8 last-minute ways to decorate for Friendsgiving if you're behind schedule

There's still time to create a cute setup

Three cute Friendsgiving table setups
(Image credit: @sprucingup.mamahood | @chantallilly | @catherinepdv)

Your besties nominated you as this year's Friendsgiving host and now you're scrambling to get decor and the perfect tablescape together. Although Thanksgiving is often neglected when it comes to seasonal decor, there’s something special about paying extra attention to the holiday before winter celebrations kick off. This year, don’t let turkey day slip away without giving it some interior attention. Whether you’re hosting a casual Friendsgiving in your apartment or throwing a full-on soiree, these simple ideas will leave your space as chic as the holiday leaves your belly full.

1. Create an inviting entrance

Your home’s atmosphere is set the moment your guests (and you) walk through your front door. Take advantage of the space around your doorway by adding some seasonal flare. Holiday wreaths are easy to find at a variety of price points, and they’re great to hold onto for many seasons to follow. 

To get the most use out of a wreath, pick one that’s neutral enough to work for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some great options include wreaths made with white berries, gold accents, or dried foliage. Extend your wreath's relevance even longer by adding a festive ribbon to accommodate the holiday you’re decorating for.

2. Reuse your pumpkins

If you had pumpkins out for Halloween, don’t feel pressure to toss them just yet. While some eager Christmas celebrators may already have their winter decor out, give Thanksgiving a nod by keeping your gourds on display a bit longer. Cinderella pumpkins have a particularly Turkey Day-friendly feel because they come in sage green and beige hues. Post-Halloween might mean it’s time to bid adieu to the classic bright orange pumpkins, but neutral varieties can add fun color and shape to a tablescape.

White pumpkin on white plates with gold silverware surround

(Image credit: @chantallilly)

3. Take advantage of seasonal florals

One great way to spruce up your space for Friendsgiving quickly and on a budget? Use florals to make a big impact with little effort and sacrifice from your bank account. During the fall and winter months, you can find a variety of affordable and unique real or faux bundles if you want to reuse them year after year. Buy a few bunches and place them in vases throughout your space to add fun texture and visual interest.

4. Get your table settings just right

Wooden plate setup with gold-plated cutlery and table card with surrounding white and yellow flowers

(Image credit: Catherine Smith Licari @catherinepdv)

Nothing says Thanksgiving more than a pretty dining table. And here’s some good news: You don’t need a large dining space to bring the elegance and warmth of Thanksgiving to your guests. Whether your table is suitable for two people or six, or you're making do with a coffee table, you can use items made with different colors and materials to set the mood. Pair gold accents (like cutlery) with wood plates and a neutral table runner to balance things out. The combination of textures will give your table visual interest and depth.

5. Use candlesticks to add height and interest

Brass candlestick holders can add height and a touch of sophistication to a dining table. They’re also multi-use and can stay on display from season to season. Simply swap out the colored taper candles to represent the holiday you’re celebrating (choose a burnt orange color for Thanksgiving and deep red for Christmas).

6. Dress up your bar cart

Take advantage of the space your bar cart provides by giving it some seasonal personality. Wrap leaf garland around the base of it or string white lights along the sides to give it a glowy touch. Bonus: You can leave the lights up until New Year’s Day.

Take things a step further by swapping out your everyday glassware. Festive cocktail glasses give a nod to the hosting duties that come along with Friendsgiving (and they’re sure to come in handy when seasonal spritzers are in rotation). Amber, green, light pink, and gold hues are all on-theme options to carry you from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. 

7. Incorporate statement prints

Plaid table runner with pampas and dried grasses wrapped on plate setting

(Image credit: Rachel Hoback @sprucingup.mamahood)

You can make an instant statement with a patterned table runner. Some prints that work great for Thanksgiving include plaid, stripes, and checkered fabrics. To keep the attention on the fabric, pair a bold table runner with just a few simple centerpieces, like white pumpkins and faux eucalyptus.

8. Perfect the colors and lighting

Rustic Friendsgiving table setup with foliage in vases and cloth runner

Created by blogger Michel Brown.

(Image credit: Rachel Hoback @sprucingup.mamahood)

You don’t have to miss the glowy, warm light from your jack-o'-lantern once Halloween is over. Emulate a similar vibe by placing battery-operated candles inside glass lanterns. Place one big lantern on your dining room table to serve as a pretty centerpiece or sprinkle several lanterns of varying sizes throughout your house. This mixed with the perfect color palette will create a lovely scene no matter how minimal.

At the end of the day, it’s often the little things that make the biggest impact so don't skimp on those finer details that feel personal to you and your home.

If you’re in a time crunch or you simply don’t want to spend too much money on a Friendsgiving celebration, use little accents like dish towels and candles to up the festivity. Your friends are sure to notice and appreciate the effort. 

Kara Thompson

About me: 

Kara Thompson is a Denver-based journalist with over five years of experience writing lifestyle content. She has written for a variety of publications, including townandcountrymag.com, elledecor.com, goodhousekeeping.com, and Parents, where she covered all things home, food, fashion, travel, and holidays. During her time on staff at Parents, Kara launched her own home decor and organization column named Save My Space. In 2022, she left her full-time job as an editor and started her own writing, editing, and social media firm, Kara Thompson and Co.

Tennis, New York City, bourbon cocktails, and her sister's German Shepherd are a few of her favorite things.