Five quick and thrifty centerpiece ideas

Spruce up old wine bottle with spray paint and some feathers to add height and glamor to your table decor.
Spruce up old wine bottle with spray paint and some feathers to add height and glamor to your table decor.

When life hands her lemons, the thrifty DIYer makes lemonade. She then goes on to use some of the rind to freshen the garbage disposal; zests another portion for cooking; allocates some of the reserved juice to make a batch of lemon bar cookies, create some glass cleaner and adds to olive oil for furniture polish; and then she consumes an ice-cold glass of said lemonade … after planting the seeds in the yard.

The truth is, being a thrifty DIYer isn’t just something that happens overnight. It can start with a simple project, like making lemonade. But in time and with practice, the ability to make something out of an apparent nothing is a skill that can be extended beyond what you thought possible.

Take, for example, setting a table. The average table setter might slap some plates on a table and call it a day. The above-average setter might consider buying some flowers for the centerpiece. But the thrifty DIYer … she has vision. When she looks at the table, she imagines it set, then quickly catalogs all the various and sundry items she has on hand from earlier thrifting jaunts to create a simple, yet elegant centerpiece.

Need a little help in the “vision” department? Here are five quick and thrifty centerpiece ideas that are not only simple to execute, but will enhance your table-scape for pennies on the dollar.

1. Mason jars: Who doesn’t love the classic versatility of the mason jar? Nobody, that’s who. Take a few half-pint-sized jars, pop a votive candle in each for a rustic evening display. Or, raid your yard of its last remaining flowers and fill the jars like tiny vases.

2. Floating fruit: Did you know Granny Smith apples — as with most all apples — float in water? Use that science to your decorating advantage. Fill a short, round vase with about 3 inches of water, and float a few of those bright green beauties atop the water.

3. Framed photos: Photos are perfect centerpieces for birthdays, weddings and anniversary parties. Wood frames collected over time can be spray-painted to match your party’s theme, and filled with wonderful images of the celebrant(s) from days gone by.

4. Ostrich feathers: Need a little height on your table? Try recycling wine bottles. Clean the bottle, removing all labels, then spray-paint the bottle your desired color. Stick a few ostrich feathers out of the neck of the bottle, embellish the bottle as desired and place the bottle on a pillar candle holder for added height.

5. Painted branches: Continuing with the height theme, consider using some small tree branches (about 2 feet in length) on your table. Sticking with the wine bottle vase, branches can also be spray-painted to match the bottle. Ornaments or crystals can be hung from the branches for added effect.