- Pick a color palette. Creating a cohesive tablescape is very doable and becomes easier when you have a consistent color palette. I like to keep it to 2-3 colors so it remains elegant and feels intentional. For my tablescape I chose green and gold, two colors that are earthy, elegant, and remind me of fall. I always like a touch of shine and shimmer to elevate it from the everyday and Thanksgiving dinner is just such an occasion. Metallics are colors too!
- Shop your home. I literally walked around my house and pulled everything that I had that was green or gold or close. Any table linens, vases, candlesticks, votives, glass, trays, greenery, and so on. If you’ve seen my blog posts or Instagram you’ll have seen many of these items I’m using before.
- Start playing. I spread everything I collected out on my dining table and floor. First, I lay a foundation with a table runner. You can also use placemats. Then I started grouping items together and playing around with their placement. Do what looks and feels right to you. Table Runner Tip: My dining table is 86” long and 40” wide so it’s on the large side. My table runner is not long enough to drape over the ends of the table. I also prefer the runner to be a bit wider than most that are available. Rather than buying a new table runner, an inexpensive way to boost the size of a runner is to layer it over something longer and wider. A really good option is pretty paper that comes in rolls such as kraft paper or wrapping paper. Pick something on the thicker side. Here I used kraft paper, because it fit the color palette and added a casual, down-to-earth vibe to a formal tablescape.
- Use multiples. Rather than having one of everything on the table, try using multiples of the same items. Multiple votives, multiple candlesticks, multiple vases. It will look more intentional, less random, and more pleasing to the eye. Decor Buying Tip: When purchasing decorative items I often purchase in multiples whenever possible, because it always comes in handy when decorating and styling. I purchase multiples of the same item or 2 or 3 different vases from the same set, for example.
- Use natural elements. No matter what your table looks like, adding greenery, flowers, or other natural elements immediately elevates the tablescape and makes it beautiful. I don’t know what it is about them but they just work. I guess it’s a reminder of what is natural and from the earth and that is beautiful. This can be leaves, branches, herbs, pinecones that you pick from your yard. Or flowers from the supermarket. Flower Buying Tip: When purchasing flowers at a supermarket I pass on the mixed flower bouquets. In a vase, these often look like supermarket flowers. Instead, I purchase different bundles of the same type of flower in each bundle and either fill vases with a single type of flower or create my own mixes. Again, going back to tip 4, it looks more intentional and sophisticated when you have multiples of the same thing.
- Add candles. You can never have too many candles on the dinner table. Of course within reason – you don’t want them to interfere with the food or hands and arms reaching across the table. Candles create a beautiful warmth and atmosphere that only candles can produce. For my table I used a mix of LED lights and real candles. I put LED tealights in the mercury votives before placing the boxwood balls on top so they look like cute planters during the day and then glow at night.
- White dinnerware. I was sure to add a set of white dinnerware to my wedding registry that was casual enough for everyday use but elegant enough for dinner parties and special occasions. Most of us can’t afford to have multiple sets of dinnerware nor do we have anywhere to store them. These work for any occasion and table setting, and as a result I only need one set.
This Thanksgiving we are not going to be hosting or even in the country. We’re taking advantage of the extra days off work to take a family vacation. But it didn’t feel right to skip over the Thanksgiving table! So I put together a few easy and versatile tips for setting a dining table that can really be used for any dining occasion. I challenged myself to pull together a table setting without buying any new table decor other than fresh flowers. Here’s how I did it.