Dining Table Centerpiece

Help! What are your thoughts on an everyday centerpiece for a dining table?


Unlike a lot of homes, we do not have an eat-in kitchen, so when it is too cold or rainy to eat on our covered porch, we eat most of our meals at our table in the dining room. Because of this and the fact that we are not fancy people, our dining room isn't very formal. Depending on the season or when the mood strikes, I change out our placements every few months. Right now, we're using these round water hyacinth placemats, which I love because they are so classic, versatile, and easy to dress up or down.

Especially during this time of year, I struggle with whether to have a centerpiece and if so, what I should use. I think the table looks bare without a little something in the middle. Starting in September, I normally have pretty bowl of fresh apples from the farmers' market, which is simple and practical, and through the holidays, I tend to rotate through several festive centerpieces. Otherwise, I normally use a vase of fresh flowers. However, because of the scale of the table and room, I tend to gravitate towards more substantial arrangements, which can get a little expensive. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject - Do dining room tables need a centerpiece for everyday meals? Are fake floral arrangements tacky? Do you have any suggestions for centerpieces that are not flowers?