Fall and Thanksgiving centerpiece ideas

I’m a firm believer in the idea that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enhance your table setting with a great centerpiece! In my Tablescaping 101 blog series, I give a few hints and tips for creating centerpieces. With this post, we’re going to specfically focus on inexpensive Fall and Thanksgiving ideas!

For me, the best ways to create centerpieces involve playing with color or texture, using unusual containers, making handcrafted items, and using unexpected elements. Thrift stores, consignment shops, and Dollar Tree are well-represented in these inexpensive Fall and Thanksgiving centerpiece ideas! In fact, I shop year-round for elements at secondhand and discount venues because it ensures I have a large stash of items to choose from when I go to actually create something.

Here are a few Fall and Thanksgiving ideas for you to copy or adapt, depending on what you find while shopping!

Swag Rambler Centerpiece

I love the idea of something that just rambles down the length of the table, so I created a “runner-style” centerpiece using a hand-crafted door swag that included cut-out wooden leaves, jute string, and raffia. I tucked in some faux feathers, silk leaves in traditional autumn colors, and silk blooms using Dollar Tree florals, and tiny real gourds in white and orange.

Italianate Pedestal Basket

Of course I love vases of all kinds, but I try to use interesting containers whenever possible for real or silk flowers. This basket on a pedestal had almost an Italianate vibe to it, especially when filled with silk Fall asters, faux grapes, and a shimmery gold saucer. The container, candle, saucer, and faux grapes were all second-hand; the silk flowers were all from Dollar Tree, as were the ceramic pumpkins. Velvet pumpkins were handmade by me. 🙂

Bun-foot Pumpkin in a Dough bowl

Pumpkins are perhaps the universal symbol of Fall and Thanksgiving, and it’s fun to incorporate both real and stylized versions into a centerpiece for the table. Here I’ve used a small dough bowl as the container. I created a nest using a small pip-berry wreath from Goodwill plus nuts and pine cones collected for free on a nature walk. The pumpkin itself is handmade from the large “bun foot” off a piece of discarded furniture!

Velvet, Sweater, and Crocheted Pumpkins

Faux pumpkins made from “yard goods” (now there’s an old-fashioned term!) have been a trend for awhile now. My favorite material to use in making them is velvet, which can be acquired inexpensively by purchasing used children’s clothing in thrift stores. I’ve also made them from old sweaters, and my daughter crocheted some beautiful ones for me out of the softest nubby yarn! Here her crocheted pumpkin is paired with a shiny orange ceramic one from Dollar Tree plus a shimmery beaded garland from Goodwill.
And here I’ve used second-hand finds – handmade blue clay bowl, a small pip-berry wreath, a ceramic squirrel that I spray-painted gold, and a champagne-colored lacey window valance – plus a real miniature gourd to enhance my favorite hand-made velvet pumpkin. Here’s another tablescape that uses this same pumpkin, though it isn’t a Fall table.

Dried Garden Flowers and Old Books

Speaking of favorites, this centerpiece uses one of my favorite Fall decorating elements: natural dried hydrangeas direct from the garden! I especially love the combined textures of the dried blooms, brass deer, and gilded gold book titles. Old books can look very rustic when used in decorating with their faded covers and pages. I collect them from flea markets and antique stores, always inexpensive and always with titles romantic enough to enhance my little cottage home!

Handmade Rustic Box with Silk Flowers

Back to more traditional Fall colors… this centerpiece is comprised of a handmade wooden box made from a cast off fence panel, plus silk flowers primarily from Dollar Tree. (The silk roses in deep plum and ivory were all in one bunch at a yard sale.) I have had those boldly colored napkins for awhile – clearance from Pier 1 a few years ago – but this centerpiece is the first one I’ve made that really called for their use, so I was excited to create the tablescape for this centerpiece!

It’s important to remember that because so many of my items are purchased second-hand, you might not be able to recreate these pieces exactly… but I promise – your own creative juices will start flowing when you begin looking at things you find in thrift store, yard sales, flea markets, and elsewhere with an eye toward making centerpieces, and your own creations will be even better!

Here’s an image for Pinterest in case you’d like to save these centerpiece ideas!

For more centerpiece inspiration, join my Facebook group Thrifty Tablescapers! It’s a creative and friendly group of people who enjoy setting beautiful tables on a budget!

And, be sure to grab your FREE Tablescaper’s Checklist so you never miss a detail when planning your tablescapes!

Posted in Tablescapes | 4 Comments

Thanksgiving Fall Tablescape in jewel tone plaids

Every table starts with an idea. It might be a color, a holiday, or even an inspiration piece such as a new tablecloth or new fairytale chargers. This Fall/Thanksgiving table started with this centerpiece:

Thanksgiving Fall centerpiece with jewel tone pumpkins and pedestal basket container

To be more precise, it started with the empty basket, which I found already attached to the pedestal, in a consignment store. I wanted to fill the basket with flowers, to have it feel like it was overflowing. I pulled out a few stops on this one – a china saucer in shimmery gold with harvest fruit, faux grapes, even a candle nestled into the basket along with all those blooms.

Thanksgiving Fall Centerpiece with silk flowers, china saucer, faux grapes, and candle.

The colors began to suggest that perhaps some of my favorite handmade jewel tone velvet pumpkins would look good, so I set a few – as well as a couple favorite ceramic ones from Dollar Tree – at the feet of the pedestal.

Velvet pumpkins with Thanksgiving Fall Centerpiece

I wanted to keep the rest of the table in jewel tones as much as possible, so I chose deep green dinner plates and a set of plaid salad plates that echoed not only the color scheme but also the idea of fruit harvest bounty. I think “bounty” is always a great theme for a Thanksgiving table because it can easily be interpreted visually and it reminds us to be grateful for the many blessings in our lives.

Fall Thanksgiving Tablescape by VFCstyle.com
Fall Thanksgiving Tablescape by VFCstyle.com
Fall Thanksgiving Tablescape by VFCstyle.com

The green dinner plates are by Home Trends, and the salad plates are “Victoria” by Sakura. Both were Goodwill finds.

"Victoria" salad plates by Sakura in a Fall Thanksgiving tablescape by VFCstyle.com
Home Trends dark green dinner plates in a Fall Thanksgiving tablescape by VFCstyle.com

I love the texture of this rattan charger – also a consignment store find. It’s perfect for Fall and Thanksgiving tablescapes!

Textured brown rattan chargers in a Fall Thanksgiving tablescape by VFCstyle.com
Charger texture in a Fall Thanksgiving tablescape by VFCstyle.com
Edges of the plate stack in a Fall Thanksgiving tablescape by VFCstyle.com

Vintage glassware is by Libbey (also from Goodwill); the neutral napkins have a subtle plaid pattern and were a consignment store find. Napkin rings were Pier 1 clearance a couple of years ago. Flatware is mis-matched vintage silverware collected from a local antique fair.

Dark green swirl glassware by Libbey in a Fall Thanksgiving tablescape by VFCstyle.com
Plaid napkins in a Fall Thanksgiving tablescape by VFCstyle.com
Silk floral napkin rings in a Fall Thanksgiving tablescape by VFCstyle.com
Mismatched vintage silverware in a Fall Thanksgiving tablescape by VFCstyle.com

Here are a few more views around the table…

Fall Thanksgiving Tablescape by VFCstyle.com
Fall Thanksgiving Tablescape by VFCstyle.com
Fall Thanksgiving Tablescape by VFCstyle.com
Overhead view of a Fall Thanksgiving Tablescape by VFCstyle.com

Here’s a view of this table in my single-wide mobile home kitchen. This is my only dining space, so all my tables are set here!

The kitchen at Vintage Floral Cottage, VFCstyle.com

And of course the put-away shot – all done and ready to go back into the cupboards!

Tablescaping elements stacked and ready to be put away, VFCstyle.com

Hope you got some good ideas from this table – here’s an image for Pinterest if you’d like to pin it to your tablescaping board for future inspiration!

A Fall Thanksgiving tablescape in jewel tones and plaids at VFCstyle.com

I’ll be sharing this table for Tablescape Thursday over at Susan’s blog, Between Naps on the Porch!

For daily budget-friendly tablescaping ideas, join my Facebook Group, Thrifty Tablescapers! And, get your FREE Tablescaper’s Checklist so you never miss a detail when planning your tablescapes!

Posted in Tablescapes | 10 Comments

All new Holiday Gift Guide for hostesses and tablescapers – Gift Ideas Under $50

I know it’s only September and we are still in the midst of Faded Summer… but I think it’s safe to say that in-person holiday shopping is going to be an adventure this year. Because of that, I’m predicting a bottleneck in online shopping as well. So to help you get an early start on gift-giving, I’ve decided to offer my 2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Hostesses and Tablescapers a bit early!

(Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase at Amazon.com by following one of my links, it costs you nothing extra but I receive a small commission. Thank you for purchasing through my links!)

If you’ve got someone on your Christmas list who loves to entertain and set pretty tables, I’ve got nine wonderful gift ideas for hostesses and tablescapers all under $50! You might notice that these items would all make wonderful house-warming gifts too! Descriptions are linked directly to the corresponding pages on Amazon for your convenience. Pricing was current as of 9/15/20, and all products except where noted were eligible for Prime shipping as of that date.

1. French Country Cottage Inspired Gatherings by Courtney Allison – $31.50 hard cover. If you haven’t been following Courtney’s blog, French Country Cottage, you’ve been missing out! Her photography primarily of scenes and vignettes around her northern California home has resulted in two beautiful coffee table books: Inspired Gatherings shown here, and the original French Country Cottage. I’m a huge FCC/Courtney Allison fan, and I can promise you that Courtney’s books are stunning and inspiring!

2. Allgala Charger Plates – $32.95/pack of six. These are the “fairytale chargers” I raved about recently, baby blue with gold highlights on the sculpted edges. Made of sturdy acrylic, and about 13 inches wide, they’re the perfect underplate for an elegant table setting! There are other colors (and styles) too – just follow the link to see all the options.

3. Napoleon Bee flatware by Wallace – $22.84/five-piece place setting. Beautiful stainless steel 5-piece flatware set with a sweet bee on each handle. I own four sets of this pattern – they’re perfect for any garden-, botanical-, or nature-themed tablescape!

4. Buffalo Check cloth napkins – $29.99/set of 12. Red and black napkins in on-trend buffalo check are perfect for a woodland-themed holiday table setting, but there 20 other color combinations waiting for you! Generously-sized, 100% cotton napkins are 20 inches square!

5. Sled/Sleigh Chip and Dip – $42.76. Metal sled/sleigh two-tier server and white ceramic “chip and dip” dishes make the CUTEST buffet table centerpiece and serving accessory! Measures approximately 14 x 7 x 6 inches.

6. Coal Dust/Snow Flakes Salt & Pepper set – $17.24. Red and white ceramic salt & pepper set is cute and fanciful! Measures about 4 inches high. Not indicated for Prime shipping at this writing, 9/15/20.

7. Grandpa Gnomes Salt & Pepper set – $14.88. These guys are seriously adorable! Red and green capped gnomes hold the season’s seasonings with charm and humor! Gnomes measure about 3 inches high.

8. Pfaltzgraff Winterberry Square Serving Platter – $31.48. This holiday dinnerware pattern remains hugely popular after three decades. It used to fly out of my booth at the antique mall, and I always snapped it up whenever I saw it at a thrift store or auction. Beautiful white background with green and red leaf-and-berry border and solid green edging. Square serving platter measures about 12-1/2 inches wide.

9. Tea for One Teapot and Cup – $29.98. A cheerful snowman and other friendly winter characters adorn this “tea for one” teapot and cup set by Bits and Pieces. Measures about 4 inches in diameter and about 5-1/2 inches tall, and comes in a delightful gift box. There are also peacock and owl editions of this unique set available for $24.98 each!

I hope you’ll find this gift guide helpful in getting a jump-start on your holiday shopping. Happy Shopping!

Posted in Holidays | 4 Comments

A fairytale themed tablescape fit for a princess

Remember the beautiful baby blue chargers I splurged on recently from Amazon? I’ve been meaning to set a table with them since they arrived, and this past weekend after a long-awaited trip to Goodwill and a peek into the trunk of my car, I finally got to set my table. I’m so excited to share it with you!

(This post contains Affiliate links to Amazon.com. This means if you purchase the product by following my link, it costs you nothing extra but I get a small commission. Thank you for purchasing through my links!)

I felt like these chargers suggested a fairytale theme – like a luncheon that Cinderella herself might attend. I even have a vintage planter in the shape of a fanciful horse and carriage that I was dying to use as the centerpiece.

What I really needed was the perfect dinner plate. This is where my recent trip to Goodwill came in. Now yes, I have at least a hundred dinner plates in my house… I’m sure I could have found four that would have worked very well. Probably something in a Limoges, or possibly a Homer Laughlin. But when I saw “Chelsea” by Royal Prestige on the shelf at Goodwill for $1.49 each, I just knew I’d found the perfect dinner plate for my fairytale tablescape. I mean – look at her!

From here it was a short search through my Limoges to find four coordinating salad plates (oh those gold double edges get me every time!)

And the trunk of my car? Well I had searched my stash for the perfect “floppy flower” napkin rings (because every fairytale includes a castle with a beautiful garden, right?), but I hadn’t found anything in a set of four. Then I remembered the silk floral garland I had bought on another junk jaunt a few weeks ago. Where was it? In the car trunk of course – and voila! Four perfect pink silk roses to be made into napkin rings!

This table was coming together impossibly well. I chose Wallace “Napoleon Bee” flatware because certain princesses are very good about attracting wildlife.

Blue and green glassware with a wave motif on the stem in case a certain little mermaid might come to the table.

And at long last, the absolute perfect table for my “storybook chairs.” I had found and painted these unique vintage dining chairs a few years ago, and did some hand painting/finishing on the details across the backs. I’ve always loved how they turned out – like very old furniture in the illustrations of children’s books.

Well as it happens, they echo almost perfectly the styling of the chargers, so I brought them in off the enclosed porch to serve as “star seating” at the fairytale table.

Here are a few more views around the table.

An image for Pinterest in case you’d like to save my Fairytale tablescape for future ideas.

And of course the “put-away shot,” with all our elements rounded up and ready to go back to their respective places.

Looking for more tablescape inspiration on a budget? Check out my Facebook Group, Thrifty Tablescapers! Our creative members share tablescapes created with vintage, secondhand, hand-me-down, and otherwise budget-friendly tableware!

And, if you are just getting started with tablescaping, click here to get my free Tablescaper’s Checklist – designed to be a resource each time you set a pretty table, so you never miss a detail!

I’m sharing for Tablescape Thursday over at Susan’s blog, Between Naps on the Porch. Click through for more tablescape inspiration!

Posted in Tablescapes | 8 Comments

It’s Not Fall, It’s Faded Summer

Although it’s feeling decidedly autumnal here in Iowa this week, IT. IS. NOT. FALL. No, far from it – for we are right now smack dab in the middle of Faded Summer!

You see, August is a month that starts out slow, and with the realization that the end of a long, lazy summer is on the horizon. It ends in a rush of back-to-school – which has its own special craziness in this, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For those who enjoy seasonal home decor, this time of year is always a bit topsy-turvy: many folks are ready for Fall, and of course the stores (and our Instagram feeds) are filled with pumpkins and lattes and those sweaters with the too-long sleeves that stretch romantically over our hands wrapped around our favorite coffee cup.

I swear as soon as I grow my nails out a little better, I’m going to re-stage this familiar photo concept and take the picture with a can of Diet Coke. Photo via Pixabay.

But as much as I love Fall in all its colorful blaze, I am hanging on to Summer for a few more weeks. I’m celebrating my “unofficial Fifth Season,” Faded Summer!

Get your full, free Guide to Faded Summer here!

Generally, I consider Faded Summer to be the months of August and September. It’s that beautiful period between the heat of summer and the chill of Fall, when the garden flowers begin to turn their muted shades as they prepare to go to seed.

Zinnias – one of Summer’s happiest “faces” in the garden, and no less beautiful as their colors begin to fade. And – on the far right – who says Geranium leaves shouldn’t turn Fall Colors?

Yes, I know: September includes the first calendar day of Fall. But there is plenty of warm weather to come this month, so August and September it is – and depending on my mood, I might just extend it into mid-October!

Recognizing Faded Summer is pretty simple: just step outside! The glow of the summer sun, lower in the sky at this time of year, looks just a little bit different. Flowers are fading, days are noticeably shorter, and a denim jacket might be appropriate for flea market early birds!

Perfect for early-birding at the outdoor flea market – a faded denim jacket, or a blush pink corduroy shirt.

Faded Summer is the transition between “Summer Brights” and “Fall Bolds.” It’s the colors found in the garden when the blooms start to shift: the changing hues of dried hydrangeas, of zinnias going to seed, of roses as they hang to dry. Take time to study and appreciate fading blooms if you can – they really teach us that there is stunning beauty at every stage of life.

Drying faded flowers like this – just hanging in bunches upside down on a vintage window frame – makes for a stunning Faded Summer display!

I live in a temperate state, where we are blessed to experience all four traditional seasons. And while I know that Winter is necessary if we are to have Spring, as I get older I really dread and dislike Winter overall in spite of its beauty. For me it therefore seems that if I acknowledge Fall too early, I’m ushering in Winter that much sooner as well.

So, more than anything, Faded Summer is the season of my resistance! It begins in August and ends when I decide to make my annual visit to the pumpkin patch – because at that point, I’m ready for Fall too! It’s the season of colors less bright than Summer but no less beautiful in their faded glory. It allows me – it challenges me – to slow down that headlong rush into back-to-school, falling leaves, pumpkin spice, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas… to see and appreciate the fact that fading colors, fading blooms, and fading seasons all offer in turn their own special beauty that deserves not just our notice, but our careful study and keen appreciation.

Won’t you join me in celebrating this beautiful Fifth Season? It’s not Fall… it’s Faded Summer!

Download the free Guide to Faded Summer here!

In no particular order, some of my favorite Faded Summer colors. Not coincidentally, also pretty much the color palette of my home!

Here’s an image to pin if you’d like to save my invitation to Faded Summer on Pinterest!

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