A centerpiece with a Western theme can focus on the people of the West, the natural setting of the desert or mountains or on a combination of the two. Choose your centerpiece from among areas in the historic west, including the grass prairies populated by homesteaders; the Rocky Mountain states where mountain men and American Indians thrived; the arid lands of the Southwest filled with cowboys and cattle; or the gold-rush country of California.
Western explorers in the 19th century called the western U.S. the Great American Desert, and you can use this theme to create your own desert landscape as a table centerpiece. Arrange a large potted cactus in the middle of your table and surround it with smaller cacti, or strategically arrange cacti of all sizes with their pots nestled on a bed of sand. Set a stuffed-animal snake or a few plastic scorpions among the cacti to complete the picture.
You can't go wrong with flowers as a centerpiece. Use either wildflowers or sunflowers to represent the west, and arrange them in a large mason jar or a tin can. If you have an old hiking boot, place the flowers in a sturdy plastic bag inside the shoe before filling it with water. Many flowers native to western states are available in other states as well, including asters, columbines, bluebell bellflowers, fireweed, flax, larkspur, brown-eyed Susan, penstemon and yarrow.
Cowboy motifs come in the form of lariats, red bandannas, horseshoes, pistols and cowboy hats, while American Indian motifs might include a mini-tepee or lodge village made with canvas and dowels as a centerpiece set upon dried prairie grass. Arrange cowboy paraphernalia along the center of the table as it might have appeared strewn in a bunkhouse on a bed of hay, with various pieces overlapping, unified with a rope snaking among the various items.
From gold in California and silver in Nevada to borax in Death Valley, the American west was, and is, awash with mineral wealth. For a centerpiece celebrating this aspect, create a mineral pile with pieces of granite or other rocks set in a tray filled with gravel. For a more ambitious centerpiece, arrange 20 toy mules or horses in front of an old-fashioned wagon and fill it with white stones to represent teams working in the desert in the late 1800s.