You’ve dressed the turkey. You’ve dressed yourself.
Now you just need to dress the table and you’ll be ready to dig into your Thanksgiving feast. Easier said than done, I know. But, tbh, the tablescape doesn’t have to be as complicated as making lump-free gravy is. I mean, let’s be real, you’ve already spent more than enough time cooking turkey dinner. The last thing you want (or need) to do is spend another eternity getting your table ready. Good news- you don’t have to. This is the time to let the food shine and focus your attention on the people you’re with, so the more approachable your table, the better. Here’s how to put together a simple Thanksgiving table for entertaining with ease:
PICK A COLOR SCHEME
Now is not the time to get all new everything. Look at what you have, both in your cabinets and in your own backyard, and see how that can work within your color scheme (or to help you build your color scheme). I mentioned my plates and table cloth up above, but I also realized I had black candles and black silverware to provide a dark accent to the look, and pampas grass to help create a centerpiece that would play perfectly into my neutral color story. Also, don’t get stressed out about things not being perfect. Not everything has to match exactly and not everything has to be brand new. Embrace imperfections, not-quite-coordinating dishes, wrinkled tablecloths, etc. as unique pieces that just add to the overall natural look that you’re going for. After all, nothing in nature is ever perfect anyways.
Adding layers will help build out your overall tablescape to create a full look without having to add lots of additional items to the mix. A few ways to do this include adding a table runner on top of your table cloth, layering greenery and plants in the centerpiece, and stacking up plates at each place setting.
Candle light can make a huge impact on the overall mood of your fall table. More is always merrier, but in certain circumstances (i.e. bold candle colors of candle holders) a little goes a long way.
DON’T FORGET THE WINE!
Because outside of the turkey, it’s the most important thing on the table, am I right or am I right?! Be a good host and keep plenty of wine (and water) around so your guest never have to go thirsty.
Keep your decorating streamlined and simple by picking a color scheme and sticking to it. If you’re having trouble deciding on what colors to use, start with the color of one of the major playing pieces that you already own (like a tablecloth or plates) and then build from there. For example, I already owned these plates and a linen tablecloth, so I decided to stick to a color scheme of neutral shades of taupe/linen/tan.
Instead of getting all new plates, try doing something small that’s still big enough to pack a punch, things like new napkins, new candlestick holders, new candles, a new serving dish or serving ware, etc. If you still really want new plates or glassware, check Ikea. They have tons of great options for small budget prices.
Natural elements and foliage are the easiest way to create a simple fall table look that is affordable, approachable and yet still elegant. Eucalyptus is my go-to because it forever looks good, no matter the situation. I’m also a big fan of pampas grass, but really any earthy branches, berries, greens, etc. will work well. Try to pick three types of foliage, each with a different texture, and then layer and weave them together to form a natural centerpiece and/or table runner, no vases or fancy flower arranging required.
Thanksgiving is also a great time to utilize the pumpkins and gourds that are abundant in this season. While I’ve done seasonal tables in the past with lots of little gourds, this year I decide to use just a single, larger, fairytale pumpkin as a bold but understated element in my otherwise neutral and muted fall table. Not only does it pack a punch, but it was far easier and far less expensive than dealing with lots of mini gourds and pumpkins.
Mix and match serving dishes as another way to add some layers and texture to your table. Use different shapes and sizes, but be sure to stick to your color palate so that everything still flows together smoothly. You can also try splitting things into multiple smaller dishes (especially things like cranberry sauce or stuffing) to create variety while also providing a bit of symmetry to your table (and, ya know, less shuffling of the things everyone will be reaching for over and over again).