Setting the table for Thanksgiving can be overwhelming, especially when you are busy preparing for your feast. These tips will help you create an amazing Thanksgiving tablescape that will make your guests feel special.
I love this time of year because it is all about gratitude, family traditions, food, celebrating, and making memories, which happen to be my favorite things! Sitting around a beautiful table is the perfect place to spend time with friends and family and enjoy delicious food and each other’s company. These 7 tips will help you to create the perfect Thanksgiving tablescape for making memories with your family and friends.
Thanksgiving Tablescape Tips
1. Start Early
You don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving or the day before to create your fabulous Thanksgiving tablescape. If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner, you are going to have your hands full cleaning, grocery shopping, and prepping the food.
Setting your table a week or so in advance will give you time to do all of the other things on your list. I usually get mine ready right after Halloween, but we all know I’m a little crazy when it comes to tablescapes!
2. Get Creative When Seating Everyone
One of my biggest worries when I first started hosting large dinners was having a place for everyone to sit. It’s always been important to me to try and have everyone together at a table or tables rather than have people scattered and sitting on couches with food in their laps.
I have learned to get creative in order to make that happen. In one of our first houses, I moved the furniture out of my living room and put up several folding tables so everyone could be seated together. (Warning: Hosting Thanksgiving dinner for 20 plus people when your husband is deployed and you have a 4 and 2-year-old can be a little stressful! But is a great memory 23 years later!)
About 10 years ago, when we were hosting a large Thanksgiving dinner in our current home, I wanted to seat everyone in the dining room but wasn’t sure how to make it work. My table barely fit 6 people and my dining room wasn’t big enough to add additional tables. I came up with an idea to put a large piece of MDF on my small dining room table.
My husband just loves when I come up with these incredible ideas. Although, I don’t think he was using the word incredible when he and my son went off to Home Depot to purchase the piece of MDF. And I’m pretty sure incredible idea were not the words I heard after they put the not so light piece of MDF on the table and I announced that now the table was too big. (I guess I measured wrong…oops!) No worries! I just had them flip the dining room furniture with the formal living room furniture and all was perfect.
I’m not saying you have to go moving everything in your house around, but as my mom always said, “Where there is a will there is a way”!
As you can see from the paint, it makes a great DIY workspace! Be sure to put an old tablecloth or sheet under it so you do not scratch your table.
3. Shop Your House
Once you figure out your seating arrangement, it’s time to start scaping. Before you go out and spend money, shop your house for tablecloths, placemats, napkins, and things you can use for your centerpiece.
I like to start with my tablecloth and/or placemats and then go from there. I have to use a tablecloth to cover the beautiful piece of MDF that still lives on the table in what used to be the formal living room.
See it was an incredible idea! Someday I will have my dream dining room with a giant farm table that will seat everyone, and I won’t have to use a tablecloth…or a piece of MDF! Chip and Joanna just need to come and knock out a few walls!
I used apothecary jars from my kitchen for the centerpiece along with a cool log my friend’s son made last year.
The leaf placemats are from Pier 1 a few years ago. They do still carry them. When I was putting them on the table, I realized I had 9. Who buys 9 placemats? I must have bought them on clearance and just purchased what they had left. (See #5 Mix and Match below.)
4. Think Outside of the Box
I like to think outside of the box for table runners, napkin rings, and other accessories when creating my tablescapes. It’s less expensive and so much more unique.
For this year’s Thanksgiving tablescape, I layered two different colors of burlap for the table runner. I used fall ribbon to tie around the napkins that I folded into pockets. Then, I cut the toothpicks on leaf cupcake toppers to make them smaller and inserted them into the ribbon.
I also found a bag of pine cones in a fall decor box and stuck give thanks cupcake toppers in them. The burlap, ribbon, and cupcake toppers were purchased from Hobby Lobby a few years ago. (My local Hobby Lobby had all of these items in stock a few days ago.)
5. Mix and Match
Don’t be afraid to mix and match! You don’t need to have all of the same plates in order to set a beautiful table. Napkins, placemats, and dishes can all be mixed and matched. I do it all of the time. In fact, when I realized it only had 9 leaf placemats, I pulled out some old turkey placemats that I bought when my kids were little. (See #6)
It’s okay to mix seasonal items with your everyday items. I love shopping at Home Goods because they always have great seasonal salad plates for $3 or $4 each. I can never find more than 4 or 6, but I buy them anyway because I know I will be able to mix them in with what I already have. Hobby Lobby and Pier 1 are also great places to buy seasonal salad plates. I wait until they are on sale or on clearance.
One of my best purchases several years ago was an inexpensive set of white dishes from Ikea. I think everyone should own a set of white dishes, they are perfect for mixing and matching!
6. Make It Fun For The Kids
One of the best parts of the holidays for me has always been creating traditions with my kids. When they were little, they loved participating in the holiday prep, and they were usually a huge help.
For Thanksgiving, they always made the place cards for the table, and they each had one side dish that they were in charge of helping prepare. Now that they are grown, they prepare that same side dish, and I don’t have to help them!
Including crafts and special place settings makes it fun and memorable for both you and your kids. Hobby Lobby has a great assortment of Thanksgiving crafts. I picked up a package of adorable, easy to assemble, little turkeys to add to this setting.
Last but not least, the key for setting the perfect atmosphere is the lighting. Using a dimmer on your overhead lighting to control the brightness, and including candles on your table will help make the room warm and inviting.
I found LED string lights in the Thanksgiving section at Hobby Lobby that I added to the fall garland I already had. The perfect finishing touch!
I hope these tips will help you create an amazing Thanksgiving tablescape! It’s your turn. Please share your ideas and family traditions in the comments below.
Also, be sure to check out this Fall Tablescape for Under $20.
Andie Sluis says
Love it all!
Thank you Andie! xoxo
Tammy, I love your Thanksgiving table and the lighting looks fabulous. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful tips. I look forward to reading your Small Gestures.
You are sweet! Thank you so much Jeanne! xoxo
Gorgeous absolutely the prettiest fall tables ever
Thank you so much Kelly! Your fall table is gorgeous!!! xoxo
Kellyann Rohr says
What a beautiful table!
Thank you Kellyann! xoxo