When it comes to Thanksgiving table decor, timeless and classy doesn’t have to mean fussy and expensive. Here are some of my favorite affordable (or free!) ideas for decorating a Thanksgiving table.
With Canadian Thanksgiving firmly behind us and American Thanksgiving on the horizon, now is the perfect time to talk a little about Thanksgiving Table Decor and some table setting ideas.
Since our holiday in Canada is so much earlier than in the U.S., it can be fun to show off what we did to celebrate and I always hope to pass on a little bit of inspiration in the form of decorating ideas to my neighbors to the south while I’m at it. Many of my favorite traditions and decoration ideas involve using what I already have in the house, and pairing it with the bounty of autumnal beauty that’s available to us outside at this time of year.
Last year, for Thanksgiving 2022, it was reported that much of Gen Z actually resorted to eating pizza for their Thanksgiving dinner because of cost-of-living issues, lack of kitchen space, as well as a feeling of not having confidence in the kitchen to prepare the whole traditional feast. If you’ve been paying attention to increases in food prices for 2023, you’ll probably notice that things aren’t much better this year, and it might be pepperoni and cheese instead of turkey and cranberry again for them on their holiday table.
A simple meal is no excuse for a sad table, though, and no reason not to celebrate with a little flair. Read on for a few ideas that will work no matter what meal you’re serving.
A Simple but Impactful Thanksgiving Centrepiece
It’s my strong belief that no matter what your budget is or what you’re serving for dinner, you should be able to sit down to a beautiful, festive table with those you love this Thanksgiving and there’s a way to make that happen. Decorating a table with beautiful table settings and a lovely centrepiece can be easy and affordable if you aim to decorate with a little crafty elegance and a plan. One idea is to place a pumpkin on top of a cake stand and surround it with autumn branch clippings. If you don’t own a cake stand, you can also make your own with simple craft store supplies.
See more from this space: Timeless Farmhouse Dining Room
One Older Centrepiece Variation to Try With Your Place Settings
Here’s a similar centrepiece idea from our Thanksgiving table a few years ago. I used a large ceramic crock in the centre of the table, layered in a plaid napkin, then tucked in a large rattan pumpkin for lots of autumn texture. Beautiful large bowls to match your tableware with candles and foliage in fall tones would work just as well if you don’t have a crock in your supply of decorations.
See also: Top Ten Dollar Store Fall Decor Finds
Layered Napkins are Perfect for Thanksgiving Table Decor
This is an idea swiped from all the best tablescape experts: Napkin rings are a simple solution for displaying your beautiful table linens at each place setting, but if you want to create a look that’s a bit more elevated when you set the table, layer two different napkins in contrasting colors before tucking them into your favorite napkin-ring and setting them down on your dinnerware.
See also: How to do a Simple Knot Napkin Fold
Celebrate With Vintage Glassware
You can come across beautiful vintage glassware for a song at thrift stores, estate sales, or hidden in the basement of your family members’ homes. Oftentimes, older glasses come in interesting shapes and sizes for different beverages that aren’t so common at the modern dinner table. If you come across a beautiful glass in an odd shape, use that as inspiration to use it in a fun and creative way on your table. These glasses were found in the attic of our 120-year-old farmhouse at were the perfect size to display baby boo pumpkins.
Thanksgiving Table Decor With Gathered Greenery
Nature’s bounty can provide so much inspiration during the autumn months, and nothing creates a cozy, moody atmosphere quite like fall branches just starting to change colors. Search your own gardens or local nature areas for branches and stems to bring inside. Use the same type of natural element throughout your Thanksgiving decor, wreaths, and when you’re decorating for fall for a cohesive look.
Scrunched Napkins for Softness
You may have seen a beautiful, romantic table set with a scrunched table runner down the middle of a rectangular rustic table in the past, but you can actually get the same look with a few spare dinner napkins. For styling this round table, I skipped the tablecloth and just bunched up three extra napkins in the middle of the table, placing my centerpiece on top to instantly add texture and reinforce the centrepiece as my focal point.
See also: How to do the Rose Napkin Fold
Continue the Theme
Create a fall decorating scheme that looks well-thought-out by repeating the same elements and ornaments used on your table throughout your space. Using different florals and color families can make a space look disjointed and jarring, but by using the same foraged greenery and berry branches for the table, to adorn the plate wall, and for the large floral arrangement in the front hall, I created a look that’s simple and welcoming.
Reimagine Old Favorites for Your Thanksgiving Table Decor
No other time of year entices us to lean into family traditions quite like the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas, so this is the perfect time to reuse old favorite dishes and decorative items. Challenge yourself to create something new by pairing things up in a different way for a fresh look. On this table, I used our favorite pumpkin-themed salad plates but created a comfortable, casual feel to the table by pairing them with our everyday white dinner plates instead of the fancier china I usually pull out for holiday meals. Finally, getting the chance to use our vintage glassware was the icing on the cake and made everything feel new and fresh.
The 10 Best Washable Rugs for 2023
It’s hard to believe that something this convenient and beautiful can actually be affordable for regular families! The market has been flooded with different types of washable rugs over the last few years and all I can say “thank goodness”.
See the rugs: 10 Best Washable Rugs for 2023
How to Care for Fresh Eucalyptus
Fresh eucalyptus is a beautiful addition to your everyday decor, but it also works beautifully for Thanksgiving and Christmas arrangements. Learn how to keep it fresh and fragrant for as long as possible.
Learn the tricks: How to Care for Fresh Eucalyptus
How High Should A Chandelier Hang Over a Table?
The right chandelier, properly installed, makes such an impact in a dining room and really helps pull the whole space together. Is your chandelier hanging at the right height, according to designers and stylists? There’s an easy formula to apply before you hang your next fixture.
Read the guidelines: How High Should a Chandelier Hang Over a Table?
Black Kitchen Cabinets Can Work Beautifully for Any Style Kitchen
Black kitchen cabinets might seem like a bold choice, but they’re actually very practical in almost any style of kitchen. They really help ground the overall design, and if you’re planning a kitchen renovation, you should definitely consider going black for at least some of your cabinetry.
Get the design ideas: Black Kitchen Cabinet Ideas for Your Renovation
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.