All is Bright
Holiday partying is about to pick up the pace. Time to get your centerpiece in sync. Luckily, David Bromstad, host of HGTV's Color Splash, knows how to give mundane designs some moves: He showed us how to set a still-life design into motion using reflective gems from the craft store and, of course, some votive candles. Think of it as a disco ball for your dining table.
April's Halloween Idea
Ask any fashionista and she'll tell you: You can transform the look of an outfit just by changing the accessories. The same goes for table decor, says April Milliken Trigg, owner of eco-friendly event company Eventologie (eventologie.com). With the right basics, you can reuse party supplies with no regrets. The trick: Mask any repeat offenders. April shows how to dress up old decorating standbys, like white pillar candles and clear glass vases, to take your table from Halloween into the new year.
Attach a bunch of fall leaves (either real or fake) to the exterior of the vases using double-stick tape. Look for leaves in different shapes and colors.
Buy paper doilies in varying sizes. Make a gentle fold down the center of each, then cut around the inner side of the lacy borders to remove the solid centers. Using double-stick tape, secure the remaining lace trim to the vases in patterns you like.
Raise Your Glasses
New Year's is all about fresh starts, so lose the fussy centerpiece. We tapped Karen Bussen, event designer and author of Simple Stunning Parties at Home, to come up with an easy yet elegant design for our end-of-year table. Karen's idea: Pour a handful of silver and gold beads or dragées (available at bake shops) into champagne flutes. Then place a gold noisemaker (upside down) and a white flower (stem trimmed) into each glass. At midnight, pull out the flowers and use the noisemakers to ring in the new year.
At First Light
After spending all day stuffing, mashing and roasting, the last thing you want to worry about on Thanksgiving is decorating. Thankfully, dressing a table can be easy with this super-simple, one-step design from Rosanna Bowles, founder and head designer of Rosanna Inc. Pile strings of white holiday lights into colored glass vessels and turn them upside down on the table. (No tinted vases? Place colored lights in clear containers instead.) After dinner, just uncoil the lights and hang them up as your first holiday decorations.
We loved this cheerful -- and wiggly! -- centerpiece idea from Rachael’s buddy Evette Rios so much that we updated the colors for an autumnal feast. Achieve this look by combining six boxes of Jell-O powder (we used peach) with half the amount of water specified. Chill it in a vase for a half hour, then push in dried apricots.
We were stopped cold when we saw this inventive centerpiece from Serge Péloquin, artistic director of the Hôtel de Glace (a resort made entirely of ice and snow) in Quebec, Canada. All it takes to create custom ice vases is a few milk or juice cartons and a little help from the freezer. Fill cardboard cartons with water. Dip a thin, circular object, like a wooden spoon handle, into the center (to create a hole) and tape it in place. Freeze overnight. Remove, then peel away the carton. Place flowers into the hole of each ice block and set on rimmed plates to catch any melting water.
We know someone sent you a holly plant this year -- put it to new and creative use with this twist on our original centerpiece from Annie Selke, owner of the home furnishings company Pine Cone Hill. Just snip a few branches and place them under overturned stemware. Top with festive red votives for a seasonal showstopper.
Winter wonderland, you say? We never need an excuse to eat candy, which is probably why we loved those potted lollipops from Dylan Lauren (of Dylan’s Candy Bar). For a wintry version, just fill a small pot or planter with white gumdrops (or yogurt-covered candies) and “plant” some rock candy sticks.
Poinsettias are holiday staples, but a bit Captain Obvious. For a fresher take, trim those leafy stems and cast away that flimsy foil container, says floral designer and author Jane Packer. Jane's Idea: Stack two or three cake stands, cover the tiers with red votives and snipped poinsettia leaves, and top with a red pillar candle. We love the goth look of black stands, but you can lighten it up by using white or cream-colored ones.
If you have yet to make a dent in that economy-size cinnamon container you bought last year, think outside the (plastic) box, says pop packaging designer Karim Rashid. Put old spices and salts to use as the eye candy at your next dinner party. Karim’s idea: Make sand-art-style decorations using spices that are past their prime (most start losing flavor after a year on your shelf). Spoon or funnel spices and salts one at a time, alternating colors and textures, into glasses. Vary the height of the layers depending on the amount of each spice you have.
You have to love a man who can make a toilet brush look chic. Architect Michael Graves -- designer of the iconic Alessi "Whistling Bird" teakettle and some equally stylish kitchen and bathroom wares for Target -- answered our call for a simple holiday centerpiece with this bright idea. Graves uses nothing more than a few martini glasses, silver taper candles, Hershey's Kisses and some greens plucked from the tree. You don't need a fancy fabric runner. Just use wrapping paper.
For the Birds
To beat the midwinter blahs, we asked designer Angela Adams (angelaadams.com) to whip up a centerpiece that brings the outdoors in. Famous for her nature-inspired rugs, handbags and bedding, the Maine native created this tablescape with twigs, spray paint and plastic birds. Re-create the look with a quick trip to the craft store and a walk in the woods.
Michael Moloney decorates an entire home in one week on ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, so we figured the seasoned designer would be able to dress up a holiday dinner table in about three seconds. We were right. His idea: Drop some lemons and limes into clear glasses and vases -- whatever you have around the house -- and top with water.
All Bottled Up
Dina Cheney is an expert on showing you how to throw cheese tastings, honey tastings and other food-sampling parties. When we asked her to design a centerpiece, for the holidays, she came up with another tasty idea that incorporates your appetizers: Fill glass bottles with assorted extra-virgin olive oils and add supermarket ingredients like rosemary sprigs, fresh chiles and citrus peel. You can give away the decorative oils as parting gifts.
As long as you're stocking up on food for the holidays, pick up an extra bag of lentils for this easy centerpiece. Designer Mark Brunetz -- who helps bring order to homes on The Style Network show Clean House -- grabs some juice glasses and orange votive candles and ties it all together with raffia from the craft store.