Designing and Styling Your Thanksgiving Table

The holidays are finally here! Thanksgiving is right around the corner and families are already planning their get-togethers. It’s such an amazing time of year – family, friends, food, football – all of the best things in one place. Oh, and bonus – there’s a parade.

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. With the family coming over this year, I’ve been thinking a lot about presentation. After all, you eat with your eyes first. If the food looks good, then you’ve won half the battle.

It’s not just about the food itself, though. It’s the whole look and feel of the day. There are so many little things you can add to your Thanksgiving dinner table that will add a little bit of “you” into the meal. A few personal touches here and there can make a huge difference.

You want people to remember their time in your home fondly. A good host or hostess knows that making sure people are comfortable, welcome, and well-fed are top priorities. Not only that, but you want them to feel special! They should be able to see the effort you put forth to make their Thanksgiving all the more wonderful.

So here are some of my favorite tips for interspersing some individuality and cuteness into your Thanksgiving table décor.

PLACE MATS

It’s Thanksgiving – it’s time to bring out the big guns. Those mismatched, flimsy place mats you use every other day of the year simply won’t cut it for such an occasion. Add a bit of formality and warmth to the day with something a little more festive and fun.

There are so many options for place mats these days that you’re not limited to just cotton. My personal favorites are beaded mats. They add a bit of sparkle, they’re sturdy, and they make for an amazing backdrop for anything you put on top.

Also, consider playing around with shapes and layering. For example, layer a square beaded mat on top of a rectangular plain one. This adds dimension and texture to your table, and it looks amazing in photos.

Place mats aren’t super expensive, especially considering the fact that you can use them each year. Invest in a great set that you’ll be excited to use when the time comes.

CHARGERS

Again with the layering. Chargers sit beneath your dinner plate. They’re larger in size, so they almost act as a frame around your plate. A gold charger can do so much to up the elegance and coziness of a dinner party. 

Chargers are inexpensive and can be found in most home stores. They’re basically plastic fake-plates, so they’re easy to store away when you’re not using them. When selecting your chargers, consider the coloring of the rest of your table. I’m generally partial to gold, but perhaps a silver, bronze, or copper charger would suit your table and dishware better. 

CANDLES

Of course, I can’t talk about holiday décor without mentioning candles. They literally put a glow over the entire meal and they help to set a cozy, relaxing mood for after the meal. And the possibilities here are endless.

A lot of people don’t like having candles on the dining table, but I think they’re a great touch. If you have small children at the table, you may want to reconsider this, unless you’re confident you can put the candles out of their reach.

There are so many options for how to decorate with candles, I could write a whole separate post about it. But some of my favorite ways include smaller candles in attractive and festive votives (or even stemless wine glasses, if you’re improvising) or bigger stand-alone candles that you can decorate with ribbons to match the rest of your décor. Another attractive option is to place the candle on a mirrored plate to add some depth to your table while protecting your surfaces. Also, don’t forget about the power of a great centerpiece. Add some candles to it to truly set your space apart.

There is one additional consideration that comes along with using candles for your table – the scent, of course! You don’t want anything that will be too jarring against the already amazing aromas. Find something that will complement or accentuate the scents of cranberry, ginger, pine, cinnamon, etc.

What would I recommend? Try my seasonal candles, Country Home, Spiced Cranberry, and Pumpkin Crunch Cake.

ACCENTS

Accents can really make a difference between a plain and sufficient table and a truly impressive, immaculate one. Think beyond the fancy champagne flutes and the sparkling napkin rings. Add a favor on each guest’s plate! For Thanksgiving, how about a glittering mini pumpkin or pine cone, or a generous sprig of fresh rosemary?

Be sure to incorporate your accents into other aspects of the table, as well. For example, maybe you could stick some rosemary in your centerpiece to balance the green out a bit.

Something else that can be exciting for your guests are personalized name cards at their seat. Not only can you be very creative with how you design the name cards, but it helps your guests feel like their presence was anticipated and highly valued.

Keep in mind – none of this has to break the bank! It all sounds super fancy, but you don’t need to go out and buy a chic new set of dinnerware. Break out the china that’s already sitting in your cabinet and see how you can dress it up this year. Get creative! No two tables should be the same.

What bits of flair and personalization will you be adding to your table this Thursday?

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