A good centerpiece shouldn’t just be pretty. It should also be convenient to throw together. Why? It’s easy to get ambitious with dinner party décor, but when you’re juggling cooking, cleaning, and the chores that accompany everyday life, things never go quite as smoothly as you expect them to. No one has time to assemble an involved centerpiece when something’s burning in the oven. And since there are loads of simple table decorations that look genuinely lovely, why subject yourself to all that fuss?
The truth is, your centerpiece doesn’t have to be complex to be pretty. There are tons of simple table decorations that look just as striking as the elaborate stuff, and since they demand a fraction of the time and effort, they’re worth having in your repertoire.
Ahead, we’ve rounded up 51 simple table decoration ideas that will transform your table in just a few steps. So the next time you’re running behind on your dinner party to-do list, rest assured knowing at least one step can be crossed off with ease.
Mix and Match Monochromatic Pieces
Not sure where to start with your table décor? Consider committing to a single décor color. This may sound like a limitation, but it’s actually pretty freeing. If everything’s the same color, you can mix and match all kinds of different décor and still end up with something cohesive.
Put Your Favorite Plants in Cloches
Adorning your table with plants is a classic choice, but if you want to make your centerpiece feel a little more special, consider putting your plants inside cloches. Cloches are glass coverings that look like upside-down vases, and since they were originally designed to protect plants from the cold, they won’t look out of place next to your favorite bits of greenery.
Turn Your Table Runner Sideways
Table runners make a classic addition to any dining room table, but if you want to switch things up a bit, consider turning your table runner sideways. Let it run across the width of your table, rather than the length, and bring your space together with a centerpiece of your choosing.
Cluster a Bunch of Matching Candlesticks
If you want your candlesticks to stand out, pair them with matching taper candles, and then cluster them at the center of your table. By grouping them, you’ll create a pop of color that’s sure to draw the eye.
If you want to make things even more interesting, you can fill some of the candlesticks with candles and leave a few totally empty.
Cover a Tray With Pillar Candles
Nothing sets the mood of a meal quite like candles, and if you’re looking for an unusual way to showcase your favorite candles, consider clustering several of them on a decorative tray. This approach should work with just about any kind of candle, but it’ll look particularly striking if you stock up on pillar candles of varying heights.
Fill a Bowl With Topiary Balls
Looking for a not-so-obvious way to add greenery to your space? Fill a planter with topiary balls. Topiary balls are small balls crafted from faux greenery. (So, as you can imagine, they look like tiny, round bushes.) Thanks to their geometric silhouettes, topiary balls straddle the line between fake plant and objet d’art—and they make for a seriously striking centerpiece.
Leave a Snack on the Table
One very low-maintenance way to decorate your table? Leave a snack out. Set the scene with a decorative tray, then put out a few items you’d have left on your counter anyway. The display should make your kitchen feel homier and more lived-in, and it’s sure to delight anyone who sees it.
Fill Five Matching Vases With Wildflowers
When decorating a table, one no-fail option is to fill a vase with flowers. But if you want to make things a little more interesting, you can fill five vases with flowers, instead. Keep things simple by snagging five matching vases and filling them with matching flowers.
Mix and Match a Few Empty Candlesticks
Dining rooms and candlesticks pair beautifully together. And that holds true, even if those candlesticks are left totally empty. If you’ve stocked up on candlesticks—but you haven’t gotten around to buying any candles yet—don’t fret. Your candlesticks are probably pretty enough to stand on their own. Cluster them in the center of your table, and watch a simple-yet-striking centerpiece take shape.
Snag a Serving Bowl That Matches Your Table
No kitchen is complete without a little serving ware, and if yours is particularly pretty, you might want to put it on display. Find your sleekest serving bowl, and stick it in the center of your table. Since it’s already so sculptural, you won’t need to put anything in it to dress it up. And if it happens to match your table, it should make a particularly striking addition to your space.
Arrange Two Sets of Vases Into a Line
If you’ve found two sets of vases you simply can’t choose between, buy both—and put them both on your dining room table. Arrange the vases in an orderly line, and alternate between them. If you want to add more contrast, you can fill one set with flowers and leave the other set empty. But they’re sure to make a statement, even if you don’t.
Turn a Small Statue into a Centerpiece
Art puts the finishing touches on any space, and it can put the finishing touches on your dining room table, too. Snag a small statue, bust, or sculpture, and use it as your centerpiece. It won’t need to be replaced as often as flowers or watered as often as a plant, and it’s sure to double as a conversation starter at your next dinner party.
Put Some of Your Must-Haves on Display
Remember, you can decorate your table without buying any new décor. Start by looking around your kitchen and seeing what you already own. Do you have a really pretty teapot or some extra-nice mugs? Leave those on the table, and let them become the backdrop for impromptu tea parties or mid-afternoon coffee breaks.
Put Out Two Vases and Fill One With Flowers
Vases are often filled with flowers, but that doesn’t mean they have to be. If you’ve snagged two striking vases, consider putting them both out—and only filling one with flowers. This surprising choice is sure to turn heads, and since it’ll make one vase a little taller than the other, it’ll make your centerpiece more dynamic, too.
Fill a Huge Planter With Moss
Moss is a chronically underrated plant, and since it’s not very tall, it makes an exceptional centerpiece. (You won’t have to scoot it around just to see the person sitting across from you.) Snag a sprawling planter that suits your dining room table, and consider filling the whole thing with moss.
Cluster Skinny Vases That Almost Match
If you find a vase you love, see if it has any siblings. And if it does, buy them—and cluster all the vases in the center of your table. You can switch up the shape of the vase and keep the color consistent, or you can vary the color of the vase and stick to the same silhouette.
Of course, if you really want to make a statement, you can always play with shape and color.
Line Your Table With Votive Candles
One of the simplest ways to decorate a rectangular table? Create a line of votive candles that runs from one end of the table to the other. The votive candles will add a touch of cozy ambiance to your space. And since they’re so incredibly tiny, you won’t have to worry about them getting in the way during dinner.
Cluster Vases in a Decorative Tray
Centerpieces often involve a cluster of décor—and clusters don’t tend to be very orderly. So, if you’re looking for a way to add order to your space, consider building your centerpiece on a decorative tray. This simple decision will make your centerpiece feel tidier, and it might end up looking more striking, too.
Put Out Two Bowls of Produce
One go-to centerpiece? A bowl of fruit. One easy way to make that centerpiece more striking? Add another bowl of fruit. Just be sure to pair bowls of different heights. Otherwise, it might be tough to figure out which bowls should go where.
Invest in a Few Air Plants
If you’re putting a plant in the middle of your table, you want it to be eye-catching and easy to care for—and air plants fit this bill. Air plants are plants that don’t need soil to grow, so you can toss them in a bowl, put them on a plate, or display them in some other creative fashion. This flexibility makes them a great pick for centerpieces.
Craft a Cocktail-Making Station
Often, table décor is purely decorative. So, if you want yours to stand out, consider crafting a centerpiece that invites interaction. Put a cocktail-making station on the table, and encourage anyone who passes it to sit down and make a drink.
This might not work at 9 a.m.—but it’s sure to be a hit at your next party.
Put a Single Flower in a Skinny Vase
Centerpieces don’t have to be complicated to be striking. So, keep things simple by putting a single flower in a skinny vase. This approach is time-honored for a reason: It’s easy, and it looks great.
Snag a Couple Striking Menu Holders
If you want your dining room table to feel a little more restaurant-worthy, consider putting out a menu holder—or a few. Then, print out tonight’s menu and put it on display. Or leave your menu holders totally empty. (Many are striking enough to stand on their own—though you may get questions about what, exactly, they are.)
Decorate an Outdoor Table With a Few Loose Watermelons
Your outdoor tables deserve just as much love as your indoor tables, and since outdoor gatherings are inherently fun, you can get a little kitschy with your centerpiece. Consider lining your tables with some seasonal produce—like watermelons during the summer, or pumpkins during the fall. These items will set the scene for the meal you’re about to serve. And since they naturally grow outside, they should be hardy enough to hold up—rain or shine.
Score Four Different Vases in the Same Color
If one flower-filled vase seems a little too simple for your taste, snag four flower-filled vases, instead. Add interest by switching up the shapes and sizes of your vases. And keep things cohesive by sticking to a single color or a clearly defined palette.
Craft a Low-Key Reading Nook
Tables are often used for eating, but they can be used for other activities, too. So consider the tasks you love to tackle at the table and set yourself up to enjoy them. If you love to sip your morning coffee while flipping through a great read, piece together a reading nook. All you’ll need is something to read, something to drink—and maybe something cozy to snuggle up with.
Put Out Some Placemats
If a bare table feels too empty—and a set table feels too crowded—bridge the gap by putting out some placemats. Placemats will add texture to your table without cluttering it up. And having them out will save you some time when you next need to set the table.
Put a Small Tree in the Center of Your Table
Flowers and plants make excellent centerpieces. But if you want something a little less obvious, consider putting a tree—yes, a tree—in the middle of your table.
To make this work, of course, you’ll need a fairly small tree, but most bonsai trees should get the job done.
Snag a Sculptural Candle
Taper candles look great on any dining room table, and if you snag a particularly sculptural candle, you could end up with something striking enough to serve as a centerpiece.
Fill a Vase With Pampas Grass
If you can’t seem to keep plants alive, rest assured knowing fake flowers aren’t your only option. Dried plants—like pampas grass—offer a low-maintenance way to add some plant life to your space. Simply stick a couple in a bold vase, and voila—your centerpiece is done.
Pair a Vase With a Bowl of Fruit
Centerpieces are often symmetrical, but that doesn’t mean yours has to be. And you can craft something more dynamic without expending a ton of time or effort. How? By placing two classic centerpieces next to each other. Pair a fruit-filled bowl with a plant-filled vase, and up the contrast by making sure one is noticeably taller than the other.
Leave the Table Set
When decorating your table, you don’t have to choose between form and function. And setting the table is a great way to embrace both at once. By setting the table now, you can save your future self some time, and you can leave your table looking decorated in a decidedly orderly way.
Stock Up on Vases That Match Your Lighting Fixtures
Vases make a natural addition to any dining room table, but since there are so many great vases out there, it can be tough to figure out which ones to buy. One way to narrow things down? Look for vases that match the other elements in your space. Pair round glass vases with round glass pendant lights, and you’re sure to end up with something striking.
Use Flowers to Spruce Up a Candlestick Tray
When displaying taper candles, candlesticks aren’t your only option. If you’re craving something more orderly, you can use a candlestick tray instead, and you can dress it up by placing a few spare flowers next to your candles.
Place a Couple Monstera Leaves in a Vase
Monstera leaves are some of the most striking around. So if you want a pretty-yet-easy centerpiece, consider cutting off a couple of leaves and placing them in a vase full of water.
What’s nice? If you cut carefully enough, you can actually propagate a new Monstera plant from your cutting. Look for a nub on your plant (called a “node”), and cut just below it. When placed in water and exposed to light, this node will turn into a root—which you can eventually plant in a soil-filled pot.
Drape a Beaded Garland Over a Bowl
For some, a bowl is an adequately striking centerpiece. For others, it’s a little too simple. And if you fall in the latter category, rest assured knowing you have some options—which go beyond filling the bowl with fruit. By draping a beaded garland over the bowl, you can add visual flair without cluttering up your table.
If you want to take your centerpiece to the next level, you can always swap out this garland seasonally.
Pair Two Vases With Two Candlesticks
Centerpieces aren’t mutually exclusive, so if you have two pretty vases and two striking candlesticks, don’t force yourself to choose between them. Instead, put them both on display. By piecing together a centerpiece from some of your favorite items, you’ll end up with something that’s uniquely yours. Just be sure to keep things balanced by switching up the heights of the items you’re featuring.
Leave a Small Book Stack on Display
Book stacks look great just about anywhere, and your dining room table is no exception to this rule. So if that vase full of flowers is looking a little boring on its own, place it next to—or even on top of—a small book stack.
Put a Striking Plant in a Striking Planter
If that plant you bought just isn’t standing out the way you thought it would, take a look at the pot you’ve put it in. Odds are, it could be more eye-catching, and this simple swap could make all the difference in your space.
Pair a Vase With a Piece of Driftwood
Consider combining your go-to flower vase with a decorative object, like a striking piece of driftwood. This simple addition should make your décor feel more like an assembled centerpiece—and less like a simple flower vase—without demanding much effort from you at all.
Of course, driftwood won’t make a sensible addition to every home. So choose a decorative object that feels relevant to your surroundings. (Pro tip: Find an object that lends your home a sense of place. Driftwood evokes coastal environments—what evokes yours?)
Line Your Table With Candlesticks
Once you’ve stocked up on candlesticks, you need to figure out how to display them. And one great option is to spread them across your table from end to end. This approach works particularly well on rectangular tables—and even better on long rectangular tables. But, you can certainly pull it off on tables of other shapes and sizes, as well.
Leave Out a Few Loose Apples
Looking for a striking alternative to the classic bowl of fruit? Leave your fruit completely bowl-less. This bold move is sure to turn heads, and since it cuts down on clutter, it should leave your kitchen table looking delightfully minimalist.
Create a Trio of Plants and Produce
If clustering items feels a little too haphazard for you, consider decorating in threes. Place a tall plant next to a shorter plant—and place an even shorter fruit bowl in front of them. Of course, your set-up doesn’t have to look exactly like this, but combining three centerpieces should leave you with something that looks balanced and dynamic.
Add a Pop of Color With Sunflowers
Your centerpiece can be as subtle or striking as you want it to be. So if your space is in dire need of a little color, snag a bouquet of vibrant flowers. Sunflowers are a particularly classic choice, but even colorful wildflowers should get the job done.
Cluster a Few Items on a Bunched-Up Towel
Having something to set your centerpiece on can go a long way in making your space feel more complete. But decorative trays aren’t your only option. If you’d prefer something that’s not so neat and tidy, consider housing your centerpiece on a pretty kitchen towel.
The towel should make an easy addition to your space. (After all, kitchen towels typically live in the kitchen.) And it’ll set the scene for the rest of your centerpiece.
Fill a Round Vase With a Sprawling Flower Arrangement
When putting flowers in a vase, volume counts a lot. You want to get the size of your vase right and the size of your flower arrangement right. And of course, you want the two to work together. Nailing this ratio can get tough, but one easy way to pull it off is to pair a massive flower arrangement with a smaller, round vase. The size difference should keep the elements from competing with each other, while the roundness should help the vase hold its own against the flowers.
Add Texture With a Wire Bowl
If your space is full of clean lines and solid colors, consider using your centerpiece to bring some texture into the mix. A wire bowl can be a great way to do this, and if you match it to some of the colors in your space, it’s sure to fit right in.
Place a Couple Large Branches in a Tall Vase
Decorating your table in an unusual way can be great fun. But don’t stay away from the classics just because you feel like you have to. Sometimes, nothing tops the elegant simplicity of a couple of branches placed inside a tall glass vase.
Since you can take this approach with live vases or with dry ones, you can piece together something that’s truly timeless.
Feature an Unexpected Fruit
The bowl of fruit has become a go-to in the table décor space. But, we tend to see the same fruits featured over and over again. Apples, lemons, and oranges are all fan-favorites—and watermelons are pretty popular, too. So, if you're looking for ways to make your centerpiece stand out, swap these classic fruits out for something a little less expected. Put a bowl of bananas on the table, and you’re sure to turn heads.
Leave Clean Dinnerware on the Table
If a set table feels too proper—but an empty table feels too bare—look for a middle-ground between the two. Leave out a stack of fresh plates, a few clean glasses, or a pile of just-washed cloth napkins. These items will spruce up your table without adding unnecessary clutter. And they’ll speed up the process of setting the table for your next meal.
Snag Vases That Match the Rest of Your Space
A centerpiece can be a great way to add a pop of décor to your space—and it can also be a great way to bring your space together. So, consider matching your centerpiece to some of the other items in your space. If your dining room boasts a pared-down palette full of blacks, beiges, and whites, snag a centerpiece to match. Cluster a few vases in a similar color scheme, and let your centerpiece bring cohesion to your space.