We spoke to two experts for their tips, must-haves, and freshest design ideas.
Festive serveware and holiday-themed dinnerware are always charming to have; but, if you don’t have the budget or storage space for seasonal tabletop décor that you might only use a few times a year, the quickest and easiest way to make your next holiday gathering look more merry is with a beautiful, wintry centrepiece.
We spoke to two experts for their tips, must-haves, and freshest design ideas for creating the perfect holiday centrepiece this season. A vibrant, joyful arrangement can easily be crafted at home with easy-to-find materials — it’s just a matter of knowing your flowers and foliage, and following a few simple rules of thumb.
Find your flowers
Michael Smaye, co-founder of Tonic Blooms, recommends amaryllis, anemones, cymbidium orchids and ornamental cabbage this holiday season. “Arranging them together can make for a very festive centrepiece, though adding a few cotton stems or pine cones would really tie the winter theme together,” says Smaye. He also recommends mixing exotic blooms such as anthuriums, proteas and ginger flowers with bright tropical greens for a less expected, cheerful arrangement during the winter months.
Be aware of scents
When purchasing florals for your centrepiece, Smaye cautions against using any flowers that are too fragrant, for the sake of your guests. “While most flowers have a subtle pleasant smell, there are a few types that are much stronger and sometimes off-putting; for example, marigolds and alliums are quite unpleasant,” says Smaye. “Roses are always a safe bet and most greenery — especially eucalyptus — smell quite nice!”
Find the perfect container
According to Smaye, metallic vases are a perennial favourite during the holidays, and matte black vases are a very trendy container option right now — flowers of all colours pop against the dark background. Arrangements of white flowers and greenery, in particular, will look elegant and festive in a gold, rose gold or silver vase.
When picking out a container, and putting together your arrangement, says Smaye, you’ll have to consider your guests’ line of sight as well as the table setting, too. Large, showstopping centrepieces are beautiful but not very practical for serving or conversation, unfortunately. “Rather than filling a table with large arrangements, consider lining it with clear bud vases with a few stems in each,” advises Smaye. “This adds dimension to the table without taking up too much space — it’s also quite economical.”
Tamara Robbins Griffith, HomeSense Design Expert, also advises against tall, over-the-top arrangements, “People want intimacy at this time of year, so nothing should be used that blocks sight lines.”
Consider a garland
Another popular alternative to the traditional circular or rectangular centrepiece? Elevate your tabletop with a long but narrow garland arrangement. “I love a lush garland down the centre of the table,” says Robbins Griffith. “You can use something faux — the quality has really improved over the years — or you can use fresh greens and then personalize it to suit your décor with ornaments or other embellishments like sparkling twigs.”
Add mood lighting
Improve the ambience of your centrepiece with the addition of soft, moody lighting. “Candles and light always make tablescapes more romantic, and they can be real candles, twinkle lights or beautiful décor pieces such as a light-up snow globe,” says Robbins Griffith.
Finish with accessories
Increase the festive quotient of any centrepiece, especially if you’ve avoided traditional blooms such as amaryllis and poinsettia, by placing seasonal accessories into or around the arrangement. “Ornaments are such a beautiful and easy way to decorate, and a table runner is a great way to draw the eye to your display,” says Robbins Griffith, who recommends that you place decorative objects in groupings of uneven numbers.
Display your arrangement all winter long
Depending on the materials that you use, your centrepiece might actually last for weeks, and be appropriate through the winter months, perhaps with a few blooms replaced intermittently. “I love holiday décor that is more seasonal versus Christmas specific,” says Robbins Griffith. “Winter greens, branches, woodland scenes and snowflakes are all icons and decorations that can live on into January.”