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Setting a Beautiful & Simple Thanksgiving Table

November 7, 2016
By Jenna Kamlet

Preparing a Thanksgiving meal is no easy task. Add the feat of envisioning and executing a perfectly adorned table with festive decorations, and the Thanksgiving holiday may seem nearly impossible to conquer.  This year, leave your worries of a failed feast behind! Here are three beautiful and simple Thanksgiving table ideas that won’t break the bank and are guaranteed to wow your guests. We’ve even thrown in a few fun ideas to add to your holiday celebration that are sure to steal the show!

For a Whimsical Table…

Imagine a Thanksgiving meal that begins with rave reviews of the décor and ends with virtually no cleanup. That dream can become a reality with just a roll of kraft paper, a few miniature pumpkins and a black marker! Simply lay the kraft paper across your table like a table runner, set out a place setting to give yourself an idea of where to start sketching, and put your penmanship to work. Write the name of each dinner guest directly on the kraft paper as an alternative to a place card. If your family and friends usually opt for a “choose-your-own” seating plan, simply write what you’re thankful for instead of names. Add some color to the center of your table with a set of fun candleholders or pillar candles, stemless craft flowers, and a bowl or vase full of pinecones. Complete the look by placing a patterned napkin and a small pumpkin at each guest’s place.


Have a kids’ table for the little ones? Use decorative tape to make a tic-tac-toe board directly on the kraft paper, then set out a few extra pumpkins (some spray painted, some left plain) that can be used in place of X’s and O’s for dinnertime entertainment!


To make this whimsical theme gluten-free-friendly, pick up some toothpicks and decorative labels from the craft store. Write “gluten-free” on the labels, stick the labels to the top of a toothpick, and place the toothpicks in the center of dishes that are designated gluten-free!


Where can you buy all of the supplies needed for this table setting without spending a fortune? Try visiting Michaels, Pier 1 Imports, Cost Plus World Market and Target.

For a Traditional Table…

For many families, Thanksgiving is synonymous with tradition. The holiday wouldn’t be the same without Grandma’s china, Aunt Jackie’s silverware, and the family pecan pie recipe that has been passed down for generations. Let the tradition continue with these classic table decorations. The only items needed for this look are a few medium-sized pumpkins, some greenery, miniature pumpkins in varying colors, and tealight candles. Arrange these items in the center of your table, setting the pumpkins on top of the greenery and placing tealights throughout the arrangement. If desired, add fall vegetables or gourds to the centerpiece for an extra pop of color. Although the table shown here has the place settings and decorations directly on the tabletop, a simple tablecloth could be added to enhance the traditional feel.


Even the oldest traditions need a fun twist from time to time. Use a piece of festive ribbon to tie napkins and silverware together and set the bundles next to each place setting for a decorative touch.


Make your gluten-free dishes known by setting a pumpkin place card in front of the serving dishes. Simply wrap a piece of craft wire around the stem of a miniature pumpkin and secure a place card made from scrapbook paper and fall stickers to the other end of the wire.


One-stop shopping? Yes please! Find all of the items needed for this table theme at Joann Fabric and Craft Store.

For a Modern Table…

Looking to transform your Turkey Day from traditional to trendy? You’ll be raking in the compliments as soon as your guests lay eyes on this chic gold spread! Simply spray paint a few pumpkins and some decorative branches with metallic spray paint and arrange them on top of a burlap table runner. Use a cross-cut, round-shaped wooden plaque to elevate your center pumpkin to add dimension. Add some metallic tealight holders with white tealight candles to give your centerpiece a warm holiday glow. You can buy these candle holders from a home goods store, or make them yourself using clear tealight holders and the same metallic spray paint used on the pumpkins. Finish off your decorative table setting with a few pinecones scattered throughout the arrangement. For an extra golden touch, spray the edges of the pinecones with your leftover metallic spray paint, or role them in gold glitter.


The time spent between finishing dessert and bidding everyone “goodbye” presents one last golden opportunity to impress your friends and family. Set up a “leftovers stations” and let your guests dish up their own doggie bags. Simply layout the leftovers along with various food containers and fun pre-printed stickers labeled with the name of each dish that was served at dinner that night. You won’t have to worry about packaging everyone’s food up for them or finding room in your fridge for all of those extra mashed potatoes, and your guests will leave happy with their leftovers. We’d call that a win-win scenario!


Keep both your meal and your leftovers station gluten-free-friendly by placing tiny paper pennants in your gluten-free dishes. Simply cut a brown paper bag into small strips, fold the strips in half around a toothpick, secure with glue, and cut a ribbon tail shape into the end of the pennant that is not wrapped around the toothpick. Finally, use a thin black marker to write “Gluten-Free” on each of the pennants.


You can find all of the supplies you need for this stylish spread at Michaels (even the takeout boxes!), Pier 1 Imports and Target!

No matter what your theme is this Thanksgiving, beautiful and simple décor is very attainable and affordable! Whether trying something new or sticking with the tried-and-true, your Thanksgiving table is sure to be a hit this holiday season. Happy decorating!



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