Tablescapes are one of my favourite ways to decorate. At this time of year, I love whipping up a zero waste Autumn tablescape using natural elements from my garden or from things I collect whilst out walking with Brilli.
I wouldn't say I'm a minimalist but I'm not a fan of having loads of décor items hanging around in boxes in the basement. You know the type of things I mean – all those garlands and flimsy little things that really only look good the year you buy them. The following year when you get them out of the box, they're all scrunched up and however hard you try, it's impossible to straighten them out. Yup, you can tell I know what I'm talking about there ha!
What happens to all that 'stuff' once you realise it's too far gone to use again? Hmm, if you're lucky it's recyclable but more often than not, it just gets dumped in the bin, am I right? Just think about it for one minute – all that waste, just so we can have a pretty tablescape for one season, in one year!
The Most Beautiful Tablescapes Are Zero Waste Tablescapes
The type of tablescape I love best is made from the kind of things that don't need to be stored away after use. The kind that can be eaten or composted or which include items I use in my home every day. Of course, I'm talking about the zero waste autumn tablescape! Autumn is one of the most beautiful seasons. The blazing colours of the leaves as they transform from green to orange to russet red. Pine cones and acorns are dropping from the trees aplenty. Brilli and I get bombarded with each walk we take through the forest – funny how she seems to know that acorns are not for eating but she eats all the hazelnuts she can get her paws on! All these things can be used to decorate your table beautifully and I guarantee that no fake supermarket garland will be able to compete!
Low cost, Zero Waste Autumn Tablescape
Not only is a zero waste autumn tablescape well, zero waste, it's also extremely low cost. No need to go spending your hard-earned cash on decorations, save that for a nice bottle of plonk instead – cheers!
For this year's Autumn tablescape, I used the last of the pumpkins from our pumpkin patch. These are the ones where the flowers were pollinated too late in the season so they didn't have enough time to grow very big. Little pumpkins like this can usually be bought very cheaply in the supermarket and the great thing is, they can be made into a delicious pumpkin soup afterwards. If pumpkin soup is not your thing, you could use them as décor outside your door or carve them into mini pumpkin lanterns. Throw them onto the compost when they become too old and together with all your other veggie scraps, they will rot down into a fantastic nutrient rich supplement which you can spread out over your flower beds come Spring.
It's much easier than you think, to jazz up your table with a lovely zero waste tablescape. Here are some tips to get you started.
How To Create A Zero Waste Autumn Tablescape
Decide on a colour scheme
First of all, think of the type of look you want to achieve. Pumpkins are available in all sorts of colours these days so if you're buying them, take a minute to plan your colour scheme. My pumpkins were orange so they dictated the rest of the tablescape.
Go on a foraging foray!
Put your boots on, grab the dog or the kids or both and go on a hunt for a basket full of Autumn loveliness. I have to confess, Brilli hates it when I do this because foraging is not the same thing as playing, which is what she signed up for when she saw the boots coming out! That said, she's much better than me, at finding 'treasures'. That super sensitive nose of hers takes her directly to anything out of the ordinary which is how I end up with beautiful feathers left behind by birds of prey.
Some items to collect might include:
Pine cones, Leaves - dried or fresh. Acorns, grasses, chestnuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, wildflowers, lengths of Ivy or Vine. Grasses are also good for making dried grass wreaths.
Then, shop your house to see what else you can come up with. The fruit bowl is a great place to start. Figs, pomegranates and apples will all look fantastic in your zero waste tablescape.
Do you have some lovely Autumn flowers in your garden? If so, pick a small posy to add to a vase in the centre of the table.
Lay the base for your zero waste tablescape
I usually start with a table runner of some sort which I lay down the length of the table to create a base. The table runner I used here is a timeless, soft grey/green colour with flecks of white running through it – perfect for any time of the year really.
The next thing I do is to lay out the place settings so I can see how much room will be left over for the tablescape. We use our placemats and coasters every day so I usually have a few sets which I rotate frequently. These placemats are made from seagrass and you can get similar ones here:
I used simple cork coasters under the water glasses. These have a similar style and are also gorgeous:
Once the placemats and coasters were on, I started to add the plates, glasses and cutlery. I thought I'd mix it up a little this year by alternating my 'Denby Pottery, linen collection' plates, with some of my lovely white, antique plates.
I popped a cute little pumpkin into each of the soup bowls and I love how the orange colour pops against the white of the bowls.
Centerpiece - zero waste Autumn Tablescape
I can't imagine any tablescape of mine without candles of some kind. I just think they add an extra special ambient and I even light them at the table during the daytime. For this zero waste autumn tablescape, I used natural beeswax candles. Beeswax burns cleanly is non-carcinogenic and does not give off any nasty toxins. They are a little more expensive than your usual paraffin-based candles but they also burn much longer so the price is comparable in the long run.
The lovely metal candle holder is from The White Company.
TIP: When looking for beeswax candles, make sure that they are 100% beeswax. Some beeswax products may have paraffin added to them which kind of defeats the object if you're looking for a toxin-free candle.
Here are some candles to try:
Once the candles are on the table, it's easy to decorate with all your lovely leaves, flowers or natural bits and bobs. Just weave them in and out of the candles down the centre of the table.
Add a small vase of flowers to the centre of the table if you like but make sure it's small enough that your guests can still see each other over the top of it.
If you are doing this for a dinner party, you can set most of this tablescape up the day before. If you are including bread rolls, you can easily add those to the table, just before your guests arrive. Try wrapping them in some jute ribbon, brown or white waxed paper and tying them with some twine. Slip a sprig of rosemary under the twine for good measure and you're done.
There you have it! A beautiful, zero waste Autumn tablescape. Everything here is either edible, compostable, reusable or biodegradable. Wouldn't you feel much better doing something like this rather than buying more useless plastic bits and pieces? No waste, no extra storage needed and let's think about it - one day those bits and pieces may end up inside the fish on our plates!
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