15 DIY Funeral Table Decoration & Centerpiece Ideas


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There are many ways to save money during a funeral service or a repast, and creating your own funeral table decorations is one of the best ways. These decorations don’t have to be complicated or expensive to be memorable and meaningful. 

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Whether you decorate each table with something special or have a centerpiece central to the venue that tells someone’s life story, there are so many options to choose from. From DIY memory boards to making your own flower arrangements, there are so many simple ways to save money on your funeral budget. 

Like most things in life, it’s about your intentions, not how much you spend. You can create something truly touching and special without going overboard on your funeral expenses. To spark your inspiration, here are 15 DIY funeral table decorations and centerpiece ideas.  

Virtual funeral tip: If you're planning a virtual funeral using a service like GatheringUs, you can display your table decorations in the background for your online guests to see. 

Funeral Table Decorations With Flowers

One of the easiest ways to put together your own funeral decorations is to use flowers or other plants. Not only are flowers a reminder of the cycle of life, but they’re also a touch of brightness on an otherwise difficult day. 

» MORE: Honoring your loved one doesn't have to be expensive. Sign up for free savings.

1. Mason jar vases

What you’ll need: Mason jars, flowers, twine (optional), and rocks (optional)

One simple idea is to make DIY vases out of mason jars. Mason jars are inexpensive, and you can repurpose existing ones or find a selection at any craft store. From there, fill your mason jars with your favorite flowers. 

They don’t have to be expensive, as long as they’re arranged nicely, they’ll make the perfect centerpiece. Add rocks to the bottom for stability and tie twine for a sweet bow. 

2. Succulents

What you’ll need: Succulents of your choice

Another alternative to flowers that still has the same symbolism is to use succulents. Not only are these inexpensive, but they look modern and fun.

This fresh take on flowers is perfect to honor someone who wasn’t afraid to think outside of the box.

3. Wine or beer bottles

What you need: Empty and clean wine or beer bottles and flowers

Instead of a traditional vase, use an empty wine or beer bottle as your table decoration. Remove any labels to give them a consistent appearance. Fill each bottle with a single rose or another statement flower to add a touch of beauty to any table. 

4. Paper flowers

What you need: Colored craft paper and a container (vase, basket, etc.)

If you’re worried about finding affordable fresh flowers right before the funeral, paper flowers are a great alternative.

These don’t fade or wilt, so they also make the perfect funeral favors. There are many simple tutorials online that explain how to fold paper flowers, which can create an impressive appearance. 

5. Watering can 

What you need: Metal watering can and flowers

For someone who always loved tending to their garden and spending time outside, a watering can makes the perfect DIY centerpiece for flowers. It’s as simple as using the watering can as a vase for your favorite flowers.

6. Pumpkin vase

What you need: Pumpkin and flowers

For a seasonal funeral or to honor someone who loved fall, a pumpkin vase is a touching tribute.

All you need is a pumpkin with the interior carved out like you would a pumpkin at Halloween. Insert fall flowers like you would in a vase for a unique look. 

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7. Dried flowers

What you need: Dried flowers and extras (ribbon, fabric, etc.)

You can create a stunning tablescape with dried flowers. Press the flowers and hang them upside down to create the look you’re going for. Scatter the flowers on the table center along with any extras like fabric, ribbon, or candles. 

Funeral Table Decorations Without Flowers

While flowers are always a good idea at a funeral, they’re not the only way to honor someone’s life. With so many celebration of life party ideas out there, how do you honor a life well-lived without needing to purchase any flowers for the table? Try these ideas on for size. 

8. Photos through the years

What you’ll need: Photos of the deceased throughout their life and picture frames

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. If you want to show the full story of someone’s life, why not do it through photos? 

To do this, have photos of different stages of the deceased’s life printed professionally. You can have one for their infancy, childhood, teen years, wedding, and so on. Add these photos to several frames, and you’ve got yourself quite the story. 

9. Candles

What you’ll need: Candles and lighters

In many cultures, it’s common to light a candle to honor someone’s life. This is done not only at the funeral, but also on the death anniversary on special holidays.

You can evoke this same sentiment with a collection of candles on each table. To add more drama, ensure the candles are of different sizes.

10. Balloons

What you’ll need: Balloons

Balloons can also become a centerpiece when arranged properly. From floating balloons above each table to using smaller balloons in the deceased’s favorite color, there are so many ways to use this inexpensive decoration. 

11. Memory tree

What you need: Small plant or tree and photos

It’s hard to sum up the memories of someone’s life in a few words. There often isn’t a clear narrative, as life crisscrosses its way along the page. Using a small tree or plant, you can hang the photos from someone’s life to form a memory tree. What a way to honor the tree of life!

» MORE: Everyone's life is worth celebrating. These tools keep their memory close.

12. Movies or records

What you need: Movies or records and extras (photos, candles, etc.)

For a film buff or music lover, honor their taste in movies, TV, or film with their favorites as centerpieces.

You can easily arrange small movie posters, vintage records, and other collections as a centerpiece in their own right. Add candles, photos, and flowers for an added touch. 

13. Books

What you need: Books

If your loved one was an avid reader, make this love known by using their favorite books in the DIY funeral table decorations.

You can use any books to honor their love for reading, or actually choose some of their favorites from their library. To add another element, include printed quotes from their favorite literature. 

14. Lanterns

What you need: Lanterns and candles

If a candle on its own doesn’t seem like enough for your funeral decorations, use lanterns.

These are inexpensive and easy to find, but they look elegant and expensive. Include a candle in each to honor the light of the deceased, which continues on after death.

15. Champagne

What you need: Champagne, drinking flutes, and extras (glitter, wine, confetti, etc.)

Last but not least, cheers to a life well lived with a champagne centerpiece. Not only perfect for a celebration of life, but for a more traditional funeral as well. 

There’s no right or wrong way to grieve. For many, it’s helpful to remember that those we love want us to continue on with our lives even after they’re gone. Champagne or another fun drink is a simple reminder that life is worth celebrating. 

Honor Someone’s Life with DIY Funeral Decorations

It’s no secret that funerals are expensive. With so many people not sure what to expect at a funeral in the first place, there’s no pressure to go over your budget when it comes to creating decorations. There are several simple DIY table decorations and centerpieces that help you honor someone’s life and legacy. 

Taking the time to create something by hand, no matter how small, shows how much you care. It is these small, personal touches that add up to big memories. The funeral is the final chance for friends and family to say their goodbyes. These decorations help them do just that. 

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