Thanksgiving Tablescapes, Three Ways

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and it’s far and away one of my most favorite holidays! I’m not sure if we’ll ever actually host Thanksgiving on the actual day, as we travel to see our families every single year, but I am thrilled that we get to host Friendsgiving on our deck this year! After not getting to celebrate our traditional, annual Friendsgivings last year, we sure feel thankful that we have two Friendsgivings on our calendar this week – and that we can see our family so soon, too. I thought it would be fun – and hopefully inspiring – to put together three distinct, unique Thanksgiving tablescape ideas, in case you get to host a Thanksgiving for your family or friends – or even for your significant other or roommate! A little seasonal effort goes a long way, and I think the added touches are such a thoughtful gesture to celebrate all that you’re grateful for. After all, at the end of the day, it’s not about how your table looks or the food that you serve or the number of people who gather with you… it’s about the act of gathering and of giving thanks; pausing to savor, enjoy, and reflect; enjoying a day (and season) dedicated to feeling gratitude and giving back to others.

When thinking through Thanksgiving tables, I wanted to focus on three distinct looks with mix and match pieces that can easily transition from one table or season to the next. From a classic fall tablescape with seasonal colors and colorful leaves plucked straight from the yard to a neutral, organic table with pops of elegant black with natural, neutral elements to a more punchy and colorful table with timeless yet fun white pumpkins to set the tone for the season… these three tables are filled with memorable touches and beautiful details sure to delight your guests!

Look One: Classic Autumn

This tablescape is quintessentially autumnal without being over-the-top Thanksgiving, I like to think! As soon as I saw this beautiful fall plaid tablecloth, I scooped it up, as I was drawn to the fact that its colors are very synonymous with my favorite colors (blue and white) but with perfectly fall pops of color. I can already tell it’s a tablecloth I’ll want to use year after year, and it’s memorable and beautiful without being too bold. To this plaid tablecloth, I added dark woven wood chargers for a pop of a deep tone and for balance, a white beaded dinner plate, my grandmother’s gold rimmed wedding china (which ties in beautifully with the gold flatware and gold salt cellars at each place setting), and a slate blue ceramic stone plate (which pairs perfectly with the blue in the tablecloth and in the taper candles). I place two blue taper candles (again, tying in the plate and the tablecloth) in family heirloom wooden taper candle holders (which are cohesive with the chargers – & pretty candlestick holders) to add height and that magical candlelight glow to dinner. A natural linen napkin is adorned with a woven napkin ring and set atop the plates for extra dimension. There are so many ways to add interesting details to your table setting (and so many using what you already have!): napkins don’t have to be boring! From the type of napkin you use (linen, textured, patterned, or colorful) to the way its set (tied with a velvet ribbon, tied with twine, with a napkin ring, folded around the plate, folded and hanging down, knotted, etc), there are countless ways to make even something as simple as a napkin unique and beautiful. I also gathered some colorful fall leaves from our yard, popped them in tiny glass bud vases, and arranged them down the center of the table. They complement the tablecloth so well and really pull together those beautiful, bold autumn tones, and I love how this classic table setting came together and feels so “Thanksgiving!”

Look Two: Neutral & Natural

I love how this neutral-toned tablescape with pops of black turned out! I kept with neutral and natural colors, tones, and textures when pulling together this second Thanksgiving tablescape look and love how seasonally-appropriate it is with small touches like the dried bunny tail settled onto the plate, the dried bunny tail in the ceramic mini vases, and the dark woven pumpkin. You don’t need pumpkins and turkeys and pine cones everywhere to make a table setting look perfect for Thanksgiving, and sometimes less is more. I layered natural woven placements on top of a subtle grey & white striped tablecloth (which is such a versatile addition!), topped the placemat with a black dinner plate (bold and chic but still timeless) and then added my favorite white lace salad (or dessert!) plates on top of the black plate. I love the contrast and pop of boldness that the black plates bring to the table, and I think it just makes this place setting sing. The dark tones of the plates and the pumpkin centerpiece pair together perfectly, and the natural linen napkins (tucked under the plates) tie together so well with the taupe taper candles in natural wood taper candles and the bunny tails, both on top of the plate and along the center of the table. The woven glassware and bamboo flatware also add to the natural and neutral tablescape, and the whole look is memorable, cohesive, and really beautiful!

Look Three: Punchy & Colorful

Honestly, this table setting could double for any time of the year if you remove the white pumpkin – and that’s the point! You don’t have to buy new things or shop simply for the sake of the season, and I love reusing what I already have but thinking about how to make it fresh for the holiday. I decorate in blue, green, and white so often, and these are colors that are very prevalent in our home and in my life already, so I naturally have ample blue, green, and white accents and details. And if traditional Thanksgiving colors just aren’t your thing, then this look is perfect for you! I think the navy linen napkins (wrapped around the plate) and the navy beaded glassware keep this table setting from looking too Spring-like, and the plethora of blue-toned taper candles make for an impactful and incredibly easy (and beautiful) focal point running the length of the table. Clearly I adore incorporating taper candles & brass candlestick holders – they are a workhorse that provide needed light, moody lighting, are inexpensive, and are such a simple yet effective statement. In this table setting, I used a green and white patterned tablecloth and topped it with a more punchy floral green runner (two placements side by side) for maximum impact. A mix of gold flatware, woven chargers, green plates layered underneath white plates & gold and white family china, and a simple white pumpkin are layered together effortlessly. This look is punchy, fun, and very transitional!

Now tell me: do you have a favorite of these three?! Who all will be gathering with you this Thanksgiving? Which dish are you most looking forward to eating?

โ€œThe heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. It’s about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment.โ€
โ€• Shauna Niequist, Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes

More Thanksgiving & hosting & fall fun, if you’d like to read: a fall daytrip & itinerary on the Blue Ridge Parkway, our 2020 fall bucket list, and our favorite fall recipes to cook and bake, my 14 favorite tableware & serving shops, Thanksgiving tablescape inspiration, fall tablescape inspiration and links, tips on hosting a dinner party & entertaining at home, and our 2020 home tour!

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4 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Tablescapes, Three Ways

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