Whether you're hosting a full-force dinner party or a cozy brunch for four, your tabletop can shine with these ideas for harvest decor.
Gild the lily or anything else you grab from your garden to give a glamorous, unexpected twist to the season's usual harvest bounty. We spray-painted hosta leaves copper to tuck beneath moss nests of white pumpkins, into the centerpiece and beneath a pedestal of chocolate-dipped apples.
A found object makes an unusual vase for flowers. A round tin, encircled with pretty fretwork, was an old heat grate. We added a plastic saucer inside to hold a piece of floral foam, soaked with water, and arranged sunflowers from the garden; the center is a sunflower center freed of petals past their prime.
Another idea: Place a piece of round cardboard underneath and fill the center with acorns or dried moss for a minimalist look.
Fill tin Jell-O molds with reindeer moss and dried seed heads picked from the garden to weave down the middle of your table.
Another idea: Elongate your display by alternating each flower-filled tin with a glass votive candleholder. Change out the seed pods for other accents, such as bittersweet at Thanksgiving or red pepperberries in December.
METAL WITH METTLE
Ubiquitous hosta leaves do double duty as a place mat. After they're spray-painted and dry to the touch, press them flat between sheets of paper parchment and weight with books. Don't press for longer than 10 days or you'll run the risk of them discoloring and becoming tissue-thin. Once flat, they're easy to fan out beneath a plate for a surprising shimmer.
Another idea: Spray-paint dried hydrangeas or branches with autumn leaves. Then place them in a tall glass cylinder as a focal point for your table or mantel.
PIECES OF SILVER
Mismatched forks, knives and spoons (picked up for pennies at occasional sales and thrift stores) work as a place card when set atop a place setting. Tie on a tag with ribbon for easy change-out.
Another idea: Use the extra mix-and-match cutlery to set the table when your guest list swells for the holidays.
Scavenge a piece of fallen tree bark to fashion a "vase" for fall flowers. A plastic bag laid flat inside makes a moisture barrier for wet floral foam, into which we tucked red-tinged Nandina branches, red Hypericum berries and green Brazilia. Another idea: Set the bark upright and insert a glass vase to hold an arrangement of flowers or branches.