It’s easy for autumn decor to slip into kitschy cliché. Pumpkins, turkeys, mums: We’ve all been there and done that. Which is why we asked Cindy Ollig—owner of the Perfect Petal—to dream up three tablescapes for a more festive and subtle nod to the season. Drawing from the rich, saturated colors of this time of year, Ollig’s settings capture the spirit of the fall harvest with nary a pumpkin in sight. “I like starting with the expected and doing a quarter turn to bring in things that are more of a surprise,” Ollig says. Here’s how.

Your Home Is: Traditional

Floral designer Cindy Ollig chose a pink, peach, apricot, coral, and burgundy color scheme for this historic North Boulder home. The simple, bright garden rose clusters (mixed with poppies, dahlias, persimmons, and velvet coxcomb) contrast beautifully with the rich blue wall color while drawing attention to the homeowners’ artwork.

Metallic chargers and a high-shimmer rust tablecloth add a touch of glam to traditional Waterford crystal glasses and silver flatware, says Ollig. “A young, vibrant family lives here, so I wanted to give a nod to tradition but still make it current—and add some life.”

The key to a well-set holiday table, says Ollig: liberal use of candles. Mercury glass votives are a good choice because they put off a warm glow. Matte-gold candelabras create height and elegance without being too traditional. And orange candlesticks are festive without screaming Thanksgiving.

Your Home Is: Eco-Chic

Don’t be afraid to take your table setting beyond the table. Light fixtures are an underused surface, says Ollig, who artfully draped bittersweet vine over the contemporary chandelier in this Cherry Hills Heights home. A cluster of glass lanterns on the floor creates a sophisticated vignette.

The homeowner’s custom-built black maple table (by TC Woods) served as inspiration. “I immediately thought of a forest,” Ollig says, “and used driftwood, tree roots, and reclaimed glass and metals.” Bringing raw form into the design, she nestled living plants into terrariums, pedestals, and bottles.

Eschewing the traditional Thanksgiving cornucopia, Ollig opted instead for a mango wood orb (above), which overflows with fern leaves, hydrangeas, brunia berries, and peach dahlias. The table-length centerpiece teems with ferns and succulents and pops of purple and lavender for color.

Party favors aren’t just for kids’ birthdays. Bright green burlap–wrapped miniature mandarins make delightful (and edible) place-card holders and favors. The centerpiece’s succulents have their roots intact and can be repotted and sent home alongside the turkey leftovers.

Your Home Is: Modern

Table Setting
“I like mixing traditional shapes and materials into contemporary spaces,” Ollig says of the filigree Turkish tea glasses and white ceramic votives. “It softens the whole look”—especially when they’re placed next to the homeowner’s more modern, square-shaped plates.

Ceramic vase clusters are filled with gold Eremurus, pincushion protea, miniature mandarins, orange poppies, free spirit roses, and fuchsia godetia. Fuchsia (an unconventional hue for autumn) introduces color to the neutral room, and pheasant feathers add a “cheeky” Thanksgiving vibe, Ollig says.

The custom light fixture in this LoHi contemporary dining room resembles floating glass votives and fills the voluminous two-story space with light. Because the chandelier has so much glass, Ollig opted for white ceramic vessels (including a Montes Doggett vase) for the centerpiece.

Most people don’t think to use tropical flowers in fall arrangements, Ollig says. But they’re a natural fit because of their bright, autumnal shades (see: yellow rattlesnake heliconia). “I like to mix them with cuts we commonly associate with fall, like orange sunflowers,” Ollig says. Oversize gourds (dipped in gold paint) add contemporary seasonality.

This article was originally published in 5280 Home Autumn 2014.
Cheryl Meyers
Cheryl Meyers
Cheryl Meyers is a contributing writer to 5280 Home, which means she gets to spend her days writing about Colorado’s most beautiful indoor spaces.