Ideas for Thanksgiving Table Decorations
November 15, 2021
Table set for rustic thanksgiving dinner

Ideas for Thanksgiving Table Decorations

Need ideas for Thanksgiving table decorations? Now that your menu is ready it's time to think about your Thanksgiving table. I love setting my dining table weeks in advance just for the pure joy of decor. It always feels little sad when a lovely table is enjoyed for a single meal and cleared the same evening.

So start planning your table now and it'll be one less thing on your Thanksgiving to-do list.

Thanksgiving place setting, centerpiece, and table ideas
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What Makes Good Thanksgiving Table Decorations?

There are a few elements that all party stylists and designers use to put together a stunning tablescape. You will use these tips for any holiday or occasion just switch out the colors and details based on your particular party theme.

Thanksgiving Tablecloth

A lovely wood table or white tabletop make a perfect backdrop as well. But sometimes a tablecloth just makes it FEEL more fancy.

A WHITE table cloth will help colored dishes and chargers pop. Your centerpiece will also be more dramatic.

BUT there's also something really fun about a colored option too. If you aren't sure, stick with white and have fun with the table runner for your spot of pattern and color.

Table Runner

Rustic Thanksgiving table decorations
A runner of fall leaves ground the line of autumn themed ideas for Thanksgiving table decorations

This is non-negotiable. You must find something to run down the center of the table. BUT there are a million ideas for Thanksgiving decorations you can use. Like fabric, printed wrapping paper, scarves, or even a line of little pumpkins or garland of leaves. I have a friend who even used a throw blanket!

Add in items of differing heights with the taller things in the center and go shorter as you get closer to the ends of the table. It doesn't have to be identical to still be symmetrical.

See the sage colored pumpkin and the blue truck on either sides of the floral centerpiece in the photo above? They are different, but similar in color and size so the table still feels balanced.

You can see more photos of this Thanksgiving Table Top Decor for all the details.

Thanksgiving Centerpiece

You don't need anything elaborate or over the top. I love using pumpkin florals – where you stick your floral arrangement inside a faux or real pumpkin. That's what I'm using again this year.

I also love using a couple of smaller arrangements instead of one large central piece. It can two smaller florals, candelabras, or multiple cake plates piled with cute decor.

Pro Tip: Make sure nothing on the table is too tall or it'll impede conversation over the table. BUT If it is tall, it needs to be skinny. That way people can still talk around it.

You can see more photos of this Thanksgiving food table for a rustic holiday for all the details.

Thanksgiving Table Settings

Here it gets murky. Thanksgiving place settings can range from very simple to over the top fancy. Since Thanksgiving is all about the food your table doesn't need to be the star, BUT there's nothing wrong with a gorgeous table. As you know, I think a pretty table makes the food taste even better!

I'll walk you through the dynamics:

Chargers

Do you need a charger or place mat? No, not at all. Especially if you have table cloth. BUT chargers add depth, color, and texture to your table setting. So if design is important to you – I say add a charger.

You can get gold and silver ones at Dollar Tree to start. I picked my rattan ones for this year up on Amazon.

Plates

I LOVE to stack my dishes. But make sure you actually need them. AND make sure you explain to guests what they are for.

Do you want a salad or dessert plate? Will you have soup? I often use printed paper plates for dessert because they come in such fun colors and patterns.

It's ok to mix and match your dishes too. Just set every other place setting with matching dish ware for a cohesive look.

You can see more photos of this Thanksgiving Table Top Decor for all the details. The chicken plates are actually melamine. No worries about these at the kids table! AND they are super affordable to purchase a set just for the season.

Cutlery

A peacock Thanksgiving table setting

Use gorgeous plastic flatware and a printable menu for an even fancier table without having to buy and store another set of cutlery. But if you have fancy cutlery for special occasions USE IT! I just don't have the space for all the designs and colors I'd like to own!

You can see more photos of this Peacock themed Thanksgiving Table for all the details. It's one of my all time favorite holiday tables! You can also download the editable menu for your own table!

Glasses

Will you serve water and another beverage option? Consider offering two glasses. And it's absolutely okay for one of them to be a fun printed paper option.

Do you need a mug for a dessert tea and coffee service? These can take up quite a bit of space, so clearing the table from the meal and bringing in mugs for the dessert course is perfectly fine if the table is a tight fit.

Napkins

Harvest themed Thanksgiving table decorations
Sequin table runner with paper plates and paper napkins still looks pretty fancy to me!

Cloth napkins are most fancy but you can get away with using paper if they are beautiful! Cloth napkins don't require a napkin ring but are another detail to elevate the table.

If using paper, I like to layer them using a guest napkin {the taller rectangle ones} with a smaller printed cocktail or luncheon napkin. This year mine are in the shape of a maple leaf.

You can see more photos of this Apple themed Harvest Thanksgiving table for all the details.

Place cards

Little pumpkin table decorations
If you're feeling really fancy these laser cut wooden names make a gorgeous Thanksgiving table decoration and place card.

This is the mark of a very fancy table! Sometimes my children make them, all crooked and adorable. Other times I'll print them. But my favorite is to keep it natural like writing on a leaf, or adding a tag to a rosemary wreath.

My friend Nathalie has a bunch of printable place card options on her site Press Print Party.

See the details of this Little Pumpkin Baby Shower that can totally be used for a chic Thanksgiving table as well!

Shop Your House

Ideas for Thanksgiving table decorations may be as close as your closet!

First thing's first. Do NOT rush out to Home Goods or Target to purchase something for your table until you SHOP YOUR HOUSE FIRST! You probably already have something perfect you can use.

  • Take stock of the runners you already have – does anything work?
  • What about your wrapping paper collection? If not, it wouldn't hurt to pick up a few cute rolls since Christmas is right around the corner.
  • Do you have pretty candles? Line them up down the center with some eucalyptus.
  • A collection of glass jars or vases? A line of mini floral arrangements is so pretty and doesn't take a lot of flowers. Try Costco, Trader Joe's or your local grocery floral department for 3 or 4 bunches you can take apart and reassemble.
  • You can even fill the jars with salt and add tiny little details like acorns and leaves for a darling display.
  • What about all those pumpkins {and decor} from Halloween? Can any be reused for the table?

Got Ideas for Thanksgiving Table Decorations?

I hope this has been helpful to find some great ideas for your Thanksgiving table decor. If you can't find the perfect thing at home, that's ok. With a few new pieces you'll pull together a gorgeous table! You can see some of my favorite items in the Thanksgiving Table Decor Idea List on Amazon.

I'd love to hear how your Thanksgiving dining table design goes this year in the comments below. And if you share photos, I want to see it too! Please tag us @partieswithacause on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. We love celebrating all your hard work! 

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Thanksgiving table ideas for placesettings, and centerpieces
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Gingerbread houses in a row as table runner centerpiece for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party I’m Bri of Parties With A Cause. I’m a mother to three crazy awesome kids, interior designer, & party planning junky. I love reading, globe trotting, and frozen yogurt. And I’m elevating the party experience one cause at a time! Read More

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