Crabapple arrangement ~ The best thing about this sort of arrangement? There’s absolutely no arranging involved. Liza Lubell of Brooklyn’s Peartree Flowers (peartreeflowers.com) simply stripped the leaves from each limb before putting it in a vase. “This treatment highlights the prettiest feature of the plant—its fruit,” she explains. Group several different-size vases for even greater visual payoff. Also try: Figs or chestnuts (Recycled glass vases, from $19; westelm.com)
Think outside the circle ~ Not all DIY front-door decor requires a foam wreath form. To make this elegant cluster, we selected 8 four- to six-inch pinecones and 8 two-foot-long pieces of silk ribbon. Use a hot-glue gun to adhere the last two inches of each ribbon to the base of a cone. After the glue dries, collect all the ribbon ends and stagger them so that the cones fall at varying lengths. Tie the ribbon ends together in a knot, trim the tips so they are uniform, and slip the knot over a finishing nail.
Take on Thanksgiving with turkey transferware ~ Antique turkey-themed transferware with its rich colors and patterns, inspired the mix-and-match look of this table. Multidimensional menu cards add an even more personal touch. (Flatware; arteitalica.com. Compote; villeroy-boch.com. Glass; laurenhome.com. Silver Vase; Barbara Barry for wedgwood.com. Pitcher; rosannainc.com.)
Go beyond the vase ~ When it comes to centerpieces, vintage wooden spools—around $5 to $10 each on etsy.com—offer a novel way to display dried leaves or branches. (If using fresh flowers, seek out spools with hollow cores wide enough to accommodate floral tubes.) The vessel that contains our loose arrangement of dahlias and pomegranates? It’s a ceramic utensil holder. ($56; canvashomestore.com) Craft the cheapest candlestick ever: A $2 roll of jute twine from the hardware store! Pop a taper inside, then set it atop a plate. (BIA salad plate, $12.50 each; bloomingdales.com)
Put your stamp on cocktail napkins ~ Enlist the kids to stamp colorful messages and designs onto napkins before guests arrive.
Give centerpieces a new home ~ Free up prime dinner-table real estate by moving oversize arrangements to the buffet. And don’t bother with elaborate floral fantasies: Just go “shopping” in your backyard for branches of holly, crab apple, or bittersweet berries. Then bring in-demand items—butter, gravy, cranberry sauce—to the middle of the table.
Create the perfect place setting ~ For favors sure to spark conversation, turn acorn caps into adorable mini-candles by filling them with melted wax and inserting short wicks (allow one hour of cooling time). To assemble a complete glow-on-the-go kit, stash the tiny lights, plus a few matches, in a wood box tricked out with a striker, a.k.a. a strip of sandpaper glued to one side. The final touch: Personalize the lid with a sweet frame stamp and a handwritten note. (Acorn caps, $2.50 for 100; kringlescountrystore.com. Wax, $6.70 for 1½ pounds; wicks, $2.99 for 10 yards; amazon.com. Box, $1; acmoore.com for stores. Stamp, $7; rubbersoul.com).
Go beyond the typical autumn tropes with inspired dishware. This beautiful dinner plate features classic seasonal colors, like orange, yellow, and green, and plenty of foliage, too. But it also incorporates blowsy flowers and surprising shades of soft blue and peachy pink—which inspired the look of this tablescape. We topped off each dinner plate with a smaller white dish and a sprinkle of paper-punched confetti leaves. (Floral plates, $24 each; anthropologie.com. White plates, $72 for six; gracioushome.com. Leaf punch, $10.78; amazon.com)
Pomegranate centerpieces ~ Liza Lubell of Brooklyn’s Peartree Flowers (peartreeflowers.com) says, “Ripe fruit is as lush as any flower.” Here, she uses opulent pomegranates for these autumnal centerpieces. Cut each branch to a height that allows its heavy fruits to rest on the rim of your vase. Then fill in with inexpensive foliage, such as the purple shiso leaves here. Also try: Apples or persimmons (Ceramic vases, HomArt, $17.60 each; amazon.com)