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Decorative arrangements can be the finishing touch to a dining table or home but they don't always have to be flowers nor do they have to be in cut glass vases; with a little imagination the options are endless. It is important to make sure that you keep your display in proportion to its surrounding area e.g. don't use an eggcup in the middle of a dining table or a large watering can on a small end table.

Here are a few suggestions using everyday items and which are simple to make.

Containers for flower arrangements:

Flowers are fairly reasonably priced and are widely available;  you may be lucky enough to have some in the garden, alternatively you can always use artificial ones.

Watering cans, large water jugs, cups, small tin buckets, teapots - in fact anything container that can hold water can be used to make original displays. 

One of the simplest and cheapest displays to make is to put some water into an attractive, shallow dish and then scatter flower petals on the top (rose petals are ideal for this).  Flower heads such as gerberas and germinis can also be used instead of the petal.

Add ribbon or beads to plainer pots or vases to create additional colour and interest.

flowers in watering can

Clear glass jars, tumblers and vases:

leaves in glass tumbler

As mentioned earlier, you don't have to use flowers in fact, more interesting displays can be made using more unusual objects.  The choice is endless and only limited by your imagination.

Gravel, marbles, shells, stones, sand, buttons in a clear glass jar, tumbler or container creates an unusual centrepiece.

Place a selection of the above into a clear glass vase and then add a couple of flowers, feathers, grasses, or twigs to make an eye catching yet simple display.

You can also arrange several containers together;  it looks best if they are of differing heights.

flowers in glass container on three legs

Twigs and branches

twigs in two tall vases

Tall containers, such as an attractive empty wine bottle or spaghetti jar, work well with twigs and grasses.

If you are lucky enough to be able to find or buy an interesting piece of driftwood this can be used to make an interesting and highly original natural centrepiece. 

Twigs sprayed in silver and gold are ideal for decorating festive tables. Baubles, glitter, sweets and small gifts can also be added.


Candles are always a popular choice;  there is a wide range available in a choice of different colours and sizes so it is easy to find something that matches your particular colour scheme and/or theme.

Purpose made candle sticks and candelabras are available ranging from the elegant and stylish to those housing tea lights. It is wise to take into consideration the amount of space available when making your choice.

Candles can also be included in floral arrangements, they can just be inserted into florists foam and the flowers and foliage arranged around them.  If you intend to light the candles ensure there are no flammable materials within the arrangement.

Pour a little water into a shallow dish, bowl or even a small fishbowl then add some floating candles.  These are available in many different shapes and colours. For additional interest include a base of stones, shells, gravel and/or sand.

candle with Christmas baubles and leaves

Fruit and vegetables

cornucopia of fruit

As fruit and vegetables come in a wide range of shapes, colours and sizes they make the most natural and beautiful centrepiece for any table.

As well as oranges, lemons and limes think about slightly more unusual varieties such as avocados, artichokes, and lemons as their strong colours and shapes will add interest and colour to any dining table.

Group together several clear glass containers, add water and then float some fresh apples to make an interesting decoration.

Plates, Trays and Platters

As can be seen from the above, there is no limit as to what can be used to make unique and interesting table centrepieces.

Items such as candles or fruit placed on an stylish china plate, basket, ceramic or mirrored tile, silver tray or board can create a quick and easy decoration.

Another variation is to collate a number of items of the same colour but with different textures.  Mixing items of differing shapes, textures and materials creates an interesting feature.

silver tray holding fruit




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