Like many mothers, Mother Nature has a creative sense of style -- and pinecones are one of her many versatile and ornate byproducts. Nature-inspired decor, such as the earthy pinecone, can lend an organic touch to any room, or can be that one rustic, quirky element needed in even the most modern family home. Look to seasonal and daily decorative ideas for the kitchen, living room and bedroom, using pinecones as a cute, eccentric material.
1. For the Dining Room or Kitchen
For a dinner party or a small family reunion, invite a few pinecones to join in the form of place cards. Have the kids help with this project since it could not be simpler. Place a pinecone in front of each guest's plate. Print your guests' names on small pieces of card stock. Tuck the cards into the pinecones' fingerlike seed scales. Rather than names on paper, tuck in a photo or your child's hand-painted rendition of the person who will be sitting in each spot. Expand on the natural theme by partly filling a clear vase with pinecones as the start of a centerpiece; hang some by the arms of a chandelier, using hemp or jute ribbons; or line up glitter-dusted pinecones on a windowsill. Use any of these three decorative elements as everyday decor, if desired. Nature's materials can come with uninvited guests: insects. Before decorating them, toss pinecones in the freezer for at least 24 hours as a pesticide-free way to avoid undesirable visitors.
2. For the Living Room
A living room’s large, sun-filled window is an opportunity for decoration. Tie or glue a variety of random-length ribbons to the peduncle or stem of assorted-sized pinecones, and dangle them from the upper window frame. Or tie a pinecone every foot or so along one ribbon to span the window’s midsection. Decorate a bookcase with pinecones that you spray-painted in hues that go with your decor; group a few in a clear bowl, set some on a stack of books, and nestle three or four around ornaments. PInecones can be a little prickly and a choking hazard, so keep them out of reach of any inquisitive toddlers, infants and pets.
3. For the Bedroom
A bare tree branch with a few pinecones still attached makes quaint wall decor over the bed, or above a large piece of artwork or a grouping of small pictures. Consider gluing pinecones to the frame of a wall mirror. Rather than all tea lights or votive candles, set a pinecone inside every-other votive holder in a row. For the 5- to 10-year-olds' rooms, create dresser-top pinecone people with glued-on cardboard feet, googly pompom eyes stuffed between scales, and silly craft-foam hats.
4. Seasonal Decorations
This year, reach outside the proverbial box for seasonal and holiday furnishings. Instead of a fall wreath for the front door, tie a handful of wide ribbons together at one end and dangle a festive bunch of hand-painted or natural pinecones on the other. As Christmas tree ornaments, push bright-colored mini pompoms between the scales. Or create a "bouquet" by dipping pinecones into melted wax crayons or beeswax; drill or punch a small hole in the wide ends for glue-dabbed skewers; and arrange them as flowers in a vase with greenery. The bouquet makes a thoughtful anytime gift, or an unusual coffee-table arrangement.