Vase Fillers: How to Decorate with a Terrarium without Plants

I love using a terrarium for everything but growing plants. I have limited luck with indoor plants, and creating a terrarium is too much work for the high risk of failure I’d expect. Besides, I like changing my mind too much to put something in my terrarium that I can’t easily remove later. Instead, I like to use fillers (as you’ve seen). As I explained in my winter décor post, I was having trouble coming up with a filler for winter décor. I turned to Google for inspiration…

If you google “terrarium décor” you get terrariums used as terrariums. Not helpful. But if you google “Vase filler” you get TONS of creative ideas. I don’t really want to have to dig through Google every time I want to decorate, so here are two great ideas for every season:

Winter Vase Fillers: Cranberries and Ornaments

For Christmas, try jingle bells, cranberries, fake snow, or silver-tipped pine cones. I particularly like the cranberries and the layering effect of using fake snow and then another vase filler.

I also have a soft spot in my heart for solid color ball ornaments. Antiqued mercury glass ones are the best, but packages like these  work just as well and are very cheap at Wal-Mart or Meijer. Not to mention you get your pick of color options!

Spring Vase Fillers: Moss and Birch Wood Rounds

For spring, use moss with a candle. Or basically anything with moss:

A woodland theme goes along with the idea of a budding spring season as well, so get inspired by these birch rounds from Pottery Barn:

Summer Fillers: Sea Shells, Dried Peas, and Dried Beans

Green is a great color for summer—like a bright lime green. Nothing too mossy or spring-like. Enter dried split peas and bay leaves. Perfect! If you are looking for a cheap white filler—you are still in luck. See how great northern beans would work, or you can even use white rice.

Of course, sea shells are a classic choice—my mom pulls out all her great Florida sea shells for summer, and they look great in a basket and vases in the living room:

Fall Vase Fillers: Wine Corks and Crimped Book Pages

What is more romantic than wine by the fire in the fall? Enter wine corks as a vase filler. Also, they’re free. So that’s nice, too.

Of course, crimped book pages are beautiful and simple as well. The vintage look goes well with wood and autumn tones but can easily transfer to almost every other season:

So those are a handful ideas for vase fillers and terrariums. What unique vase fillers do you use or love?


After Christmas Winter Decorations

This is long overdue! Christmas is over, and I never had time to decorate for Christmas. It’s such a bummer because I love  Christmas decor. I am determined, though, to still decorate for winter. Not Christmas, which is pretty easy (red candles, greenery, and you’re set) but late winter to early spring. Something that will match January, Valentine’s day, and the rainy, just-starting-to-get-green March. Here’s what I ended up doing:

Lots of silver. oh, and a new picture frame. $3 from Walmart, and it looks pretty good!

Lots of silver. oh, and a new picture frame. $3 from Walmart, and it looks pretty good!

Luke got me some mercury glass candle holders I had been dying to have from TJ Maxx, so I used those as my starting point. From there, I added white candles which I had on hand. My idea was to use mainly silver and white with a touch of another color (perhaps green or blue). I could have used blue candles but didn’t for two reasons:

  1. I don’t have blue candles
  2. I don’t really like blue. I only like it as a very subtle accent color.

Since the candles were unusually tall, I put the terrarium on one of the large books on the other side of the painting so that the heights were staggered but closer together. Now all I needed was a filler for the terrarium….

I loved the silver, white, and cream ornament balls on the stoneware plate in this picture:

I also loved these paper stars covered in glitter:

These are some frosted pine cones that I considered as well. Perhaps glitter pine cones? Is that tacky or on-trend these days?

Unfortunately, I waited too long after Christmas to get a good deal on the white, cream, and silver ornaments—there were perfectly good and cheap ones at Meijer! So instead I ended up working on making silver mercury glass pears. I got the idea from Pottery Barn:

I debated on going with glitter or silver leaf—here’s a great tutorial for coating fake fruit in glitter. But while glitter might have been easier, I really, really wanted these to match my mercury glass. So I went with silver leaf. Tutorial on the pear making process coming soon! Spoiler alert: It took a couple of hours, but I loved every minute of the craftiness.

How to Decorate for Different Seasons Without all the Money and Hassle

I love changing my decor for the seasons. It means that every four months, I have an excuse to go and be create and create something new out of my apartment space. I think the love of it comes from helping my mom decorate for every season–she has a whole bin of decor for every season (well, more than one bin for Christmas). I particularly loved how she would change the mantel. The only trouble is that I don’t have a lot of money or space to spend on buy a whole new set of decorations four times a year. I’m lucky if I can afford two small boxes for all my decorating! I also don’t have a fireplace or mantel.

So instead, I’ve created a system that relies on a core group of decorations and locations, and a rotating set of candles and other things that fit around this core. And I reuse the same items in different ways for different seasons. I use our awesome and cheap entertainment center as my mantel or main decorating space. For example, here is this autumn’s decorations:

This is the top of my entertainment center, where I usually trade out seasonal decor

The Base

In the picture above, the Van Gogh print, books, white candle holder, and clear terrarium work together as my base. My rotational group includes the candles, what goes inside the terrarium, and other decor that I place around these things (this season I took a more minimalistic approach, so that’s not quite relevant here).

The Candles

I use orange candles in autumn, green candles in spring, and white candles in summer and winter. I got the candle pedestal for my wedding. It is, of course, from Pottery Barn. I love how it gives more height to the overall look; however, I think I might need to find another white element to place around the terrarium to balance out the colors (since there isn’t any other pure white on there this season).

Pottery Barn Candle Pedestal

The Terrarium

Every season varies what the terrarium will hold. I’ve used antique globe ornaments, moss and a bird’s nest, and now whole nuts. I got the idea from something I saw about roasted acorns and this picture on Pinterest that used coffee beans:

Image via Style Me Pretty

I actually set these nuts out last winter in a bowl with a nutcracker, so I didn’t have to buy any acorns or risk a bug-infested house picking my own acorns from the tree outside (I thought about it, but I’ve had bad experiences with that. Particularly an ant-infested dorm room). Here’s my version:

Terrarium with Mixed Nuts

I’m really happy with it. Here’s another:

And here’s a picture of the entertainment center as a whole. It really gives the room a center, and I love that we decided t oput old books on the shelf for an antique look:

What are some of your staple fall decorations?