Fall and Thanksgiving centerpiece ideas

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Post updated for 2022!

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!

Floral Rambler Centerpiece

My “Autumn Abundance” centerpiece for 2022 includes a gorgeous silverplate water pitcher (balanced by a silver-banded lidded compote on the left), plus gorgeous faux florals and handmade velvet pumpkins.

Swag Rambler

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. 🙂

Here’s the same basket with different flowers. And can we just take a moment to appreciate that sweet little white pumpkin? The stem, people, it’s MAGICAL!

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!
An interesting or storied ceramic piece makes a wonderful focal point for a centerpiece! This friendly squirrel was hand-painted by a now-elderly neighbor many decades ago, and gifted to me in 2021.

Here he is again in 2022.

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! Above, 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 a Pinterest image for the original post in case you’d like to save these centerpiece ideas!

And here’s a Pinterest image for the updated post. Either image will work on your tablescaping Pin boards!

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!

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6 Responses to Fall and Thanksgiving centerpiece ideas

  1. Sandy says:

    Love it! These centerpieces are way more elevated from what I was thinking of when I think, a floral centerpiece. Just WOW!

    • Janet says:

      I’m so glad you like them! It’s definitely fun to play around with various elements… if I had to reduce it to a formula I’d say “Vase/interesting container + flowers + candles + conversation starter” 🙂

  2. Rose Thomas says:

    Such great ideas for the upcoming Holidays! Adding a centerpiece is always such a nice touch! These examples are beautiful!

  3. Erin says:

    What a fun variety of fall table decor. I also love to mix thrift store, dollar store, and dishes in my decorating. I love it!

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