Accessorizing with a few fancy baubles before guests arrive is standard procedure. But how about grabbing some extra pieces for the tabletop, too? Jeanne Benedict, host of DIY Network's Weekend Entertaining, shows us how to glam up vases with items from a jewelry box.
What hostess doesn't love the moment when everyone gets cushy on the couch? Be ready with a coffee table topped with more than just a pile of remotes. The artsy team behind iCarve designs show us how to turn the table trendy using a few packs of balloons. Buy a sheet of wire mesh from the hardware store and cut it into pieces. Tie long balloons (forming knots at either end) through the wire weave to create a textured design. Then secure them around glass vases with extra pieces of wire or twist-ties.
How to Make an Armani Leaf Bowl Centerpiece
Designer Giorgio Armani made this centerpiece special just for us. Watch this how-to video to see it made.
Paper may be flat, but star stylist and interior designer Robert Verdi showed us it?s not one-dimensional. He used basic printer paper to create these rumpled-chic topiaries. Cut and paste your own the day before a party, so they have plenty of time to dry. Shred a hefty amount of paper in colors you like, or pick up some pre-shredded paper from a craft store. Drizzle glue on one side of a Styrofoam ball and roll it in a pile of the cuttings, pressing lightly to adhere. Fill in any bare spots and repeat on the other sides. Cover as many foam balls as you like, then let dry. Pile them on top of one another with dowels (or chopsticks!) and place in flowerpots or cluster in the center of the table.
Fun Ideas to Personalize a Party
Wow guests with these tiny touches to help make any get-together more personal. Watch our how-to for inspiration.
In Living Color
It seems like half the job of hosting a dinner is deciding what goes well together. (Can I serve cheese with fish? Play Beyonc? and U2? Seat Rob next to Naomi?) After finally working out the perfect party pairings, the last thing we want to think about is combining the right elements for the tabletop. So we tapped design guru Christiane Lemieux, founder and creative director of the hip home-furnishings company DwellStudio (dwellstudio.com), to take the second-guessing out of decorating. Christiane's idea: Let color be your guide. Gather objects around the house (books, vases, candlesticks) that roughly match in tone and cluster them on the table. Update the look any time just by changing your color palette.
The best part of starting a school year is shopping for fresh supplies. But don't let the kids toss last year's pencils. Heather Brosman, an art teacher in Rochester, New York, and winner of our back-to-school-inspired centerpiece contest, showed us how to turn them into a homework table topper that'll make hitting the books less of a drag. Heather's idea: Stick the blunt ends of short colored pencils into mini Styrofoam balls. Prick a full-length No. 2 pencil into each base, then bury the "stems" in a garden trough filled with pistachios, almonds or another healthy after-school snack. (If the posts are too wobbly, add a wedge of floral foam for stability.)
Fall Centerpiece Ideas
The beginning of a new school year screams one thing: Fall! For three quick and easy fall centerpiece ideas, watch this video.
Take the Plunge
Tired of blooms that wither and droop in the summer heat? Try this easy but elegant design by professional home stager and HGTV guest contributor Kate Hart (hartstaging.com), who uses it to give flowers staying power during all-day open houses. Use it to dress up your next outdoor cookout. Kate's idea: Place your favorite flowers?either as single stems or bunches?into vases that are tall enough to just cover them. Then fill the containers with room-temperature water until the flowers are submerged. Replace the water every other day and the buds will stay perky for up to a week. (Tip: If your flowers float, tie the stems together with light-colored string and press a rock into the center to weigh the bouquet down.)
How to Add Mood Lighting to a Party
Every party needs a little mood lighting. Watch our video to find out the perfect lighting levels for yours.
Designer Vera Wang is well-versed in unfussy elegance -- just ask any bride she's dressed! She brings that same understated beauty to her Simply Vera Vera Wang line for Kohl's. So when we asked her to create a spring table for us, she dreamed up something fresh, clean and chic. Her idea: Pluck large leaves from your backyard and place them in bowls and pitchers. Add a few sprigs of sage and rosemary, and you'll have a centerpiece that's easy to love all season long.
Simple Centerpieces from Nature
Bring a touch of bling to nature for your new centerpiece. Watch this video to see how it's done.
Jonathan Adler -- interior designer and consummate tastemaker -- has three words for anyone who's facing a bare dining-room table: Arrange with attitude! His idea for this centerpiece involves nothing more than bowls and vases (use what you have), a piece of foliage, green apples and walnuts. Organize as you wish -- try symmetry (two vases, one bowl), or a random cluster. His arrangement comes with an added bonus: Your guests can snack on it after dinner.
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 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.
Sock it To Me
It's a shame that cute socks are always hidden inside a pair of shoes. Thanks to fashion and home designer Orla Kiely, our favorite toe-toppers (even those pesky orphans we pull from the dryer!) finally take center stage. Orla's idea: Mix and match socks of different colors and patterns, and slip them over jars, glasses or small plant pots. Snip off the sock bottoms so the pots stand flat on the table, and fill with flowers or herbs. Try this trick with infant socks and juice tumblers to create a mini, coffee-table version.
How to Make a Sock Vase Centerpiece
Watch and learn! Tip: Have the kids pick their favorite "orphaned" socks and help them plant their favorite flowers in the pots.
Some things are better the second time around: Take those paper lanterns that probably got plenty of play at your summer backyard parties. To turn them into a romantic table-topper, we took a cue from Jennifer Bertrand, winner of HGTV's Design Star Season 3, who's known for her whimsical style. Jennifer's idea: Arrange a few mismatched lanterns in the center of a table and place votive and pillar candles around them. Then sprinkle the surrounding table space with rose petals.
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, she came up with another tasty idea: 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.
Daring designer Genevieve Gorder works decorating miracles on The Learning Channel's Trading Spaces, and she did the same with this month's centerpiece: Her arrangement comes together for about $6! The ingredients: a cheap bunch of supermarket flowers, a bag of colorful dried beans and some tall glasses from your cabinet. Fill each glass with a 2- to 3-inch layer of beans and add a few tablespoons of water. Trim one flower stem to fit inside each glass, then arrange the "vases" down the center of the table.
How to Make a Martini Glass Centerpiece
How cute is this? Fill the martini glass with things that fit your party theme, like candies, rocks or whatever you have in your pantry!
All Choked Up
For us, food is the best part of any party! That's why we love this centerpiece by Jackie Shapiro, designer of the French Bull line of colorful melamine plates. Jackie's idea: Elevate the artichoke! Start by clipping the stems off several of them. Then fill vases with water and add a few drops of food coloring to each. For the finishing touch, plunk the artichokes on top. Change the look seasonally by topping the vases with other colorful produce, like pomegranates, grapefruits or mini gourds.
Mama knows all -- like when you've scrambled for a gift at the last minute. So skip the store-bought bric-a-brac and charm her with this mighty high design from Babies"R"Us products designer Amy Coe. Amy's idea: Elevate the ordinary! Pile thick spools of brightly colored ribbon in the center of the table, and top the stacks with small salad plates. Then just lay out some of Mom's favorite sweet goodies to snack on after (or during!) brunch.
As long as you're stocking up on staples, 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.
Unless you're a dog owner, you'll never find a use for all those plastic grocery bags. Problem solved with this idea from eco-friendly design guru Danny Seo: Just cut the bags into squares, layer and cinch together, then tie to skewers. You can take the recycling one step further and put the bouquet in a coffee-can vase.
How to Make and Inverted Wine Glass Centerpiece
For a quick and chic way to dress up your table, try this colorful centerpiece. Pick your favorite blooms or colors.
Dr. Quinn has a new career -- in home decorating. Actress Jane Seymour, a mother of five is also a painter, which inspired this bright idea: Cover the table with butcher paper, bistro-style, and put out art supplies. It's sure to get the conversation going.
Greens to Envy
No need to rummage around the house for table decorations -- you can make a striking centerpiece just by reaching into your veggie crisper! Inspired by the produce stands at their local farmers' market, lifestyle experts Michele Adams and Gia Russo, known as the MiGi Girls, casually tuck kale, rosemary and oregano between heads of leafy cabbage, lettuce and radicchio. Try your own combinations to match your mood or menu. And when your guests are done feasting their eyes, disassemble it into a big tossed salad for next night's dinner.
On the Fly
Even if you weren't that kid who sailed paper airplanes at the teacher, you'll love this idea from Mrs. DeVore's art class at Stonington High School in Connecticut. The students answered our call for a back-to-school-inspired centerpiece with this concept: Attach floral wire to paper planes and arrange in a vase. It's easy -- if you know how to fold 'em!
Fresh flowers get plenty of centerpiece play, but who has the time -- or funds -- to make a bouquet every time a friend drops by? Try this low-maintenance fill-in by fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi. Print out pictures of flowers and butterflies, then clip them into a store-bought photo hanger and place in a flowerpot. Use bright buds to punch up a lunch, and black and white roses for nighttime cocktails. You can even quickly spray-paint a basic terra-cotta pot for a new look. When guests are gone, move the "arrangement" to a windowsill or coffee table.
How to Make a Lentil Centerpiece
Try this simple, earthy centerpiece for any occasion. Watch our how-to and make this elegant decoration in minutes!
South Carolina boys and authors Matt and Ted Lee have made a career of getting back to good old American basics. To wit, they created this centerpiece from the canned-foods aisle. To re-create the look, choose retro-looking cans from your own market, empty them -- to make a pie, perhaps -- and fill them with small bunches of flowers.
Derek McLane might be the set designer for the musical Grease on Broadway, but his stellar centerpiece is simply out of this world. Inspired by the hues of the iconic Pink Ladies and T-Bird jackets, McLane turned a funnel on its end and attached painted foam balls to it with skewers. We love it for a kids' party -- or any bash that needs an eye-popping splash of color.
Take your candy bowl to new heights! Dylan Lauren, owner of confection megastore Dylan's Candy Bar, decorates her table with this sweet centerpiece. Fill plant pots with Conversation Hearts, jelly beans, rock candy and Red Hots and nest lollipops in the mix. Bonus: it doubles as dessert!
Fashion designer Liz Lange has a knack for pleasing moms. When we asked her for a centerpiece, she came up with this smart idea: arrange flowers in a teapot, and give them extra height by standing the pot on a cup.
When we asked fashion designer and former Project Runway finalist Daniel Vosovic to dress up our dinner table, we knew he'd come up with something cleverly stylish. His idea: Drape stemmed glasses with necklaces, bracelets and earrings -- whatever you have in your jewelry box -- for a perfectly accessorized meal.
We've seen it jiggle for decades -- finally, Jell-O gets to play a bigger role at the dinner table. Evette Rios, one of Rach's go-to design gurus, elevates the translucent dessert to art with this nifty trick: Combine six boxes of Jell-O powder with half the amount of water specified, chill the mix in a glass vase for half an hour, then just push flowers into the semi-firm gelatin. Design your own -- in any color!
Centerpieces for Birthday Parties
Looking for the perfect tabletopper for your birthday bash? We've got the inspiration you're looking for! Check out our favorite birthday party centerpieces.