a delicate ribbon to each.

From The Kitchen To The Table

If you’re running short on flower vases, there are tons of things you can use – and you’ll find them right next to your cutlery, pans and kitchen appliances. For example, take a water pitcher, and fill it with your favourite blooms. It’s as easy as using a regular vase, but it adds a touch of modern edge to the table. Can’t go wrong. As an alternative, clear wine glasses are another good bet. You can arrange them in different sizes, add water and a floating candle, or place them upside down and put a candle on top. Either way, it’s effortless elegance. 

Another great option to add more charm to your table décor is to use trays or shallow boxes and baskets as an alternative to a vase – just add stemless flowers and candles to create a beautiful flat lay, take a wooden box and fill it with cascading grapes and different fruits, candles or dried leaves, or use a cake stand to add more height and depth. Whatever you pick, it’s certain to stand out from the regular vase-and-flower arrangements.


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Last but not least, for a centrepiece that’s incredibly budget-friendly but looks anything but cheap, turn plain soup cans into the main element of your dinner table. You can either go for traditional flower vases – putting together three cans, painting them in different colours and patterns or wrapping them with burlap or lace – or fashion little tin can lanterns. To make one, just paint a clean can, draw a simple dotted design, drill or nail following the design, and drop in a votive candle. These are fun as a DIY project for the kids and are perfect for decorating the mantelpiece or illuminating the table during an al fresco dinner.

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