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7 Simple Tricks to Make Eye-Catching Outdoor Centerpieces

By RST Brands
August 18, 2015

By now, you've been to a few barbecues this summer. It's hard to get bored of endless watermelon and savory steaks, but the typical evening gathering is starting to lose its luster. Still, the perfect summertime temperatures are far from over, so don't give up on BBQs just yet! Next time you host a delectable outdoor dinner, use the outdoor decorating ideas in this post to bring new life to the average barbecue. Attendees will feel like they're walking into an event, not just a dinner, which is sure to liven attitudes and lift spirits. Simple outdoor decor like string lights and tablecloths do wonders for dressing up an event, but to really make the evening feel special you need a little more. Adding creative centerpieces to your outdoor dining tables will make the barbecue feel like a special occasion. Unsure about your crafting abilities? Don't stress. We've got a few simple tips to make designing centerpieces a breeze. Check out these easy tricks for making outdoor centerpieces everyone will love.

1. Get Inspired by Nature

Outdoor centerpieces don't need to be extravagant. In fact, a collection of flowers, leaves, and twigs from the yard arranged in a simple vase could be the perfect centerpiece your table is missing. If your garden doesn't have many pickable pieces, head to the store for inexpensive plants, like cacti or fresh herbs, and place them in interesting vases to add a little flare.

2. Strike a Match

Lit candles add an air of ambiance to any environment, and the earlier-setting sun makes nighttime lights essential. Float small candles in glass vases filled halfway with water or decorate the candles to be stand-alone pieces. Some glitter or ribbon goes a long way when making a simple object seem special. For a more eclectic look, arrange a handful of candles of different heights in the center and surround the collection with twinkly garland.

Pro Tip: Use citronella candles to decorate your tables. You'll get the added bonus of keeping bugs away while your tables glow through the night.

3. Open the Junk Drawer

You'd be surprised what junk items can become with a little imagination. Tin cans, mason jars, and bowls all make great vases. Use some twine or paint to spruce them up if these items look a little worn. Other items can be used for vase or table decoration. Rubber bands, wine corks, newspapers, and lace are a few examples of items that can be repurposed into your next great centerpiece.

4. Give Items a Fresh Coat

Simply adding a little paint can breathe new life into shabby materials. When painting glass vases, paint inside the glass instead of outside for a cleaner look. Or, use items around the house to add interesting patterns, like bubble wrap to create polka dots or tape to make stripes. If you want to have a little more fun at your next barbecue, splatter glass jars with glow-in-the-dark paint. The centerpieces will come alive as the sun sets, exciting guests of all ages.

5. Light the Way

Lighting is key to creating a stellar backyard ambiance. And if the wind is a concern where you live, forgo the candles and opt for LED lights. Find battery-powered string or individual lights so guests don't have to worry about tripping on a cord. LED lights come in all shapes and sizes. Liven the event with colorful lights that flicker through the rainbow or choose flickering white lights to create a moody atmosphere.

6. Embrace the Unusual

Sometimes the best centerpieces are those created with completely unique items. Books, knickknacks or fruit and veggies can be organized in artful ways to make stunning centerpieces. If you are throwing a themed dinner, creative outdoor centerpieces are a great way to decorate without spending too much money. Fill cowboy boots with flowers for a southwestern supper or load a sliced globe with foliage for a worldly feast.

7. Work With Water

Float objects in water to add a clean, mystical look to your centerpieces. Candles, flowers, and fruit float well and look pretty in glass containers. Use food coloring to turn water a light, graceful blue or eye-catching red. Drop in marbles or glass beads for a unique look or light the jars to create multi-colored lanterns.


The heat of summer can get monotonous, but your barbecues shouldn't. Take advantage of the last few weeks of warm nights this year by throwing a dinner for your friends and family. Creative decorations can spark conversation and make the evening memorable. What is your favorite way to spruce up a drab backyard picnic?