Home & Garden

Muted palette for centerpiece creates unusual look for autumn

So often at this time of the year, we see an autumn centerpiece in gold, red and brown. This year we wanted to try something different.

We thought it would be interesting to base a floral arrangement on a paper napkin we found. It depicted pumpkins, but the background was a soft gray and the pumpkins were a more muted color than usual.


It was tougher than expected to find flowers in the muted color palette. We did find a white faux pumpkin, which seemed perfect, and then we grabbed a collection of off-white, ivory, soft orange and brown foliage. We also selected a soft orange ribbon to make a bow. You will need:

• Faux plastic pumpkin

• Serrated knife

• Block of floral foam

• Hot glue gun

• Greening pins

• Flowers and berries of your choice (about 12 to 15 stems)

• Wire cutters

• Ribbon

Step by step

1 Cut out the stem so you have an opening at the top of the pumpkin to insert your floral foam and flowers. Use a serrated knife and be careful.

2 Next, cut the block of floral foam to fit inside the pumpkin. Add hot glue to the base and push it down and hold so it sticks to the inside bottom of your pumpkin. (Tip: You can push greening pins up and into the floral foam from the outside of the pumpkin’s base for added security.)

3 To build your floral arrangement, place your focal flowers where they will be seen from all sides.

4 Add secondary flowers – ours are dark roses – and then the filler flowers. Both berry stems and eucalyptus are filler flowers in this centerpiece. Make sure to place your flowers evenly and that all sides look filled in.

5 If the edge where you cut the pumpkin looks a little bare, gather several large leaves that were cut off the hydrangea when the stems were cut stems down. Hot glue directly to the pumpkin where needed. This step makes the arrangement look more finished and professional.

6 Finally, add a bow if desired. Hold in place with hot glue.

If you prefer live flowers, insert a plastic container or a vase inside the pumpkin; fill with water and add your flowers. You could also use a real pumpkin instead of the plastic variety.

Another way to make your autumn centerpiece stand out is to add some sparkle to it. Almost everything this holiday season has a bit of glitter. We did buy a small container of craft paint that has glitter in it and thought we might add a wash of color, stripes or even polka dots.

In the end, we left it plain.

Shari Hiller and Matt Fox host the PBS television series “Around the House with Matt and Shari.” Visit mattandshari.com.