Nothing says spring like a fragrant arrangement of fresh-cut flowers. Alas, real blossoms don’t love some of us back. Dressing up a mantelpiece, side table, or dining-scape can be a real challenge for allergy sufferers – especially when you’ve grown tired of silks. Fortunately, with some thought and creativity, a unique and sneeze-free centerpiece is within reach. If sprightly sprigs give you the sniffles and pollen-filled pretties make your eyes water with something other than joy, check out these ten alternatives to the classic floral bouquet.
Under the Sea – Bring the beach to your table and get a head start on summer fun. Simply fill the bottom few inches of a compote or trifle dish with clean play sand, available at most craft and home stores, then add a variety of shells. This is a great way to showcase your own personal vacation treasures, and you can add extra pizazz with white or colored coral.
Paper Posies – A crisp, modern alternative to silk or plastic flowers, paper flowers come in a variety of shapes and patterns. Some have rhinestones or pearls in the center. If you’re a crafty type, you can make your own out of whatever appeals to you: scrapbook paper, sheet music, old book pages or even junk mail. Find tutorials and patterns online, or go for a more exotic flair and opt to fold origami buds. The DIY route can be a fun spring break or rainy day activity for the kids, too. Still too floral for your taste? How about paper pinwheels?
Fruity Fun – Lemons, limes, and tangerines are classic centerpiece fruits because they’re colorful and don’t require refrigeration, but depending on the look you want, you can use grapefruit, pomegranate, kiwi, mini-bananas, apples, peaches, plums, or a host of other options. Dress the piece up or down by choosing a simple market basket or an elegant vase or dish. For extra-special events, accent your arrangement with vintage rhinestone brooches, strings of pearls, or crystal stems.
Garden Goodness – Fruits are sweet, but don’t neglect their veggie counterparts. Cherry or Roma tomatoes, colorful peppers, eye-catching artichokes and even eggplant can go casual or classy depending on how you arrange them. Or what about a bundle of asparagus stalks tied with a pretty ribbon, raffia, or burlap and set upright on a footed plate? A carrot and radish bouquet complete with frilly green tops in clear vase? Or possibly a Brussels sprout topiary?
Artistic Inspirations – Need a really creative way to show off a unique or beautiful small vase? A bouquet of paintbrushes can do the trick. Just select a variety of shapes and lengths, and don’t forget to include a fan brush or two. Want a little color? Dip the tips in paint, of course! You can vary the amount you apply to achieve different looks, and don’t be afraid to double-dip to add interest. Just make sure the first coat dries first. For more subtle hues, try watercolors or artists’ chalk.
Double-Duty – We’ve all heard the age-old “paint a branch and it’s a centerpiece” adage. And yes, this still holds true. While you can use them alone or hang them with store-bought baubles, why not put a bit of your own personality into it? Raid your daughter’s hair flower collection or adorn your stick-tree with your favorite vintage pendants and brooches. Collectible spoons, movie ticket stubs and other mementoes work well, too.
Message in a Bottle – Tell your friends and family what’s on your mind with a bouquet of special words. Print out or pen words and phrases on cardstock, then glue to the tips of dowel rod “stems” cut to a variety of lengths. You can cut into fancy shapes or use mini-chalkboards for a different look and use one or a dozen depending on the size of your vase. For a more visual collection, use photos instead – or alternate between the two.
Dish of Doo-Dads – It’s an unwritten rule: fill a clear bowl, vase, or other container with a great many of the same kind of small thing and you have a centerpiece. Wine corks, colorful buttons and marbles are wildly popular, but you have dozens of other choices as well, including spools of thread, cookie cutters, classic board game pieces, and cabinet or door knobs. Even Legos work.
Lovely Layers – Sand art? Well yes, sure, you can use colored sand or beads or glass or river rocks. But you can create custom looks with a number of other items as well. Dried legumes like peas, pintos and black beans look homey and inviting, as do different colors of un-popped popcorn. Use coffee beans on top for a heavenly scent to boot. Or how about layers of different colored candies or berries?
Light up the Night – Like silk flowers, plain candles can get boring no matter how pretty the holder – especially when you’re trying to avoid trigger scents. The good news is that you can ring a candle with a remarkable array of objects and tie with a ribbon or twine to dress it up. Food is a great choice again: asparagus, snap beans, pea pods, etc. Or raid the craft drawer for colored pencils, markers, or crayons. Just make sure to choose flameless candles with anything that could melt or catch fire.
That’s what we’ve got. How about you? Share your favorite allergy-friendly options on our Facebook page or join us on Pinterest. We’d love to hear from you!