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: I’ve given up on holiday perfection!


I’ve been that frazzled hostess, rushing around trying to make everything perfect – but no more! I’m constantly reinventing the holidays based on what’s important to me.


For example, 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 I like to think of centerpieces as 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 I’ve learned along the way:


1. Start with nature. 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 me often involves gathering flora and fauna during my dog walks in the woods.


2. Buck tradition. I take great pleasure in celebrating the bounty of fall, but I seldom adhere to the traditional orange/gold/rust palette for my Thanksgiving arrangements. Instead, I’ll cut blooms from the pale green hydrangeas my mother planted and build the palette from there: white mini-pumpkins, earthy wood trivets, silvery green lichen, too.


3. Shop your home for objects. I love 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.


4. Embrace contrasts. 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.


5. No yard to forage? No problem! You’ll fare just fine with items from the grocery store: an abundance of oranges in your prettiest vessels, seasonal flowers – if you love it, it will work!


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

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