We've done the hard work for you by tracking down these 11 deceptively simple ideas.
Yeah, we know. When you have a daunting checklist of cooking and cleaning, decorating for the holiday can fall by the wayside. But it really doesn't take too much effort to add an extra bit of lovely to your table. The hardest part, we think, is coming up with the ideas. That's why we've searched for 11 great low-fuss projects that'll make your holiday shine. And, even better: Many of them can be repurposed for the other big holidays just around the corner. So get ready, get set, get decorating.
Our first idea is an adorable leaf runner made of scrap felt. Simply sketch a few leaf shapes on paper, then outsource the rest to a bored teen, kid or relative. They'll use the shapes as a template to cut from felt. Then, arrange the finished leaves runner-style on your table.
They're nice as a runner, but felt leaves also make great placemats. Use a photocopier to scale your template up, then cut out and place under each plate. For an eclectic look, alternate colors at each place setting.
Have a bunch of potted plants or, better yet, wheat grass? Then you have a centerpiece that takes only seconds to create. If necessary, hide plastic pots by placing plants in buckets, bowls or other nice-looking containers. We also like wrapping the pots with fabric secured with ribbon or twine.
Add a Swag
Instead of winding the usual swag (be it leafy, like this one, or a traditional evergreen) around the banister, drape it across a mantel or buffet table. The reasoning: People spend more time in a living or dining room than your entryway.
What About Orange(s)?
Citrus is a holiday standby, providing a pop of color and a hint of fresh scent. So you don't have to do much to make it look nice: Just mound in a bowl with things like cinnamon sticks, mini pumpkins and even other fruits. It'll take 30 seconds, tops.
Autumn Under Glass
Just about anything looks like an intentional centerpiece when placed under glass. Here, a cakestand cover (glass cheese covers and wine glasses can also be used) acts as a cloche. To do: Hold the cover open side up, fill with real or faux branches, berries and leaves, then top with a plate. Grasping the plate to the cover, invert onto your table. Carefully slide away the plate for a pretty focal point.
It'll take a few minutes to hollow out a pumpkin to use as a vase, but think of it this way: You can always toast the seeds to use as an appetizer. After the pumpkin has been emptied, slice off a thin section from the bottom (to stabilize the gourd), fill with water and add flowers.
We highly recommend adding a variety of candles to your entertaining arsenal (if you haven't done so already), because it doesn't take much to make them look good. Here, tealights sit on a bed of jewel-like cranberries, but anything from chestnuts to dried beans will look just as nice.
A Playful Centerpiece
Toy soldiers can work as a less-serious centerpiece option, if your family is a little less stuffy about tradition. Otherwise, this is your new kids' table centerpiece (sans candles, of course).
Start a New Tradition
Yeah, yeah, it can be tough to get families to talk about warm-and-fuzzy things like feelings. (Yet political arguments can spring up so easily.) But we think it's worth a shot to start a new tradition with these free printable cards that ask "What are you thankful for?" Maybe taking the public speaking out of it will inspire thoughtful responses.
Fresh-Picked Place Settings
For a thoughtful touch, put a single bloom at each plate. It's also economical, giving you up to 12 individual "centerpieces" from one bouquet. Plus, it frees up space in the center of the table for more food. If you don't have teeny bud vases, swap in a juice glass.