Which leads me to the entire inspiration of this post: my bestie is decorating her new house! Yay!
She has been trying to find a centerpiece for her dining room table, but she was having trouble making it look natural. She really wanted it to be balanced, but she was placing the objects in a very symmetrical way which was making her feel uneasy about the project. She asked me for some advice about how to make a centerpiece visually interesting and organic looking.
I thought I'd share what I told her!
By no means am I an expert, but I have spent a lot of time with my interior designer, Celeste. She has helped me on countless projects in my house and taught me a bunch of things along the way. It helps that I like to pick her brain constantly so that I can come up with my own ideas and stop paying her (I, of course, did not share my motivation with her). Most of this information is what I learned from speaking to her about projects (she is awesome and I love her) and most of the pictures are what I've done with the information she has given me and then a few inspirational pictures as well.
Basic Centerpiece Concepts:
Pieces that are grounded by some object-- a tray, a placemat, a table runner--- will give you boundaries so you know what you have to work with. For most people, this is the easiest way to create a visually appealing focal point.
Always remember function-- using trays as a place for your make up, perfume, or daily beauty supplies is perfect in the bathroom. It will make things look neat and less cluttered even if they are scattered around the tray.
To add interest, opt for objects that have varying height or place some objects on books, in a bowl, on a butcher block or other objects to create a height difference.
I really like odd numbers because I think they automatically look less contrived. So if you find three to five objects to put on your base then you will have a good foundation. They can be big or small depending on the space that you have, but always remember to think of function and not just how it will look.
Let's look at my dining room centerpiece:
I used a lot of black, but these little birds-- they are salt and pepper shakers from Pier 1 imports-- really lighten it up! I love them! The fruit and flowers bring in the color to wrap it all together and the butcher block brings the eye to the lighter objects--- birds, flowers, and one candle (with a slightly higher elevation than it's twin).
Celeste gave me a great tip when working with a large space (like a dining room table). To create balance, place your tallest object at once side and then casually create a cascading effect by gradually going from tallest to shortest. If done well, this won't be obvious unless your guests are really admiring your set up.
You can also use different set ups like putting a taller object (flowers in vase) on both ends and smaller object (bowl of fruit) in the middle. Or the opposite-- two shorter objects on the edges and a taller, more dramatic piece in the middle. This often looks best when you sprinkle smaller objects (think voltive candles or mini lanterns) around the base.
Another great option is a circular piece using three objects. I just love everything in this picture from Pottery Barn! They used a big dramatic display of hydrangeas, a large antique bowl in which they place the white vase. Doesn't it just scream cottage charm? ::sigh::
Another appealing option for those looking for a more classic look is to opt to repeat the same item in a set of three, but these usually create the best effect with large items, like lanterns, large candles, or vases like this image I found on Pinterest:
The idea is that you should either want to make it look like you did this display on purpose (keeping things even and more traditional) or you should follow some basic rules to make your display look more organic, but also pleasing so they only appear to be randomly selected.
Most people view the organic look as just setting somethings together on a table, but it's not that easy. If anything, it's much harder than the traditional look because it takes a lot more strategy but personally, I love it!
Here are some other pictures that I love:
|unknown source (pinterest)|