Now that Halloween is over, it’s time to ditch the ghouls and transform those gourds and pumpkins to recreate the most beautiful Thanksgiving decorating ideas around. This holiday is all about great food and even better company, so you’ll want to focus your decor around the dining table but also in various other pockets of your home.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to decorate your house for Thanksgiving, DIY decor is more fun and more original. Go for the traditional look with a cornucopia, gourds and seasonal fruits or try something more creative and colorful, it's totally up to you.
Thanksgiving decor ideas we're thankful for
Traditionally, Thanksgiving is all about expressing gratitude for the harvest. The pilgrims first celebrated Thanksgiving in 1621 as a way to count their blessings for a bountiful harvest. When it comes to styling your home, Thanksgiving is that time of year when you can simply build on your existing fall decor ideas, making them even more festive as we edge towards Christmas.
Diane Henkler, of inmyownstyle.com, agrees, ‘Since the holiday is all about family and food, the focus should be on cozy comfort and the dinner table setting… Setting a festive table makes the day and everyone around it feel special.’ Create an incredible tablescape by adding a runner, center piece, candles and place settings, then tie in the rest of the house with small Fall touches throughout.
1. Add a traditional cornucopia
The cornucopia, or horn of plenty, is the quintessential Thanksgiving centerpiece, symbolizing abundance.
Marco Bizzley, interior designer at House Grail says, ‘If you want a traditional Thanksgiving centerpiece, you have to go with cornucopia. Traditionally the cornucopia would be full of harvested items such as squash, pumpkins, grapes, apple, and other fruits and vegetables. If you’re looking to make it more colorful, you can add autumn leaves too. However, you decide to decorate, make it your own. Instead of using leaves, you can change them and place some mums in there or flowers.’
The pictured cornucopia from Wayfair is beautiful and super affordable. Or, if you have time and are feeling crafty, you can make your own unique version. There are several tutorials online on how to create a cornucopia. Do bear in mind that it will likely cost about the same to buy the craft supplies and put them together yourself, but it is good fun.
2. Create an apple cider bar
‘Tis the season for hot apple cider. Create an apple cider bar for your guests to enjoy all day long, like this one from Cozy White Cottage Seasons, by Liz Marie Galvan. Not only does it look and smell incredible, but it also keeps your family fed and watered while you focus on cooking up a storm in the kitchen.
Traditionally, Thanksgiving dinner is eaten at the slightly unconventional time of 4pm so we certainly tend to get a little snacky. Don’t forget to add delicious apples, cinnamon rolls or donuts to your bar for guests to graze on before and after dinner.
3. Re-use Halloween pumpkins as candle holders
These lovely tealight holders are so simple and effective. Candles create a warm, welcoming ambiance that suits the season, and pumpkins are a Thanksgiving staple. Why not combine the two?
Amber Dunford, Style Director at Overstock.com says, ‘The lighting you choose for your tablescape will greatly impact the overall mood. Soft, warm lighting provides a calm and welcoming environment. Fun fact: people also tend to disclose more in low light, so not only will guests feel welcome, better conversations are sure to follow. If you’re worried about having enough light, try using warm, low light bulbs and sprinkle small tea light candles throughout your tablescape.’
If you have pumpkins or gourds left from Halloween, give them a new lease of life by including them in your Thanksgiving table decor. Or you can use seasonal fruits like apples or pears as votives with smaller holes and taper candles. For instructions, see Satsuma Designs.
4. Make a tiered centerpiece to add depth to your decor
We love this centerpiece from @rusticnglamdup. Simply pick out your best, tiered dessert stand and add gourds, pumpkins, pinecones or Fall leaves. It creates a lovely focal point for the tablescape and also gives it some depth.
Anastasia Casey of The Identitè Collective & IDCO Studio says, ‘When everything is at one level, the table can feel kind of static. By adding elements at varying heights, it creates more visual interest, allowing the eyes to move around the table.’
Try to stick with a color scheme so that your centerpiece fits with the rest of your dining table look. We love these neutral tones. With all the pumpkins around, we can get a little oranged out. If you are, try using natural, warm, earthy neutrals to keep that cozy feeling.
5. Use dried grasses and leaves to decorate your fireplace
This fireplace decor is so beautiful and isn’t as complicated to recreate as it looks. Just add some dried grasses from the craft store to a homely vase, arrange some dried hydrangeas in a cute basket and you’re almost there. If you want to try to dry hydrangeas yourself, it's actually super easy.
This fall leaf garland looks beautiful and authentic on the mantel. If you have time, you can make your own. There are several tutorials online. Or if you’re short on time like us, this affordable option from Walmart looks great too. Throw in a few pumpkins and hang some fall artwork to complete the look.
6. Create a photo op with a DIY banner as a backdrop
This banner creates a fun backdrop that looks awesome in family photos. Banners can also be a quick way to give other rooms in the house a last-minute Thanksgiving spruce up. All the festive focus tends to be on the dining room decor, yet often everyone spends their time helping out in the kitchen. Chuck a banner up and you’re all set to receive your helpers.
Nora Mitchell of householdadvice.net says, ‘Using banners is a fun way to decorate for Thanksgiving and can be a nice backdrop for guests to take pictures. Banners that simply say Happy Thanksgiving or Give Thanks are a simple yet trendy way of decorating your kitchen or dining room.’
Head to design improvised for how to make this tasteful Thanksgiving banner.
7. Or spell it out with cute signage
No time to make a banner? We love this farmhouse-style signage from Wayfair. While Thanksgiving decor is largely focussed around the table, many of us have family stay over in guest bedrooms. This is a great way to add a little seasonal touch to their rooms too.
This signage is so nice, you might want to keep it up year-round as a reminder to always be grateful. Studies show that there are many benefits of gratitude practice from improving sleep quality and emotional regulation, to increasing positive mood and reducing stress. With all these advantages, why keep your thanks to one day a year?
8. Make some fun decor with the kids
If you have kids coming for Thanksgiving dinner, these turkey balloons are fun decorations that you can make together. They are super easy and adorable. All you need to purchase are balloons, colorful feathers and googly eyes. The rest you’ll likely have at home already. See design improvised for instructions.
You can also use gourds for your turkeys if you would prefer a more eco alternative. Finally, Haeley at design improvised completes her kids’ table (pictured) with a craft paper runner to keep the kids entertained, creating their own Thanksgiving decorations during dinner. Genius!
9. Turn seasonal fruits into gorgeous place settings
These seasonal fruit place settings are inexpensive, simple and beautiful. We love using fresh, fruits and veggies as part of our Thanksgiving decor. It keeps things interesting with different shapes and textures and they bring lovely aromas to your home.
All you need are some gift tags or craft paper, some twine and your finest calligraphy skills. You can use apples, pears, pomegranates or pumpkins. And if you can squeeze in one more bite after Thanksgiving dinner, you can eat them too.
To make these lovely place settings, see evermine’s blog for instructions.
10. Cover your lounge in cozy pillows and throws
Get ready for post dinner lounging with the family by layering on comfy blankets, throws and pillows. Chuck in a pumpkin or three for good measure. Creating a cozy living room look that you can keep throughout the fall is a time and cost effective way to make your home warm and inviting. You can then add small, inexpensive touches as a nod to the occasion.
Take inspiration from outside and team rich, warm colors like rusty browns and forest greens with your neutrals. Taniya Nayak, Interior Designer at Riverbend Home and HGTV agrees, 'For Thanksgiving in particular, I love to draw inspiration from the outdoors and the colors of the season. I always try to incorporate items like Fallen branches, pinecones, and colorful leaves in my tablescapes.’
11. Try an original color scheme
If you are looking to create something a little bit different this year, then you can’t go wrong with this tablescape with feather centerpiece and pastel blue chalk-painted pumpkins and vases. We love the matte finish the chalk paint achieves in this unique look.
Leah Ashley of Living with Leah recommends, ‘Don’t get stuck in the basic Fall color palette of browns, ambers and reds. Mix it up by incorporating pops of your favorite color. I love to add blue to our table by using vintage blue and white plates. But you could add colors like mauve, greens, golds and even pink.’
Head to your craft store for some feathers and chalk paint, wash out a can and get crafting. Or, if you are looking for a more traditional color scheme, try making the feather centerpiece with rust-colored cans as vases and unpainted pumpkins for place settings.
Head to design improvised for how to create this beautiful look.
12. Radiate warmth with earthy copper tones
Beautiful, fall colored copper can bring such a warm glow to your space. Copper chargers are a super easy and affordable way to incorporate metallics into your tablescape. If you can get yourself some copper spray paint, you can also create these gorgeous copper pumpkins or DIY these amazing dipped wine glasses.
Annemarie Schumacher, of makeeverydayanevent.com, explains, ‘I love using copper for Thanksgiving decor because it plays so well with all of the other colors and textures of the season. It also gives your decor a modern edge. And copper pairs wonderfully with all of the dark green, woodsy tones that are trending right now. It all makes sense, since those are the colors that come out as copper develops a patina. It's just the perfect metallic accent for your 2021 Thanksgiving decor.’
For instructions on how to recreate the look head to makeeverydayanevent.com.
13. Adorn your home with foliage
An easy Thanksgiving decor idea is to use your backyard findings to create garlands that you can hang over pictures, fireplaces or mirrors. You can buy really realistic garlands too if you aren't blessed with a load of nature on your door step. And once Thanksgiving is over, add some berries and some holly and you can take make this into an elegant DIY Christmas garland.
14. Give your porch a subtle seasonal makeover
Porches come into their own during fall and Thanksgiving and It doesn't take much effort to add in those seasonal vibes either. Simply use the pumpkins left over from Halloween to decorate your porch steps, add some candles and if you are feeling really extra you could add corn stalks and hay bales.
15. Or just make a very easy fall wreath
And if you just want to add some subtle Thanksgiving decor to your front door, this asymmetric fall wreath would be really easy to make yourself. Create the shape using a flexible wood like wicker or willow – you could again find something in your garden – and the weave in leaves and dried flowers.
16. Hang wreaths indoors too
And wreaths aren't reserved for outdoors online, bring one indoors to hang at the window, on a mirror or to decorate a fireplace mantel and your space will instantly feel more festive.
17. Go for a neutral color scheme
Choosing a light color scheme can add an element of sophistication to a dining space. So while this may seem like an impressive set up, it's actually very simple to recreate. Start by laying down sprigs of eucalyptus (you can use any greenery but we live the contemporary look of eucalyptus) and then dot in some light-colored (likely painted) pumpkins and cute candlesticks. For all the fall feels and more decor ideas check out @the_canary_cottage on Instagram.
18. Choose fun crockery
Even easier than decorating your table is to just pick up some Thanksgiving-themed crockery, sure these World Market turkey plates are technically made for kids but we think they would be super cute as a side plate to add some fun decor to the table.
19. Throw up some quick paper decs
Paper decs are such an easy Thanksgiving decor idea! Get the whole family involved and get cutting out pumpkins, making traditional paper garlands and adorning your house in as much orange as possible. Or, if don't trust your own craft skills, just order a load of cute decs from Amazon.
20. Switch out your doormat
Sure it's a little cheesy, but we think as far as holiday-themed doormats go this one from Etsy is actually pretty cute and a very easy Thanksgiving decor idea too. Style it up with a couple of pumpkins and there you go, some instant holiday decoration that everyone will notice (and no one need know it only took you a couple of minutes).
21. Create a quick Thanksgiving display in your hallway
A couple of pumpkins, a bouquet of orange hued blooms and a candle called something like 'Crisp Leaves' or 'Fall Breath' could be all you need to make your entryway ideas feel way more dressed for Thanksgiving. Prioritizing places that your guests are going to see is a must.
How should I decorate my house for Thanksgiving?
Kristi Haight, of chatfieldcourt.com, says, ‘I love to decorate for Thanksgiving with lots of warm and cozy layers throughout my home, i.e. pillows and plush throws in Fall colors like oranges, mustard yellows, greens and rusts. Also, candles give off a beautiful warm glow and add that extra touch of coziness. A welcoming front door is also a must so hanging up a mini Indian corn wreath is a special way to invite family and friends into your home. As for a traditional centerpiece, lots of candles with Fall colored flowers plus gourds, pumpkins and colorful mini Indian corn add a festive touch to a Thanksgiving table.’
What are the decorations for Thanksgiving?
Victoria @lakefrontfarmhouse says ‘I like to use warm fall tones when decorating for fall and Thanksgiving. I always use a mixture of fresh pumpkins and mums, dried florals, and some faux Fall stems ... I also love adding lots of vintage brass candlesticks for a warm glow and some texture with blanket scarves and baskets’
Are pumpkins Thanksgiving decorations?
We certainly think so and Jennifer Porter, of Satsuma Designs, does too. She says, ‘Absolutely! Harvest season runs throughout autumn and pumpkins and their cousins the gourd are very appropriate for Thanksgiving décor. I love to transform my Halloween pumpkins into Thanksgiving centerpieces with flower arrangements. It’s easy to transform your Halloween pumpkin décor into Thanksgiving décor when you stash the spooky details and bring in natural elements – leaves, wheat, pine cones, acorns, etc. Enjoy!’
What is the traditional Thanksgiving centerpiece?
According to Elise Armitage, founder of What The Fab, ‘While cornucopia decor might be a traditional Thanksgiving centerpiece that people first think of, you can try a few different styles for your Thanksgiving centerpiece. You can go down the traditional route by decorating with pumpkins and candles. You can take a more modern approach and decorate your centerpiece with a vase and some feathers, dried flowers, or pampas grass. You can also decorate your centerpiece with pumpkins, pinecones, and some greenery. There are so many ways to style your centerpiece, be creative with it.’