7 Easy Thanksgiving Centerpieces That Replace Traditional Florals

Fall Bounty-Inspired Table
PHOTO: HELEN NORMAN

When it comes to Thanksgiving, we know there’s a never-ending checklist of things to do. Everything from preparing guest rooms to the turkey and even for visits from relatives need attention so that the last thing on your mind may be the centerpiece for your family’s dinner.

You may want to impress your guests with an elegant tablescape, but during Thanksgiving preparation, keeping floral arrangements alive is definitely on the bottom of your to-do list. While floral centerpieces are beautiful, sometimes a simple, sophisticated centerpiece is just the trick every busy entertainer needs.

Arrangements have a way of making a room feel festive and extra special. It is a holiday, after all. Our solution? A beautiful, bountiful, faux masterpiece this Thanksgiving. Our round-up of no-maintenance centerpieces does not require fresh water, sunlight, or careful tending. Put one on the table, and you’re prepared to host anywhere from seven days before the holiday and throughout the entire season. Plus, most of them only require a few materials and almost no time. Now that’s a reason to be thankful.

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An Organic and Sculptural Arrangement

Sculptural and Organic Flower Arrangement
LAUREY W. GLENN

We love that this arrangement only has three steps and six materials. You’ll need bush ivy, trailing ivy, berry branches, pittosporum (or another green-leafed plant), chicken wire, and a pedestal champagne bucket (if you so choose—another container would work just as well.)

To create this display, ball up the chicken wire and wedge it into the bottom of the bucket. A more eco-friendly choice than typical florist foam, it will help anchor the branches as you insert them. Second, Add bush ivy to the bucket, placing more on the left side for an interesting organic aesthetic. Third, cluster three stems of buckthorn berries on the right and two toward the back. Then add the variegated pittosporum, and place trailing ivy on one side for a modern, asymmetrical look.

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10-Minute Votives

Pumpkin Votive Float
LAUREY W. GLENN; STYLING: BUFFY HARGETT MILLER

Collect a bunch of mini pumpkins from your grocery store for a low-price, high-impact decorating choice. Arrange these pumpkins as your centerpiece or wherever your home needs a little glow.

First, fill a rustic container with two-thirds full of water to create this look. Use a craft knife to trace circles into the orange mini pumpkins. Make the circles a little larger than the bottom of a tea light. Cut and carve out the circle to allow a candle to fit inside comfortably. Insert tea lights—float pumpkin votives and whole pumpkins in water. Using the photo as a guide, add bright fall leaves and sprigs of herbs for color and texture.

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A 15-Minute Tablescape

Fall Pumpkin Tableau
LAUREY W. GLENN; STYLING: BUFFY HARGETT MILLER

This autumnal display is a choose-your-own-adventure decorating style for fall. Use what you have on hand to create a similar setup.

Pick a few branches of colorful fall leaves, and arrange them in a tall glass or vase filled with water. After adding fall foliage to determine the display’s focal point, build the rest of your tablescape by arranging an array of seasonal gourds in varying colors, sizes, and textures.

To add height to your display, stack gourds and top with a large glass container. Fill another smaller glass with bleached pinecones and invert it to form the top of larger pumpkins. These suggestions are starting points for this type of display, so any improvision you feel works in your home is appropriate.

You can add a potted plant (we used a small olive tree) to the arrangement for more texture. Place small gourds around the more oversized items, and scatter additional bright fall leaves along the table.

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A Super-Simple Centerpiece

Super Simple Pumpkin Centerpiece
HECTOR SANCHEZ

This centerpiece is insanely easy to throw together, but it’s also elegant and impossible to kill. We love the white pumpkin here, but a carnival or Cinderella variety could be just as gorgeous.

First, take a simple vase, urn, or container and fill it with florist foam or regular Styrofoam since this arrangement doesn’t require water. Cover the foam and gaps near the edge of the container with dried moss. Place your pumpkin on top, and wrap a small length of trailing ivy or another narrow vine around the bottom.

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Golden Gourds

Golden Gourds
HECTOR SANCHEZ

Go for the gold with this deceptively simple showstopper. Pro tip: use fake produce products, and you can use them next year too.

Spray paint gourds, pumpkins, pears, and any other produce your heart desires. Arrange with wheat sheaves wrapped in satin ribbon for an elegant, natural touch.

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A Crisp, Nature-Inspired Spread

Fall Bounty-Inspired Table
HELEN NORMAN

Put your backyard (and produce stand) to work with this easy, no-maintenance scheme. Red apples call on the season’s favorite crop, while vibrant foliage adds dimension and height.

Scatter pewter and silver serving pieces the length of the table, filling some with heaps of apples and others with foliage and hydrangeas if you choose (but those might require some tending to!). Intertwine sprigs of bittersweet (or other colorful twigs) to connect it all.

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A Woodsy Arrangement

P. Allen Smith Cottage Dining Room
HELEN NORMAN

It doesn’t get any easier (or more gorgeous) than this idea. Naturally shed antlers lend a new twist to table decor. Pile them with different-colored pumpkins, pinecones, and loose nuts (we love the seasonal pecans) to bring the outdoors in.