Your Thanksgiving table isn’t just a place to eat a delicious home cooked meal and pumpkin pie with your family this holiday season, it’s also the perfect setting to create a gorgeous tablescape for everyone to admire.
This doesn’t have to be a huge endeavor. With just a few simple decorating tips and ideas, you can turn your table into a beautiful, elegant, place to give thanks with your family. These 15 simple Thanksgiving table decor ideas can easily be incorporated this season.
Planning for the Perfect Thanksgiving Table
As with any tablescape, you want to consider a few things in order to pull together a cohesive and functional table for your guest. Start with deciding your overall theme, whether that’s sticking to a specific color palette or certain style, like traditional or modern.
Then, set the stage with your foundation—tablecloth and placemats. I recommend keeping these components neutral and letting the rest of your table elements do the talking.
For many, the easiest centerpiece to add to your Thanksgiving table is a festive floral arrangement. If you’re not great at putting them together yourself, your local florist is a good place to look for pre-bundled bouquets.
Next, choose your dish ware and flatware. Try not to choose anything too busy, but also make sure they compliment the rest of your table design. I tend to stick to a neutral serving plate and add a pop of color with a pretty salad plate.
Lastly, create a stunning centerpiece using nature-inspired elements, candlesticks, or fresh flowers. Get creative, but remember, less is more!
And don’t forget to make your Thanksgiving day guest feel special. Adding a personalized place card, a simple menu, or even some festive napkin rings can really make a difference.
1. Choosing a Color Scheme
The best place to start when deciding how to decorate your Thanksgiving table is by choosing a color scheme. Ideally, you’d want it to compliment your overall home decor, but you can also have a little fun with it and add a splash of color.
For a more sophisticated and clean look, consider neutrals with a touch of gold. You may even bring in a bit of green with a floral centerpiece and other natural elements.
If you opt for a more traditional Thanksgiving color pallet, choose more warm shades of orange, brown, and yellow. You can balance it out with a few blue napkins or dishware to create a cozy atmosphere, perfect for your family gathering.
Simply put, choose a combination of colors that reflects your personal style and overall home decor for your gathering. Whether you choose a mix of white and gold, neutral color palette, greens, or blue and warm colors, you’re sure to pull together a stunning and inviting Thanksgiving table.
2. Modern & Elegant Pumpkins
It’s not Thanksgiving if you don’t include a pumpkin or two! But we’re not talking bright orange, plastic, jack-o-lantern. When deciding to add pumpkins to your tablescape, be sure to keep it simple and elegant, not tacky.
I created a beautiful floral arrangement using a heirloom green pumpkin (DIY directions below) one year that was visually appealing and the talk of the table!
You can find inexpensive mini pumpkins at the craft store and paint them either a neutral color, wrap them in a beautiful printed fabric, or add a pop of color for visual appeal to your centerpiece.
3. Floral Arrangements and Greenery
Another simple idea to add a little greenery to your table that you might not think of is with eucalyptus branches—this would compliment those little pumpkins perfectly.
I created this pretty pumpkin centerpiece using a green pumpkin, eucalyptus, white roses and some dark red mums that I picked up at Trader Joe’s. A few of you have asked for a tutorial (it’s so easy!) so I’ve included a video below for you.
You can also see the first version I made for my fall kitchen here.
4. Plates and Glassware
Thanksgiving is a special holiday, so bring out the fancy silverware and plates! The glassware and dinner plates you choose can make a big difference to your table.
I picked up new salad plates on clearance at Pier1, along with the white rattan chargers. I love that the plates are all different. The colors tie in perfectly with my centerpiece and can be used throughout the season since they’re not covered in turkeys or anything that seems very specifically “Thanksgiving”.
Depending on your overall table theme, you can either choose to keep your plates and glassware neutral to let the other elements on the table shine, or create a cohesive look with a variety of prints, colors, and textures.
5. Adding Textures and Patterns
Speaking of textures and patterns, one of the simplest ways to do this is the use of linens and tablecloths. Burlap is an excellent option for a more rustic touch, while a crisp white linen tablecloth creates the perfect canvas for an elegant look.
Your plates and charges, like the ones I mentioned above, can also be a great place to start adding in texture. Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns, as long as they complement each other.
Layering these different textures and patterns helps give your table depth that creates a cozy and inviting space for your visitors.
6. Incorporating Candles
Create a warm and cozy ambiance to your Thanksgiving table but adding a few candles. Especially if you’re serving Thanksgiving dinner, incorporating these into your decor will really set the stage for your gathering.
Choose candles of various heights and sizes to create a little visual interest. Looks for pillar candles, votives, or even taper candles for a more traditional look.
Place a few tall candlesticks amongst some greenery garland for a simple, yet elegant table.
7. Harvest Centerpiece
You don’t need to recreate an entire cornucopia when creating a harvest centerpiece. By just incorporating a few seasonal colors with a variety of gourds, apples, fall leaves, pears, and branches.
I love this non-traditional Thanksgiving color scheme that also works well for the winter season, too. The mixture of artichokes and greenery pair so well with the plum and wine colors of the eggplants, beets and candlesticks.
Sometimes you need to think outside the box to create some really beautiful visuals.
8. Napkins and Utensils
Napkins are a super simple way to not only bring a little texture and pattern to your holiday table, but they can add a bit of elegance depending on how you fold them. The pretty blue napkins are from Serena & Lily and have the cutest little detailing on the side.
Double on on your napkin decorations by creating a silverware pocket sleeve fold, or a simple fall leaf shape by adding a decorative napkin ring. There are tons of great folding techniques that can really add a personal touch to your dining room table.
While this technically doesn’t count as “decor”, the way you arrange your utensils on the table can make a big difference to the overall look. If you’re setting up a traditional Thanksgiving table, opt for the traditional place setting technique.
And for such a special gathering, I would recommend bringing out the cloth napkins. This will really add a classy element to your feast.
9. Place Cards
Make your dinner guest feel extra special by taking the time to create a special place card just for them. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just a simple folded card with their name will do.
You can get creative by using fruit, pine cones, or even those mini pumpkins. If you don’t want to assign seats, simply tie a card that says “Happy Thanksgiving” or other simple sentiment onto these objects.
A fun way to build on the idea of gratitude for the holiday, is creating a place card that doubles as a Thanksgiving activity. Write the name of each guest on the top line and leave the rest blank for them to fill out what they are thankful for, then during dinner, go around and have everyone read their answer.
10. Making Use of Natural Elements
Utilizing natural elements into your Thanksgiving table decor is not only budget-friendly, but adds a touch of warmth and style to your holiday gathering.
I touched a bit on these types of elements when talking about the harvest centerpiece, but you can take this in so many other directions.
Add a sprig of rosemary or thyme into a beautiful folded napkin on top of each place setting, or sprinkle in some acorns and pinecones to fill in the empty spaces within your table decor.
Instead of flowers, opt for some simple branches mixed in with some light greenery in a vase.
Then add some color by using fruits and vegetables as part of your table decor. Apples, pears, and small pumpkins, as mentioned before, all bring beautiful color and texture to your table.
11. Touch of Gold or Copper
There’s something about adding just a little bit of gold to my Thanksgiving table that I can’t resist.
This gold flatware is vintage (if you’re in the market for new flatware, I love these gold ones) and really pops when placed amongst the blues and greens in my table.
Unless you’re choosing to do a gold and neutral themed table, I would stick to a small amount of gold or copper. The mixture of metalics and natural elements always creates a stunning look.
Besides flatware, incorporate touches of gold through some votive candles holders, a few gold spray-painted branches or leaves mixed in with your flowers, or plates that have a gold trim to them.
12. Charcuterie Platter
This is such a fun and multi-purpose way to create a stunning Thanksgiving table! Whether you make your own or buy one, placing a charcuterie platter in the middle of your Thanksgiving dinner table as a centerpiece will really impress your guest.
Presentation is key, so choose a beautiful serving board or tray, and get creative with your arrangement. Incorporating elements like figs, fresh herbs, and olives will help bring it all together.
Don’t forget to include cheese knives and small tongs for easy access. These small details will ensure your charcuterie platter not only looks great but is also easy to enjoy.
13. Kraft Paper Table Runner
A simple, and budget-friendly, way to add texture and interest to your table is with a kraft paper table runner. You can pick up a roll at your local craft store, measure your table, and cut accordingly.
The versatility of using kraft paper makes it so fun to work with as an easy table runner. You can customize it by adding some elegant calligraphy, use it to write your guests names on it, or simple use it as a base to build your centerpiece over.
Place long layers of eucalyptus branches on top along with candlesticks and a few small gourds or pumpkins for a simple yet elegant look.
The best part about using a Kraft paper table runner is the clean up!
14. Wheat Bundles
Wheat, being a symbol of abundance and harvest, perfectly compliments the spirit of Thanksgiving. You can find bundles of wheat stems at your local craft store or online.
Simply tie them together with raffia, wine, or a decorative ribbon and stand the wheat bundle on your table for a creative vertical centerpiece.
Alternatively, lay the bundle down on a decorative wooden board, add some seasonal fruits, nuts, and greenery for a more bountiful look, or add it to a simple ceramic vase.
Keep it simple if you decide to use wheat bundles, as the natural beauty will lend itself to the warmth and elegance of your gathering.
15. Kids Table
If you’re setting up a separate kids table, be sure to make it extra special for them, as well.
This would be a great place to also use your kraft paper as the table cloth and include some writing utensils so they can keep occupied and creative during dinner.
Personalize each child’s place card with a fun Thanksgiving theme and include some fun, interactive activies, like printable themed madlibs, or gratitude cards.
Remember to use kid-friendly dishes and utensils to make it easier and safer for the little ones to enjoy their dinner.
I hope all of these simple Thanksgiving table decorations gave you some inspiration to create a beautiful setting for the fall season. So while you’re working on your Thanksgiving menu, don’t forever to dress up your dining table to make it an extra special day with your family members.