If you're the go-to person for hosting Thanksgiving festivities, then your Thanksgiving table decor is likely a top priority. Sure, the feast is the main event but, in our eyes ensuring that you serve up your meal on a stunning tablescape is almost as important.
Decorating a Thanksgiving table is easily done. Simply focus on a few key elements and decide on a theme. Table runners, traditional or contemporary dinnerware, and fall-inspired additions that complement the other Thanksgiving decor ideas you have around your space will bring all the cozy but styled vibes to your dinner table over the holidays.
Thanksgiving table decor to impress friends and fam alike
Resident Real Homes contributor Dori Turner of Dori Turner Interiors (opens in new tab) says she keeps her Thanksgiving table rustic and cozy. This is done through a combination of natural elements and modern touches to keep it looking cute, without going over budget.
"I love using a combination of natural elements with affordable decor to decorate my table on a budget," says Turner. "Fall foliage is so pretty and a lot of times all you have to do is step into your yard to find items to use on your table."
From traditional fall finishes to brighter and more contemporary looks, there are a ton of ways to tablescape on Thanksgiving. Here are some of our favorites for the holiday.
1. Combine muted and cozy fall colors
"This Thanksgiving tablescape combines muted oranges, creamy whites and golden hues for a cozy autumn feel, sure to make guests feel welcome," says Turner.
You probably already have gourds involved in your fall decor, so simply take a few for your Thanksgiving table. They make a lovely subtle addition to a plain table runner. Choose similarly colored cloth napkins to keep the theme running throughout your plate settings too.
2. Add character with natural elements
Candles are a must when decorating a Thanksgiving table as they make great understated centerpieces. Turner favors the DIY route to add more personality to her space. "DIY candle holders made from vintage wood staircase spindles add a warm ambiance to the table," she notes, adding that ceramic tiles with your pick of autumnal words will "add a fun flair to the dinnerware."
3. Scattered foliage
"Scattered leaves and a variety of beautiful pumpkins bring a natural element to the table," says Turner. Note the DIY pumpkin vase in this layout that nods to the other foliage around the room like on the mantel and dining room hutch for a rounded display that's sure to impress your Thanksgiving guests.
4. Notes of gratitude
Adding table seating labels will make your dining room setup even more special in every season. During Thanksgiving though, these are essentials. Adding meaningful notes of gratitude are a thoughtful touch. "Wood beads featuring the word 'thankful' remind us why we gather to celebrate this special time of year," says Turner.
5. Pair statement dinnerware with natural settings
Add a pop of color and a talking point to your Thanksgiving table setting by choosing striking motifs in tableware, like these stunning red patterned plates from Hermès as displayed by Hayley Feldman (opens in new tab) . Choosing dinnerware with a gilded finish can add the element of luxe without the luxury price tag, and if you want to splurge a little on tableware, balance your budget by using pocket-friendly additions like foliage and candles.
Feldman keeps the rest of the tablescape neutral in color, pared back, and styled with natural additions like sprigs of eucalyptus and wooden candlestick holders for a festive, Scandi-like finish that's easy to put together. These would also look lovely on your day-to-day dining table decor.
6. Add a Thanksgiving cornucopia
Adding a Thanksgiving table centerpiece is a must to elevate your setting and if you're one for tradition, consider DIYing a cornucopia as Turner did. Keep yours full of dried and fresh flowers for a sweet, impressive display.
7. Layer color, pattern, and texture
Doubling up on texture is the way to go in cozy season. "Create a warm and welcoming atmosphere, perfect for hosting this Thanksgiving holiday," Says Joe Falco, president and chief creative officer at Xcel Brands (opens in new tab) for Longaberger. "Whether hosting a large or intimate gathering, dress up your tablespace by layering pieces with different fall hues and textures."
8. Incorporate classic plaid
You can't go wrong with plaid for fall, and it can add the perfect amount of pattern to your Thanksgiving table. Pick a plaid tablecloth and matching napkins in a neutral color so they can be a backdrop for you to build on. Layer up your placemats and crockery to add lots of lovely texture. Fall foliage will give your table a boost too — we love how the deep purple works here.
9. Scatter fairy lights across the table
Create a warm and welcoming atmosphere through relaxed dining room lighting worked into your Thanksgiving tabletop decor. The key is to be more lax about how you position your decorations. Not everything needs to be perfectly symmetrical — instead, scatter your decorations in a way that looks natural and not too fussy. Mix and match store-bought decorations with real veggies and leaves for a variety of textures and colors.
10. Tap into your inner goth
Add some drama to your Thanksgiving by going for a dark color scheme. Still keep it fall-approved by choosing rich browns and greens, but add in accents of black and go to town on the pillar and taper candles. Try painting pumpkins black or even silver to enhance the gothic vibe.
A few rustic elements will also help you turn a minimal dining table into something that's Thanksgiving-friendly. With a few pumpkins and some dried flowers, it's easy to recreate. Note the old books too! This is another really nice way to add something a bit more personal to your table, plus it can give your centerpieces a bit more height.
11. Choose an all-white theme
Dressing your Thanksgiving table in an all-white scheme is an elegant move but still suitably festive. Add in some greenery for a nice contrast and keep crystal glassware and silver accents on display for heightened design interest and a more luxury finish.
12. Add cute pumpkin plate decorations
Looking for some easy Thanksgiving decor ideas for your table? This is so simple and all you need is paper and scissors. You can either draw your own design or look online for some cute pumpkin templates, then cut them out and place on each plate. You could add some fall-colored confetti too and just keep the rest of your table really simple.
13. Plant up
We have been seeing this rustic look all over Instagram — hanging branches, leaves, and other botanicals over the table to create an impressive suspended sculpture. You can recreate this look yourself, obviously, you just have to make sure it's secure by fixing it to the ceiling. Pick a branch that fits your space, and hang some fall decorations from it for an easy centerpiece alternative.
How can I decorate my Thanksgiving table on a budget?
If you're on a budget, it's all about getting hands-on, finding cute trinkets in thrift stores, and turning to mother nature for foliage and more that will bring all the cozy Thanksgiving vibes to your dining space.
"Branches, pinecones, colored leaves, and acorns are great for your Thanksgiving decor and they're free," says Turner. "I also love shopping stores like Hobby Lobby where their fall decor is 40–50% off the original price. Beautiful finds at a fraction of the cost — that's my kind of shopping! This year I purchased my table runner, cloth napkins, and wood beads for my Thanksgiving table there."
Turner shares a few cute DIYs for creating tabletop decor on a budget, too. "Some of my favorite fall table decor has been inexpensive DIYs," she notes. "I cut vintage wood stair spindles into different lengths and topped them with candles for a warm glow. I took a sheet of patterned tiles, cut them into individual pieces, and topped them with fall-themed sayings to adorn the plates. I purchased some faux florals and made an arrangement using a pumpkin as the vase for my centerpiece. I love browsing Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration for new decorations to make! Get creative and have fun with it!"
What should be on a Thanksgiving table?
How you dress your table for Thanksgiving comes down to your personal taste. Turner says to narrow your look and go from there. "Maybe just a simple centerpiece with a vase full of fall foliage or some pumpkins will do the trick," she says. "Going all out? You'll want a table runner, chargers layered with your favorite dinnerware, cloth napkins, and a beautiful centerpiece. You may also want nameplates to plan seating for your guests."
It also depends on who your guests are and what they are into. How you dress your table for Friendsgiving might be a little different if you're setting up in your parent's house. Even your menu can play a part!
What are traditional Thanksgiving centerpieces?
Turner notes how pumpkins are often found in traditional Thanksgiving centerpieces along with gourds, squash, and acorns. "Large floral arrangements featuring fall stems like mums and sunflowers are also popular," she says. "Or some like to save the center of the table for the beautiful Thanksgiving turkey!"
You can make whatever you'd like your centerpiece, it depends on whether you want to stick to the classics or go for something a little more creative.
Whether you lean into tradition or not on Thanksgiving isn't really what matters. Dressing your table in a way that makes you and your guests feel happy and excited for the holidays is what counts the most!