Thanksgiving is almost upon us. That means the time to start thinking about the dining table is here. After all, this area is the main hub where our friends and family spend the most amount of time gathered together. I have put together 10 of my best tips for styling and decorating your Thanksgiving table and included a few ideas and suggestions.
In my opinion, the Thanksgiving dining table is equally as important as the meal itself is.
Enjoying the company of our loved ones, friends, and family is important every day of the year, but I like to make everything a bit more special by setting a beautiful table that includes a seasonal holiday centerpiece.The ultimate goal is to keep people lingering a bit longer, swapping stories, having a few laughs, grabbing another slice of pie or just one more glass of wine.
When it comes to my Thanksgiving table, I do love a neutral palette, but I also love mixing in soft, ethereal, faded colors like the pale yellow draperies, the pale blue in the panel shutters, and the whispy soft greenery on my dining table.
My dining table was refinished by me and I also created the faux finish on the panels after falling in love with a pair of 16th-17th-century French shutters that I had seen in a French antique store in Charleston, SC. But that’s another story, for another day.
Seriously… If browns and rusty orange colors don’t work for you, you don’t have to use them!
There is no need to shove yourself into a traditional color box if those colors don’t appeal to you, or match the overall color scheme of your home. Just so you know- Not one person has ever questioned me about making a switch to softer colors in my fall and Thanksgiving decor. Everyone loves my light, breezy, colors and I am much happier them! This style isn’t for everyone. That’s okay, too. This works for me in my home. Plus, the lighter colors really help to bring in more light on our excessively dark winter days. After all, I do live in Alaska.
As of yet, a one or two word name that defines my style does not exist. I can only tell you the ones that have a heavy influence on my personal style- French Country Cottage, Swedish, and Gustavian. I am fond of some of Rachel Ashwell’s older Shabby Chic designs too.
10 Tips for Decorating Your Thanksgiving Table.
1.Runners down the center of your table aren’t completely necessary, but I like the layered texture that it adds to all the soft, creamy pumpkins and natural elements that I used. Think of table runners like this- a table runner is the business dress attire of all tables and tablecloths are formal dress attire. Just something to keep in mind. Of course, using a both a runner and a tablecloth together is an option too. Sometimes I dress the table up in semi-formal attire for no reason at all. Guests can be in casual dress. This is Alaska. You would be hard pressed to find a stringent dress code anywhere up here; even in fine dining establishments.
My runner is actually a piece of fabric that I had left over from another project. Time and again, it has worked perfectly on my tables and for some of my painted and faux finishing projects that get styled and photographed. Don’t underestimate the power of scraps!
2. Greens Fresh or dried greenery will work. I used dried eucalyptus branches. If you gently handle the dried eucalyptus, you will be able to carry it over into your Christmas decor. They are relatively inexpensive, too. On your next trip to the grocery store pick up a couple of bundles of greenery. Pop them into a vase and leave them be until you’re ready to style your Thanksgiving table. Fresh, dry or somewhere in between works beautifully.
3. Pumpkins- Mingling faux pumpkins with real pumpkins is perfectly acceptable. Don’t stress out over finding real ones like I did. Here in Alaska, there is an overabundance of orange carving pumpkins but not many, or any of the pretty Jarrahdale or Porcelain Doll pumpkins. In just a few minutes, I spray painted a few orangey fakes. I also added a few smaller white pumpkins that I had found at a grocery store. I did not get all detailed and do anything extra to the stems.
*A little bit of brown craft paint or brown glaze can fix those stems right up if this is something that bugs you.
4. Pinecones are excellent choices for decorative elements. Here, they are working to bring in some mid-tone colors, also adding texture, and dimension to the centerpiece. I like the woodsy, rustic feel of them. Because Pinecones can be used from Fall to Thanksgiving, and through Christmas, they remain a staple in my seasonal and holiday decor. I recycle them again and again, using them in a variety of ways all throughout my house. Once they begin to look a bit raggedy I use them for fire kindling.
*Scented pinecones are inexpensive but be careful about adding scented things to your dining table. They compete with the food and some people are really bothered by scents like cinnamon and vanilla. We want our loved ones to stay longer and not have a migraine start to kick in, allergy attacks, or needing to whip out an epi-pen, ya hear. I’m sure you all know your peeps well enough to know if this should be a concern. If I had those concerns, I would just give those pinecones a good washing in the sink or run them through the dishwasher rinse cycle. This really does work to clear out the heady odor.
5- Flowers- A few fresh flowers are always a nice touch. I am a neutrals kind-of-girl, but I do enjoy adding playful touches of color here and there. If you want fresh flowers on your Thanksgiving table, I would suggest picking up a bouquet a few days before Turkey Day. I had an itching to use a bit of color that was in the purple family. I believe these are Carnations. That is not a favorite flower by any means, but sometimes the colors take me by force and I must. have. them. Carnations do have a lot of life in them. They can last for several weeks before losing their luster.
*Dried arrangements and buds will work too. I’m a HUGE fan of dried roses! Actually, I’m a fan of any flower that dries well and can be reused in a variety of ways. Fall and Thanksgiving are the perfect time to use these beauties for your seasonal decorating.
6- Spanish Moss works well from Fall through Thanksgiving. Every single craft store carries a variety of different types of moss. Instead of laying down a bed of greenery, moss could be used in its place. Just realize that going that route will give your dining table a Woodland, rustic style; another favorite style of mine too. I do love the Spanish Moss, though. Nothing is more beautiful than Spanish Moss cloaking giant Oaks. That’s my southern roots talking right here.
7- Flatware can also be mix and matched too! Several years ago I styled a wedding for a couple that intentionally did not want anything to be matchy-matchy. Not one cup, plate, saucer, fork, or spoon was the same. They wanted their wedding reception to be a rustic, vintage style where everything looked collected. For many months, Hope, the bride, collected all her flatware and dishes. It was truly a beautiful wedding and such a lovely reception!
8- Glasses and Stemware can also come from different sets. This idea was employed for an event that I recently styled and decorated. Each flute was set around the table, alternating the patterns at each place setting. The finished result was stunning! You definitely want to take a look at this post- French Country Cottage Shower Just by adding a runner down the center of the table, a few pumpkins in the color(s) of your choice, along with a few gourds you will have an elegant French Country style Thanksgiving dining table.
*Don’t forget to add water glasses to your dining table.
**Sometimes I use another set of wine glasses as designated water glasses.
9- China and Dishes do not need to be identical. Holiday gatherings are the perfect occasion to dust off your pretty China and use it. So often stories revolve around dishes that have been passed down through the generations. Setting out a few sentimental pieces can also be a great way to kickstart the dinner conversation. You will hear things like- Can you believe when Aunt Gertie put the silver rimmed China in the microwave? Those types of incidents get everyone laughing and telling even more stories.
10. Create Ambiance- The flickering of a few candles or the warm glow of twinkly white lights weaving through a tree is an inexpensive way to make any room feel warm and inviting. White twinkle lights make even the most casual of dinners feel elegant.
***The dishes pictured here a recent addition to my collection of dish sets. They are made by two different manufacturers. Mixing and matching dishes or China patterns isn’t a new trend. My Nanny rocked this concept over 30 years ago. My mother inherited them from her mother, and now they are mine. They are very special to me since I can remember using them when we would visit her and Papa in Nashville over the holiday breaks.
For me, a perfect space for entertaining is more about creating a feeling. During the dark, cold winter months, the warmth, comfort, coziness, of a plain tree, dressed with nothing more than pinecones and strands of light is a perfect way to warm up any room. I love how elegant and cozy it feels. Here in Anchorage, it’s dark at 9 a.m. This little tree all lit up each morning just makes my heart feel happy as I make my coffee and wait for it to get light out.
The cat is out of the bag. Now you know I have one Christmas tree already up. The truth is, it has been mingling with my fall decor since September. Some people may not like it, but not everyone lives in an area that is extremely dark or in an area where pine and evergreens are a part of everyday life like it is here in Alaska.
I have one more bonus tip for you…
Bonus Tip: Add something unexpected to your Thanksgiving table. People tend to find unexpected touches in decor interesting. It's another way of initiating conversation. Click To Tweet
I included a Frenchy crown set on top of a bed of Spanish Moss. It’s a fun way to add a little more visual interest to your Thanksgiving table and add something quirky.
What items could you use?
How about something your kiddos made at school? Hello, toilet paper roll Pilgrims and Indians. Do kids still make those in school?
A few contrasting gourds would look fantastic too. Even a few nuts still in the shell can add texture and serve as a healthy snack.
This week I’m linking up and sharing along with these fantastic women.
I have had quite a few questions from non-bloggers asking what a link party is. Each of the ladies below has a specific style, niche, specialty that they write about and share. Once each week these ladies invite bloggers from all across the globe over to their blog to share a few of their projects, recipes, DIY tips, pretty vignettes, tablescapes, furniture refabs, sewing, upholstery projects, and so much more. Each person that I link up with are people who I regularly follow through email and on social media. Each host has amazing style. I love all of them for different reasons.
Courtney @French Country Cottage
Nici @Posed Perfection
Pamala @ My Front Porch to Yours
Laurie @ Tip Junkie Tuesday
Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co
Carolyn @ Home. Work
Maria @ Simple Nature Decor Blog
Kim @ Savvy Southern Style
Suzanne @ The Painted Drawer
Katherine @ Katherines Corner
Kerryanne @ Shabby Art Boutique
Sherry @ The Charm of Home
Lynn @ The Vintage Nest
Cindy @ Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home