For a nontraditional centerpiece, fill bowls with sand and top with lichen, a pretty fungus-alga. Search for pieces of it on the ground and on rocks; some types can even grow on concrete, limestone, and sandstone. To complete the look, forgo a standard table runner in favor of an artfully placed piece of driftwood.
• If you find a pine branch dripping with cones, set it in a large cylindrical vase, says floral designer Robert Palomo of Bardin Palomo, in New York City.
• Slip a pretty leaf between two glass plates to add seasonal charm to a table setting.