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Create a Rustic Holiday Table

Photo courtesy of Hydrangea Home A distressed wooden trough with greens and frosted pinecones complement the crystal candlesticks for this simple rustic table setting.Buy Photo
Photo courtesy of Hydrangea Home A distressed wooden trough with greens and frosted pinecones complement the crystal candlesticks for this simple rustic table setting.

The epicenter of holiday gatherings is often the table; after all, where else would the cookies go? To brighten up yours this season, blend color, texture and a little bit of sparkle to create a trendy, rustic centerpiece

“People are getting away from the plastic wreaths with the red outdoor velvet bow… toward looks [that are] more natural and go back to a simpler time,” says Marian Parsons, who runs the home design blog Miss Mustard Seed.

That’s true at Hydrangea Home in Commack, N.Y., where shop owner Dawn Mohrmann often begins her arrangements and centerpieces with a rustic wooden box. “The other thing people like about these are they’re low, and they don’t interfere with conversations,” she says.

Focusing on several smaller arrangements instead of a single large one is another way to keep the decor from overwhelming the table, she recommends.

Wooden planks and other non-traditional containers work, too. “You can bring out serving pieces that you have that you use year-round like pitchers or tureens or accessories that you really like, like vintage trophies,” Parsons says. “Incorporate those into the decor. It doesn’t have to be Christmas-y items.”

Take a walk through a nearby park, forest preserve or your backyard to pick up natural clippings to give centerpieces an unpolished, rustic feel. Foraged holly branches, boughs of evergreen shrubs, boxwood, pinecones and magnolia leaves provide a neutral bed for additional decorations.

Don’t be afraid to get creative, Mohrmann advises. “Artichokes, pomegranates, fresh green apples – it’s just so easy to create something natural-looking and quick from the supermarket.”

The key to a sophisticated rustic centerpiece is to keep it natural; skip the plastic berries. That doesn’t, however, mean there isn’t room for a little sparkle. The flash of a silver vintage ornament or the flicker of a votive candle will complete the look.