You guys already know that we like to keep all of our idle decorating objects in one cabinet that we lovingly refer to as the Decor Store for easy (and free) new arrangements whenever I get the urge:
So when I started jonesing for a new look for our dining room table, I looked no further than our trusty little collection of already-on-hand options. Here’s what the table looked like before the mini makeover (I did love having table-setting items right at arm’s reach, I just wanted something new…):
So I stashed the bowls and the silverware back in the kitchen and decided to keep the plant and the napkins for the green pops of color that they (literally) brought to the table. And I wasn’t quite ready to retire my favorite woven & glass cups so those stuck around too. But what else could I introduce to keep things interesting and maybe even a little romantic? One peek into the accessory cabinet- er, Decor Store- had us seeing red. Wine that is. A giant ziplock bag of collected wine corks (thanks to friends and neighbors who save theirs up for us- no we didn’t actually “earn” them all ourselves) caught my eye and a plan began to emerge. I love corks as vase filler, but did I have a larger vessel for the center of the table? Yessss, I quickly grabbed a cheap hurricane snagged a while back at Ikea and a pillar candle for the center. Here are my supplies all laid out before the super simple “assembly” process began:
But what’s that juice glass in front? Well, I introduced that after I tried putting the pillar candle and corks in the hurricane only to notice that it didn’t look as full or as dramatic as I’d hoped. See, by placing the glass upside-down under the pillar candle it became a stand of sorts and raised the candle up a few inches…
… it also took up a good amount of volume in the center of the hurricane so the next time I began to add the cork “vase filler” it instantly looked a lot more full. Score.
Here our new centerpiece bursting with corky goodness. Isn’t it funny how some collected corks, a juice glass we had hanging around, a pillar candle and an old Ikea hurricane can come together like they were meant to be?
I love how the woven basket-turned planter works with the woven cups and the corks for a natural and rugged texture that really complements the more polished looking ceramic candlesticks and the gleaming glass hurricane.
And speaking of those candlesticks that we snatched up at Goodwill for $1 a few months ago, we actually have a little oldie-but-a-goody taper candle tip to share with anyone who is at their wits’ end with a wobbly candle (because the last thing that you want a flaming stick to be is precarious). It’s actually something that John’s mom taught me in passing, and it has since come to the rescue many many times (and possibly saved Casa Petersik from going up in a cloud of smoke). Just light the wick of your candle a bit and drip some hot wax into the base of the candlestick. Then place your candle base in the candlestick (taking care that you’re inserting it so it looks straight and even) and the hot wax will bond to the bottom of the candle to hold it in place like glue.
Ta-daaa. No more obsessive candle straightening necessary. And no more fears of your new cork centerpiece going up in a fiery blaze. Wax on, guys. Wax on. And you gotta love how candles and wine corks keep the dining table feeling inviting and even a little, dare we say it, romantic…
So that’s our latest little mini makeover around these parts. Any favorite candle tips of your own? Any unusual vase filler suggestions or centerpiece solutions? We wanna know what’s living it up on your dining table.
Update: One of our readers replicated our corks-&-candles-in-a-hurricane idea using skinny taper candles instead of a big fat pillar candle and did note that they burned down a lot faster and posed a potential fire hazard if they weren’t being watched (since corks are certainly a flammable material if the flame burns down to that level). We definitely recommend using a large slow-burning pillar candle set about eight inches above the corks and never leaving it unattended. Safety first!
For some reason, this table setting evokes a captain’s table in a pirate ship with the wicker and cork (In a good way!) Very cool. I am going to steal your excellent Decor Store idea with due credit because that sounds like a good way to combat my obsessive need to display everything I own. Rock.
Carol from Indian Springs says
Love it! Clean, sophisticated and yes, even romantic! I’ve used all kinds of neat things as candle filler but in the summer with all the wonderful colors abounding, I like to use my old marbles. There are so many wonderful colors in them that I don’t have any problems finding some flowers to go with them. Actually, they were a ‘bachelor party’ gift to my husband since his buddies thought he had ‘lost’ his marbles by finally getting married at the ripe old age of 30. So when I use them not only are they fun to look at but a reminder of that fun party and our good friends not to mention our 27+ years of a happy marraige.
Amanda White says
Sherry, this vase is fabulous! I love how you took a regular little glass cup in the cupboard to give the candle some height and the corks around it are perfect!! It’s looks like something you bought out of a Pottery Barn store! Tres chic!
I forgot to water our flowers one day and one of our poor (new) gladiolus starting to lean in the heat and snapped in two places. I filled a glass olive jar (that I had already cleaned out and used as a vase in the past), tied a bow with twine around the rim and popped in two tall white gladiolus stalks. They look really pretty :)
Julianne Hendrickson says
I love that idea!! We collect wine corks as well and I have been wondering how I can display them *tastefully*. Thank You!
wow thats a cool cabinet!! the worst problem my boyfriend and i have in our house is clutter. your centerpiece looks great! cant even see our dining room table. we both work and when we get home, the table is a dumping ground for all our crap when we come home….needless to say, we dont actually eat at the table….blah to the clutter!! its a constant battle. btw, love your blog! if i didnt rent my house(and have a strict landlord who is older than dirt and therefore not good with change aka fresh coat of paint) i’d be using all your ideas!
Or, hold a lighter under the candle for 2-3 seconds, so the bottom softens a bit and then press it into the candle holder. It sticks that way, too, and you won’t have burnt candle wicks.
Ashlee at Prairie Cottage says
I have a large apothecary jar on my table full of wine corks. I always keep a sharpie close by and whenever we pop open a new bottle we write the day, event or some kind of message on the cork. That way there are always good memories on display!
Love the Decor Store idea! I have too many cute things to decorate with, but I can’t have them all out at once. The Decor Store is a perfect idea!
By the way, I have that same little blue fish! :)
I use stuff called stick-um candle adhesive to prevent wobbly candles. It’s easier to get out of the candle holder than stuck on wax when you want to put new candles in.
Good to know!
Love this idea! I think I might steal it and make my own tonight. :-) My husband and I collect corks too (only we drink all of the wine that goes along with them!)so here are two little projects that I did to use up some of the corks. I just bought small, super strong magnets and glued them to the back of the corks. Voila- cute cork magnets to go along with our “wine” themed kitchen! I also took an extra picture frame that I had lying around, removed the glass, and glued corks one right next to the other to the inside of the frame. It’s hanging in our kitchen and we use it as a cork board for notes to each other, pictures or grocery lists! Hope you can use these cheap but cute ideas.
Looks great! Where did you get your table runner?
Tar-jay of course! It’s a dead ringer for something identical that Pottery Barn sells for big bucks. Hope it helps. Happy Target shopping!
I had to laugh when I saw this post because we have this EXACT cork-filled centerpiece going on in our dining room right now. Right down to the ikea hurricane.
Anyway, thanks for the tip about the glass-under-the-candle trick. Right now, our candle is long enough that we don’t need it but I’ll keep in in mind when the candle burns down a bit.
Amy @ Renovation Innovation says
Fab tips! Great idea to heighten the candle by using a small glass under it – genius. Question – did you use your wax tip to secure the candle to the small glass to secure it in the hurricane? I would be worried that the candle would be easily knocked over into the corks (we have five dogs and anything is possible!).
We actually didn’t use the wax trick to adhere the candle to the little upside-down glass in the hurricane but it would definitely work. Great idea for a house with five dogs!
Oh, I LOVE your idea of storing your extra decor items. My kitchen has a surplus of cupboards…. :D
Love it! You’ve inspired me to throw some corks in my vase on our dining room table that has some willow branches in it :)
kasey at thriftylittleblog says
I love a good mini-makeover! That’s a smart idea to get friends to help add to your cork collection. Thanks for the tricks.
City Chic - Jamie says
Excellent way to use those corks I’ve been saving for a special project :)
I love this idea! I must try it at home. I love wine corks as well.
Kevin M says
Looks great, I have some river pebbles laying around that would work great too in lieu of the corks.
Alicia M says
Great idea! I have all of those supplies at my house and plan on copying you soon! I too have a “Decor Store” cabinet (actually 2) that I should combine so that I have all of my odds and ends decor in one handy place. You have the best ideas! Good work :)
I love the stack of white bowls in your “before.” Would you mind sharing where you found them?
They’re from Target! But we got them a while ago so they might be seasonal (so keeping an eye out for them for a while might be the best way to snag some of your own). Hope it helps!
Jen Z. says
Now I want a Decor Store. What a great idea Sherry! My husband would be happy if I want shopping at home and it didn’t cost us a thing. ;-) And I love the cork filler. We don’t drink wine, but I really love the filler. Once we finish our Den, I’m going to put together a Decor Store (aka: cabinet). Thanks for the great ideas. :-D
1. Decor Store – what a great idea!
2. How funny that so many people are inspired by the wine corks right now! I, too, have a wine cork centerpiece going on right now.
3. Sherry – do you always keep your table centerpiece stocked with dishes like that? It looks great, but I can imagine it might be a pain? Or do you not use the dishes except for display purposes?
Jane- We loved keeping our dishes on the table to use ’em! We had napkins, cups and dishes- even silverware right there… so setting the table was quick and easy!
Carolyn- Pop them in the freezer! We love reusing glass candle holders by freezing them for around 20 minutes (the wax shrinks and pops right out). Hope it helps.
Lovely, as always!
Great idea for getting the candles to stay put. My question is, how do you get them out? I have a pair of candlesticks that I love, but we let the candles burn down too low last time we used them. Now I can’t get them out! Any ideas?
Sherry please help!
I’m not sure if somehting changed with the website but I can’t view any pictures since the 7/25 post. Do I need to change something on my settings?
For a day or two we temporarily stashed our photos on Flickr to keep our site from crashing, and we have a feeling that your work computer may block flickr images? It might be something else that’s going on with our server, but either way those photos are back up and viewable to most people so if you can clear your browser’s cache you should be able to see them too. If you do clear out the cache and you still can’t see them it’s possible that it might just take a few days for your computer to “catch up” and show those images for you (and if you can’t clear the cache it should clear itself in a few days). Hope it helps! Please let us know if you still can’t see images by Monday. Oh and you might want to try going to http://www.hidemyass.com (odd name, great service) which sometimes allows people to access our site and see the pics when they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Hope it helps!
OMG what a handy tip about the candles! I had tried blue tac but if you’re using glass candle holders, you can see it at the bottom. Not to mention it looses it’s tacciness after a while especially with wax envolved.
Thanks for the tip! I will try it when i reset our table.
Way cool! I have those same glasses with the wicker on them only a little larger!
I really enjoy your creative table settings. Have you ever thought of doing a post on dressing a dresser? I have three white malm dressers, and I am always looking for new ideas to add style and structure to my bedroom’s version of the designed dining room table. Anyway, thanks for all the great ideas!
Ooh great suggestion! We’ll put in on our ever-growing topic list and hopefully tackle it soon. Sounds fun!
Michele Daggar says
I love those woven glasses. Can I be a pest and ask where you got them? I think you may have mentioned it in a previous post, but I’m a lazy gal and don’t want to look!
Sherry, you’ve probably mentioned this in some other post — but where did you get the glasses with the wicker holders?
I grabbed those on super sale at Sur La Table (always check the back “sale” table there for some great finds!).
I love the Decor Store, the Cork Centerpiece and the encouragement to keep updating things. I need to make some changes around here!
Consultant Calamities says
Very cool!! I should pay more attention to dressing up our table…once in a while I do flowers, but I should do something more creative!
I’m a local fan (in Woodlake) and I’ve used corks to make drink coasters and hot pads (just hot glue them together!). We’re big winery fans and learned that nearly every winery will have a huge bag of corks laying around and that most are happy to give some to you if you need them. Cooper in Louisa was especially accommodating!
I love the Decor Store idea! I have all the elements, just not in one place. This will be a fun and free project.
Also, where did you get the clear canister set in the pics? Are they glass or plastic?
Those three containers that you see are from West Elm and they’re glass. Totally handy for things like flour, sugar, salt, rice, cereal, etc. Hope it helps!
Jennie Gift says
Is it sad that I could fill three hurricanes with corks? I have been saving them for a while – doesn’t hurt that my husband sells wine for a living too. Great idea. Thanks for the inspiration.
Sarah G says
Another local fan here! I have to say since finding your blog you guys have inspired me to get working on projects I have had lying around my house for a while. I have refinished furniture, recovered cushions, rearranged furniture, etc. My husband thinks I am crazy, but I have been having so much fun, so THANK YOU!! I also use corks as fillers for different vases and jars I have. Another suggestion is to use coffee beans. I love the beautiful rich brown color they add. (And the aroma) :)
I second Johearn in wanting a post about how to “dress” a dresser. I have two Malm dressers and they need some life!! Suggestions and pictures would be great!
I love it! Mainly because those were my wedding centerpieces! Another wine DIY we used for our wedding were recycled wine bottles that my husband cut the bottom’s off and we put votives inside and tied a ribbon around the neck… so pretty and so simple! I don’t really know how to link pics, otherwise I would send some along.
Feel free to upload photos to Flickr or Shutterfly and add the link in your comment. That’s the easiest way to share things… and your wine-related wedding decor sounds so fun!
Hey Sherry, great work! Love the cork idea – would have never thought of that. Completely off topic but I saw something today that immediately made me think of you (apologies if that sounds a bit stalker-ish) – http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5397008
Cannot get over those porcelain mixed nuts. Seriously I love them. Thanks so much for the link!
Oooo…just loved this post! Everything about it.
This looks great! It does look romantic :) You might like my post yesterday – a list of 50 things to put in apothecary jars (or in this case, a hurricane vase!).
I love the bowls! May I ask where you got those from? Also, what is the name of your granite color? I’ve been looking for light colored granites with no luck! So, I would LOVE to know!
The bowls are from Target. They’re from a while back and might be seasonal so if you don’t see them now just check back every few months or so. Happy hunting!
As for the granite it’s called Pashmina from Home Depot. We’ve heard that they’re since discontinued it but any local stone yard should have something extremely similar (describe it as marble-like, veiny, and white & gray with granite flecks). Hope it helps!
I love your blog – I’ve been reading for a couple months now. I love using wine corks around the house. I’ve been saving mine for a couple of years now and I used them last fall in my dining table centerpiece. I mixed the wine corks with coffee beans and candles in a big hurricane glass. I got so many comments on it – and the coffee beans made the area smell great!
You are so stinkin creative! You come up with such great ideas! This is a really cute table setting.
I love this idea! It’s making me think differently about the stuff that’s laying around my house!
Visiting extended family in Atlanta a few months ago, I noticed a huge old table-mounted corkscrew in the kitchen and a bowl of corks nearby. I asked if they had any plans for the corks and they didn’t… so I ordered this kit from Wine.com (http://www.wine.com/V6/Cork-Trivet-Kit/gift/80193/detail.aspx), took the corks home with me to NYC, and made a trivet for the “donors,” which I sent back to them. The remaining corks are waiting for us to drink a few more bottles of vino so that we’ll have a trivet, too. Something fun and inexpensive (and useful) to do with your corks so you can enjoy them for years to come! I’m sure you guys could make your own frame for the trivet but living in Manhattan, I lack power tools…
Jen Z. says
I just came across this on Bed Bath & Beyond. Thought some of you might like to look at it to give you an idea for using cork. So cute.
Very cute! Great finds guys.