Home Decorating Holiday How-To: Annie Selke’s Guide to Foraged Centerpieces

Holiday How-To: Annie Selke’s Guide to Foraged Centerpieces

Elements from the outdoors ground a space and add a welcome note of imperfection. Spoiler alert: Annie’s given up on holiday perfection!

“I’ve been that frazzled hostess, rushing around trying to make everything perfect – but no more!” says Annie. She’s constantly reinventing the holidays based on what’s important to her.

For example, she explains, “I love to set a beautiful table, so I allow myself the time to do that.” Yes, you can throw some votives on the table as the doorbell rings and call it a day. But centerpieces are artistic endeavors, composed like a still life, and you can’t rush a masterpiece! Or rather, you can, it’s just not nearly as much fun. Here’s what else she’s learned along the way:

As the word foraged implies, nature provides endless inspiration and supplies us with the most intriguing building materials you could ever ask for. Birch bark, river rocks, coral, shells, pinecones ­– really anything that strikes your fancy ­– all bring a special presence to a centerpiece. Step one for Annie often involves gathering flora and fauna while walking her dogs in the woods.

Annie takes great pleasure in celebrating the bounty of fall, but she seldom adheres to the traditional orange/gold/rust palette for her Thanksgiving arrangements. Instead, she’ll cut blooms from the pale green hydrangeas her mother planted and build the palette from there: white mini-pumpkins, earthy wood trivets, silvery green lichen, too.

Annie loves crystals and thought, why not add them to the mix? Scan your bookshelves and rooms for items of interest: sculptural shapes, interesting textures, and baubles of shiny pewter, silver, or brass.

Pairing something rustic (like driftwood or acorns) with something refined (like mother of pearl) is unexpectedly beautiful. Play with rough, smooth, matte, and glossy elements until you find a happy balance.

You’ll fare just fine with items from the grocery store: an abundance of fruit in your prettiest vessels, seasonal flowers – if you love it, it will work!

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Looking for even more centerpiece inspiration? Read our Tips for Setting A Perfect Holiday Table.

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