Centerpieces on a Budget


A centerpiece finishes off a dining room, giving even the most mundane dinners an elegant flair. If you throw a lot of dinner parties, switching out the centerpiece for each holiday or theme can become expensive, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money to create a beautiful centerpiece. Many homeowners already have what they need to create an eye-catching centerpiece on a tight budget.

Repurposed Materials

  • The cheapest way to create a centerpiece is to repurpose items already in your home, but if you don’t have old vases, bowls or baskets, your local flea market or a garage sale might have what you need at a fraction of what you’d spend at the store. Budget-friendly centerpiece materials include antique platters, wooden or glass bowls, old candles and wreaths. These items can be cleaned up and bowls and platters painted to suit your decor or the season. Disassemble an old wreath and decorate it with colorful ribbon or flowers, and place a pillar candle or an interesting glass jar or urn in the center. If you’re a wine lover, save those old wine bottles and arrange different sizes or colors along the table for a centerpiece that doesn’t cost a cent. A single flower in each bottle or a colorful ribbon around the neck dresses the bottles according to your theme.


  • If you need a centerpiece for a single dinner party, let the food act as your work of art. Because you already have it on hand, this is a cost-effective centerpiece that can look stunning. For example, stacked cupcakes on a metal tray can brighten any table. Placing colorful fruit in a simple wooden bowl also makes a quick and easy centerpiece. A glass vase or tall jar filled with brightly colored fruits can add texture and color to your table. If you want to add a bit of sparkle to the centerpiece, paint some of the fruit in metallic colors, like gold or silver.

Seasonal Features

  • During the holidays, the table is often the focal point for family and special guests, but you don’t have to break the bank with extravagant materials to create an elegant and memorable centerpiece. For example, a pumpkin on a tray surrounded by brightly colored autumn leaves make an inexpensive and natural centerpiece. During the Christmas season, wrap a few small boxes of different sizes in festive paper and ribbon and scatter them along the table, or wrap a single large box in metallic paper and tie a silky bow around it and use the “gift” as your centerpiece. You can also lay evergreen branches on the table and decorate with colored glasses or candles.


  • Create an arrangement out of flowers and foliage from your yard, or pick some inexpensive but colorful blooms from your local florist. Use an antique vase found at a flea market, or a tall jar or old vase from your home, to hold them. Potted plants that are already in your home can be transformed into a centerpiece with just a bit of paint, paper or fabric. Choose a paint color or paper or fabric pattern that suits the theme of your dinner party or decor. If you want to retain the original look of the pot for later, wrap the pot in paper or fabric instead of painting it. Set the pot on a decorative plate or tray in the center of the table, and you have an instant centerpiece for pennies.

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