Decorating Ideas You'll Be Thankful For

Decorating Ideas You’ll Be Thankful For

Getting your home holiday-ready is easy when you let nature take the lead.

Sure, you can head to the store to shop for your holiday decor. Or better yet, you can save those dollars for gift-giving and pick up holiday trimmings in your own backyard or at the local park. Think: colorful leaves, dramatic branches, freshly fallen pinecones, and gourds. They’re all just waiting to be transformed into naturally stylish decorations for your mantel, windowsills, Thanksgiving table—pretty much anywhere. Try these ideas, then sit back and bask in your own resourcefulness.

On the run: Skip the dining-table centerpiece, and instead lay a cloth runner down the middle of your table. Top it off with natural flair, such as fiery-colored leaves, fresh pinecones, and small gourds, says Dawn Falcone, a designer and organizer based in New York City. The best part? You don’t need design skills to pull this off because the rustic randomness of it all is the whole point.

Bold branches. A single, slender branch or tree limb placed in a clear vase and set on your mantel, a hall table, or a side table is a bold twist on traditional. “If the branch has a few leaves on it, it’ll look great on its own. If it’s bare, you can hot-glue some leaves to it,” Falcone says. To keep the vase from tipping under the weight of a larger branch or limb, pile some rocks, acorns, or glass beads in the bottom of the container.

Bright idea: Need a holder for that pumpkin-scented candle? Try a small gourd. Cut a hole the diameter of your candle bottoms (usually about the size of a quarter) in the top of each gourd and scoop out the flesh to the depth of about an inch. Insert tall tapers and light ‘em up!

Creative kids: Keep the kids table happy (and peaceful) by creating an eating spot that looks like it’s part of the fun. Cover the table with brown butcher paper, then press double-stick tape on real leaves and arrange them around the edges of the table to add some festive color. Set up some crayons in clear glasses at each place setting to encourage your young guests to decorate the “tablecloth” in between bites.