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20 Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas To Make Your Feast Stand Out

Rachel BurrisNovember 23, 2019

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. Your mouth may already be watering at the thought of turkey, stuffing, candied yams and cranberry sauce. But when you close your eyes, how do you imagine your Thanksgiving table decor?

Are your delicious dishes surrounded by an elegant table setting, an autumnal-themed centerpiece and pine-scented candles? Perhaps a kid-friendly tablescape of handmade turkeys and mini pumpkins? Or, is what you’re seeing just a bare table with your everyday dishes and utensils?

Thanksgiving may be a holiday that revolves around the menu, but the mood you set for your meal is determined by your table decor. For, even before your guests have a chance to taste your food, they’ll gather around your table and feast their eyes on your Thanksgiving decorations.

By adding a bit more pizazz to your holiday table, you’ll make this year’s feast one to remember. So read these 20 Thanksgiving table decor ideas and get ready to make your tablescape just as impressive as your turkey.

Thanksgiving Table Ideas

As joyous as the holiday is, Thanksgiving tends to cause even the most experienced hosts and hostesses an unbearable amount of stress. After all, you have to deep clean your home, dig out those Thanksgiving recipes, prep the ingredients, cook the food and time your dishes to come out of the oven just as your guests are ready to sit down.

So when it comes to decorating your Thanksgiving table, you may feel so harried that you don’t even know where to begin. That’s where these ideas come in. Prepping, cooking and timing your Thanksgiving meal may be difficult, but decorating your table doesn’t have to be.

Whether you choose to add a simple centerpiece to your table or design an entire tablescape, you can create a gorgeous backdrop for your Thanksgiving feast without feeling like you’re going to tear your hair out.

5 Thanksgiving Color Schemes

Establishing a color scheme for your Thanksgiving table will help ensure that all of the elements come together. While there are many possible color schemes to choose from, it’s often helpful to choose ones that revolve around the harvest, as they will complement your centerpieces as well as your table settings.

White And Orange

Orange and white Thanksgiving tables cape.

If you want to have a bright table that looks great with your turkey, a white and orange color scheme is the way to go. When decorating your table with autumnal leaves and pumpkins, white dishes and tablecloths will make your orange centerpieces really pop. And adding white napkins with orange accents to each place setting will bring your color scheme together.

Black And Gold

Black and gold tablescape.

A black and gold color scheme can add intrigue and drama to your Thanksgiving table. Set the stage with a black tablecloth, place black candleholders in the center of the table and black napkins at each place setting. For those gold touches, you can spray paint a selection of gourds and pears. Use a large, spray-painted pumpkin or gourd for your centerpiece and place the smaller gourds and pears on each place setting. If you’d like, you can enhance the gilded look with gold utensils and candles.

Red And Brown

Red and brown, neutral tablescape.

While an all-brown table can look a bit drab, adding bright reds to the mix can liven up a Thanksgiving table. To layer brown into your tablescape, throw a burlap table runner on, place a wicker cornucopia in the center, scatter chestnuts along the runner and include a touch of burlap to each place setting. For red accents, you can place red apples near the cornucopia, burn red candles and add a red napkin and charger at each place setting.

White And Gold

White and gold table decor.

With a white and gold color scheme, simplicity meets elegance. A white lace or crocheted table runner will give your Thanksgiving table a homey feel that you can embellish with gold candleholders and ornaments. And adding gold chargers to your place setting will spruce up your standard, white plates and create a festive, warm glow.

Green, Brass And White

Green, brass and white table decor.

Green, brass and white furnish Thanksgiving tables with a sophisticated, rustic air. By amassing eucalyptus leaves or olive branches along the center of the table, you can replace your average table runner with beautiful, natural greenery. Then, add touches of brass with your candleholders and utensils. Your white plates, chargers and napkins will lighten your table. And by adding white candles and a white dish of brassy-looking pairs, you’ll really get the eye to travel around your tablescape.

4 Thanksgiving Tablescapes

A tablescape is the overall design you plan for your Thanksgiving table. Like color schemes, they can enhance your decor by providing a theme for your table. Thanksgiving tablescapes can emphasize the season or reflect the personality of you and your guests. Although you don’t need an entire Thanksgiving tablescape to be festive, choosing one will help you achieve the desired mood for your meal.

Nature Tablescape

Natural wood table with leaves and white plates.

Nature tablescapes bring the outdoors in with their rustic aesthetics. Use centerpieces that are made of natural greenery, like olive branches, eucalyptus leaves and ruscus. Scatter pillar candles along the table without candleholders or dishes to emphasize the natural look. If your table is wooden, consider forgoing the tablecloth in order to incorporate the natural texture of your table. Make sure your table setting is minimalist. If you choose to add placemats, burlap tends to be the best option as it enhances the rustic feel.

Turkey Tablescape

Young family around a festive table.

Not all tablescapes need to be sophisticated. Creating a turkey tablescape is a fantastic way to ensure that your Thanksgiving feast is kid-friendly. Have your kids help you create handmade turkey centerpieces, napkin rings and hats. Scatter leaves and flowers to add pops of color across the table and hang whimsical paper feathers from the ceiling. For this type of tablescape, you should pass on the formal table setting – who needs chargers when you have plastic plates and cups!

Pumpkin Tablescape

Thanksgiving table with mini pumpkins and gourds.

Pumpkin tablescapes can range from playful to refined, depending on the maturity of your guests and the liveliness of your gathering. This tablescape is an excellent choice for showing off pumpkin-geared centerpieces, like pumpkin floral arrangements and pumpkin candleholders. You may choose to scatter mini pumpkins and gourds around your table, but be sure to include one on each plate. A white and orange color scheme will tie your table setting in with your pumpkin theme without causing it to feel overwhelming.

Elegant Tablescape

Elegant table with small candle sticks and traditional glassware.

Elegant tablescapes create a romantic setting in which diners eat by candlelight and delight in a kind of winter wonderland. Pine tree saplings, branches and pine cones add sophistication to the center of the table. While this tablescape is reminiscent of the nature tablescape, the differences lie in the contrast between the natural and material world. For the elegant tablescape, candles are presented on polished, silver candleholders and the table setting used is often more ornate. Consider adding silver chargers beneath china to emphasize the splendor and tie the table together.

7 Thanksgiving Centerpiece Ideas

Some hosts and hostesses choose to make the turkey the focal point of their Thanksgiving table, but having a more decorative centerpiece can make a statement that sets the tone for the meal.

While on other occasions, you might use beautiful floral arrangements as the centerpieces for tables, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to get a lot more creative. Thanksgiving centerpieces are often handmade or assembled pieces that emphasize the harvest, but they can be whatever makes you and your family feel festive.

We have included some of our favorite Thanksgiving centerpiece ideas to help you get a better sense of your options. Each centerpiece is easy to create – even on a budget!

Foliage In A Bottle

For a modern, elegant look that’s also functional, turn your empty wine bottles into sleek candleholders that commemorate fall foliage. Just carefully squeeze beautiful greenery into your wine bottle, trim the bottom of a candlestick, so it fits snuggly in the opening of the bottle and voila, you’ve made the perfect centerpiece to brighten any Thanksgiving table.

Floral Pumpkin Arrangement

Floral arrangement in a pumpkin.

If you’d prefer a more classic centerpiece with an autumnal twist, you can create a vase out of your everyday pumpkin. After cutting off the stem and scooping out the pumpkin, pour a little water inside and fill it with a bouquet of your favorite, seasonal flowers.

Plentiful Cornucopia

Cornucopia filled with fruit and nuts.

As the sign of a plentiful harvest, the cornucopia has become the classic symbol of Thanksgiving. To give your Thanksgiving table that traditional flair, you can buy a wicker cornucopia at your local art supply store and fill it with seasonal fruits and nuts, like grapes, apples, chestnuts and hazelnuts. For larger cornucopias, you can add squashes, gourds, mini pumpkins and multicolored kernels of corn.

Pumpkin Candleholders

Pumpkins filled with candles on a bed of leaves.

Jack-o’-lanterns may be the focal point of Halloween decorations, but these pumpkin candleholders are the perfect way to enliven your Thanksgiving table. To achieve this look, buy pumpkins in different shapes and sizes – gourds and mini pumpkins can also be included for variety – snap off the pumpkin stems, trace the base of your candle around the top of the pumpkin, follow your markings to cut off the top and clean out the flesh. Then, place the candle in the pumpkin. If you find that the hole is a bit too big, simply secure the base of the candle with a bit of melted wax.

Handmade Turkey

Handmade paper turkey.

Handmade turkey centerpieces are a fantastic way to get your kids into the Thanksgiving spirit. You can have your kids create these playful centerpieces on their own or with minimal supervision.

To make adorable, paper turkey centerpieces, you’ll need large pieces of construction paper in different colors. Take a darker color – like black or brown – trace and cut out one piece in the shape of the turkey’s head and body. Add googly eyes, a small, triangular piece of yellow paper for the bill and a longer, rounded piece of red paper for the wattle. Then, put the turkey’s body aside to work on the tail.

Take three pieces of different colored construction paper, and fold each piece into a fan. Once folded, pinch each piece in the middle, fan them out and layer the colors. Staple them together before taping the turkey’s body to the center of the interior fan.

Autumnal Assemblage

Assemblage of autumnal gourds and foliage.

For a more rustic centerpiece, gather natural elements and scatter them along the center of the table. With a collection of leaves, gourds, berries, acorns, cobs of corn, etc., you can bring the colors and textures of the season into your cozy home and make your Thanksgiving table a celebration of natural wonders.

Illuminated Elegance

Tablescape with large leaves and candles.

You don’t have to go overboard to make your Thanksgiving table appear warm and stylish. With just an array of candles and greenery, you can create a sophisticated tablescape that is just as gorgeous as it is simple. Choose either tasteful lanterns with votive candles or candlesticks and holders and place them between every two to four table settings. Then, surround the candles with dark, sturdy greenery like Israeli Ruscus. If you would like a more organic look, Italian Ruscus branches off the stalk, providing a viney finish.

4 Thanksgiving Table Runner Ideas

Fall’s brisk winds and colder temperatures call for layering. Just as you would layer your clothing, add an extra layer to your Thanksgiving table. Table runners provide a polished look that enhances the coziness of any Thanksgiving spread.

Table runners break up your average tablecloth and ensure that your Thanksgiving centerpieces stand out. As you decide which table runner to choose, consider the colors and themes that you would like to bring to your tablescape. The best table runners will complement your color scheme or bring a bit of contrast to a more monochromatic Thanksgiving table. So, take a look at these classic Thanksgiving table runner ideas for inspiration.

Neutral Table Runner

Neutral table runner over a berry-colored table cloth.

Tables dressed with dark tablecloths or elaborate centerpieces can create a dramatic feel, but you want to make sure that your table doesn’t appear too heavy. For these tables, it’s best to go with a neutral table runner, in white or tan, to brighten things up and make it appear less busy.

Patterned Table Runner

Gingham table runner on white table.

For a more festive appearance, add a patterned table runner to your Thanksgiving table. These table runners come in a wide range, from more festive to more sophisticated. So, if you want to create a whimsical tablescape, you may lean towards a table runner patterned with fall leaves or pumpkins. However, if you’re looking for a more mature pattern, plaid table runners can add a layer of coziness to any Thanksgiving table.

Festive Colored Table Runner

Table with colorful runner and owls.

Choosing a table runner in a festive color can complement your Thanksgiving color scheme and tie all aspects of your tablescape together. Depending on your color scheme, gold can be the perfect color as it adds a lovely shimmer to the yellows and golden browns of the harvest.

Burlap Table Runner

White table cloth with burlap table runner.

No rustic Thanksgiving table is complete without a burlap table runner. Burlap is the ideal material for giving your Thanksgiving tablescape that chic, farmhouse look. It pairs beautifully with centerpieces made of votive candles and greenery, especially eucalyptus and sprigs of rosemary, which really show off its woven texture.

Customizing Your Thanksgiving Table Setting

Once you’ve determined the feeling you want for your tablescape, you can begin to think about how each piece of your table setting will help you achieve it. While more formal table settings will include utensils for each course, most Thanksgiving tables tend to include only one fork, knife and spoon per setting.

However, silverware is not the only decision you’ll have to make. Will you include charger plates or placemats? Will paper napkins suit your needs, or must you have linen napkins to accomplish that chic Thanksgiving table you’re imagining?

Your table setting will convey a lot of how you want your feast to be enjoyed. So, consider your guests and how you want them to dine.

Charger Plates

Top-down view of Thanksgiving table.

Chargers are larger, decorative plates that are used beneath the dishes that guests eat on. Because they are merely ornamental, charger plates tend to add elegance and sophistication to the table. Therefore, they aren’t typically used for more casual or playful tablescapes.

Since they come in a variety of shapes and colors, chargers are a wonderful way to enhance your color scheme or tablescape theme. For this Thanksgiving table, white, scalloped chargers sit underneath beau blue plates to complement the mini pumpkins that decorate the center of the table.

Placemats

Muted autumnal table decor.

Placemats are less formal than chargers and are also useful for making messes easier to clean up once your feast is over. By including placemats in your table setting, you can create an added layer of color and texture for your Thanksgiving table. Notice how the gold-colored placemats used in this Thanksgiving table complete the setting by enhancing the metallic and golden accents found in the chargers, plates, napkins and napkin rings.

Napkins

Holiday place setting.

Since Thanksgiving feasts tend to include messier dishes, some choose to use paper napkins for their table setting since they don’t have to be washed or dry cleaned. However, linen or cloth napkins add grace and charm. White napkins are most commonly used for formal gatherings. But a colorful or patterned napkin can add an interesting twist to a simpler or monochromatic Thanksgiving table.

Napkin Rings

Table setting with pine cones.

While understated, silver rings once clad the majority of napkins, now napkin rings can be as unique and festive as centerpieces. You can choose Thanksgiving napkin rings based on your color scheme or tablescape theme. For kid-friendly Thanksgiving feasts, you can have your children make them out of ribbons and adorn them with handmade leaves, turkeys or pumpkins. For nature tablescapes, we love these rustic napkin rings made out of leather cord, dried sprigs and cinnamon sticks. Note how each detail of these napkin rings brings together a different element of the table setting, from the speckles on the white plates to the handles of the utensils.

Thanksgiving Fun

As vital as food is to the celebration of Thanksgiving, it’s the atmosphere you create that really makes the holiday special. You want your Thanksgiving table to bring out the best in your gathering, so choose your decorations based on the qualities of the people you will be serving.

Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for what you have and who you share it with. So, show your family and friends just how grateful you are to have them in your life by designing a Thanksgiving meal with them in mind.

And if it’s the first time your hosting Thanksgiving in your home, you’re going to want to make this year stand out. So add a bit of flavor to your decorations because your Thanksgiving table decor should be just as festive as the meal itself!

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    Rachel Burris

    Rachel Burris is a writer covering topics of interest to present and future homeowners, as well as industry insiders. Prior to joining Rocket Companies, she worked as an English teacher for the New York City Department of Education and a licensed real estate agent for Brown Harris Stevens. She holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Bucknell University, a postbaccalaureate certificate in psychology from Columbia University and a master's degree in English education from Teachers College, Columbia University.