Beyond Swag: Easy Ways to Trick Out Your Table

Add a finishing touch to any occasion with eye-catching, easy-to-make centerpieces.

Related: Martha Stewart's Top Organizing Tips

Herb Centerpiece

When herb gardens overflow with more than is needed in any kitchen, why not use the extra yield in a fragrant centerpiece? Mix shapes and textures, and add color with edible flowers and herb blossoms. This arrangement, which includes dill, rosemary, mint, basil, thyme, lavender, nasturtiums, and flowering herbs, sits in a high-sided bowl; a smaller bowl within keeps the stems in place. But a vase, pitcher, or jar would work just as well.

Hors d'Oeuvre Centerpiece

Create an hors d'oeuvre centerpiece that recalls a vegetable patch. Buy a large, deep galvanized-metal planter from a garden-supply center, line the bottom with sprouts, and pour in enough water to moisten them. Arrange vegetables, such as cherry tomatoes, carrots, radishes, asparagus, and cauliflower, in sections inside the container, varying the colors. Serve immediately with herb dip, or cover with moist paper towels and refrigerate up to 2 hours.

Candle Slipcovers

1. Coat natural-fiber fabric scraps, such as cotton or linen, with spray starch, and iron them.

2. Once the fabric is stiff, cut out a rectangle big enough to wrap around a candleholder, allowing a slight overlap where the ends meet.

3. Wrap around the holder, and join fabric ends with a piece of double-sided tape.

Related: 47 Ways to Maximize Space in Your Kitchen

Low Centerpiece

Dusty miller
Sea thistle
Mountain laurel
Lady's mantle

1. Line a low, wide glass bowl with hydrangea foliage.

2. Create a base with blocks of soaked floral foam, covering as much surface area as possible.

3. Place large hydrangea blooms evenly to create a balanced structure that can support the rest of the flowers.

4. Add dusty miller and sea thistle along the lower edges.

5. Fill In with roses, echinops, astrantia, and mountain laurel, distributing colors evenly.

6. Turn the bowl frequently as you work to keep arrangement balanced.

7. Finish by placing stems of clematis and lady's mantle and branches of blueberries, using their color and texture as accents.

Fire and Water

This illuminating centerpiece uses two vases -- one placed inside the other -- to create the illusion that a lit candle sits underwater.

Larger glass vase
Smaller glass vase
Floral adhesive
Food coloring

1. Place a glass vase inside another that is slightly larger (secure them with floral adhesive), and then pour tinted water in between them.

2. For added light play, make a series of these centerpieces in different shades of the same hue (a few extra drops of food coloring will yield the desired contrast).

Floating Flowers Platter

It's a cheese board; it's a centerpiece; it's a place to corral cocktail garnishes. It's a basic white platter (this one's from, the most versatile item in your cupboard.

Float flowers like these peonies in small bowls, and arrange them with votive candles for a quick, modern centerpiece. On a long table, you can place a few platters down the middle.

Easy Sand Candles

Red, white, and blue bands of sand dress up votive candles to make flickering lights that are cheerful and fun. Designing a candle is as simple as pouring layers into a glass. Make several, and create a patriotic centerpiece to coordinate with china or linens for outdoor dining.

Votive candle
Drinking glass
Clear glass vase or jar

1. Fill a clear drinking glass with enough sand so that a votive candle placed on top falls just below the rim.

2. Set the glass inside a clear glass vase or jar.

3. With a funnel, fill the gap between the two containers with layers of colored sand, using enough to reach the rim of the drinking glass.

More from Martha Stewart Living:
15 Kitchen Shortcuts That Will Change the Way You Cook
19 Tips for Perfect Laundry Every Time
Inspirational Bathrooms You'll Want to Live In
Spend Less, Eat Better: Grocery Shopping Tips for Thrifty Foodies

At your next dinner party, dress the table up with these personalized napkins!