Setting the Thanksgiving Table | 6 Easy Tips

8 Materials
20 Minutes

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner? This is the perfect time to start looking for ideas for creating a beautiful Thanksgiving table. Not only will we share tips for creating a rustic, yet elegant setting for the Thanksgiving table, but also ideas to make it affordable.

Clearly this year will definitely be a year to remember! A year with changes that we would have never predicted a year ago. As a result, more than ever it is important to create beautiful memories with family and friends, that will last a lifetime.

Today we are sharing 6 tips for creating a memorable setting for the Thanksgiving table.

How Do You Make Thanksgiving Meaningful?

If it is more important than ever to create meaningful memories with your loved ones, how do you go about doing that?

Clearly you want to create an environment where your guests feel comfortable. Welcoming them when they arrive and creating a cozy atmosphere will definitely make them feel at home.

For example lighting candles, a fire in the fireplace and cozy pillows and throws, all create an atmosphere that’s both inviting and comfortable.

On our Thanksgiving table we also like to place conversation starter cards around the table or on each place setting. The younger generation love to hear stories from their grandparents and great grandparents. Not only is this entertaining, but it also creates bonds that last a lifetime. Also it’s a great way to jog their memories and invite a fun conversation around the table.

It’s also a great time to express gratitude. Often in a year where there have been many struggles and trials, we find tender mercies from the Lord in our lives. Without a doubt, Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect and see the hand of God in our lives and share that with our children and grandchildren.

Another important area to address is setting the Thanksgiving table. You know I still remember my grandmothers dishes she set out for Thanksgiving. They had a pine cone and branch motif. These dishes were special and were only used on Thanksgiving. I have a few pieces from this set and when I see them, they bring back a flood of fond memories.

Enough of the reminiscing, scroll on for our 6 easy tips for setting a memorable Thanksgiving table.

Inspiration for Setting My Thanksgiving Table

First, let me share where my inspiration for my Thanksgiving table came from this year.

A few weeks ago Steph and I attended the Vintage Market Days in Logan, Utah. At the entrance to the market there was this gorgeous fall table display. 

When I saw it my heart started to flutter! I loved every element that was layered into this rustic, yet elegant fall table setting. 

The variety of textures from baskets to brass, each layered piece added to the beautiful story it was telling. I immediately knew this was my inspiration for setting my Thanksgiving table this year.

Let me share my tips for creating a rustic, yet elegant fall table that’s inexpensive too! 

1- Shop Your Home for Setting the Thanksgiving Table

Often, if we look around our homes and think outside the box, we can repurpose or use items we already have on hand. In fact that’s exactly what I did this year.

For instance, the grey windowpane plaid linen on the table is actually a throw I picked up at Ikea last year. The warmth of the grey and mustard tones I felt complimented the napkins I chose.

In fact, everything on this fall table was found around my house. I did not purchase anything to create this Thanksgiving table.

As you begin thinking about your Thanksgiving table setting, take a look around your home and see what you can repurpose for your Thanksgiving table.

2- Use Your White Dishes for the Thanksgiving Table Setting

While I do have China that I often use for special occasions and holidays, this year I’m using my everyday white dishes. And with my rustic and elegant theme I think they work perfectly. 

Once again, look around your home and use what you have. 

3- Add Burlap to the Thanksgiving Table Setting

I don’t know about you, but for me, burlap just says fall. Whether it’s the rough texture or the natural color, I love incorporating burlap somewhere on my Thanksgiving table setting each year.

This year I layered a printed burlap table runner over the grey windowpane plaid. Layering different fabrics creates texture and interest.

On each place setting I also placed a small burlap pumpkin. I picked up these pumpkins at Dollar Tree a couple of months ago. They have been part of my  Fall and  Halloween display on my mantle. And now they look terrific on my Thanksgiving table.

4- Use Natural Elements

One of my favorite things about the inspiration table was the use of natural elements. They had used slices of logs, wicker, rattan, dried leaves, yarrow and even a cow hide as a table runner.

With this in mind, I pulled out my Eucalyptus seed pods that I found on the beach in Monterey. Along with dried flowers from local grasses that grow wild in our region. I Love the soft and natural feel they add to this Thanksgiving table setting.

The greenery placed around the centerpiece is artificial eucalyptus. I usually pick up some fresh eucalyptus from the grocery store, but they were out, so I just used what I had on hand. Even though it’s artificial, I think it still works.

Other natural elements you might consider adding to your Thanksgiving table setting are:

  • acorns
  • nuts
  • dried hydrangeas
  • twigs
  • maple leaves
  • sun palms
  • yarrow
  • cattails
  • pampas grass
  • wheat stalks
  • purple fountain grass

5- Add a Little Shine

Every table needs a little shine, a little glimmer. This can be as simple as the vintage brass candlesticks like I used on my tablescape. 

Also, I added simple Dollar Tree pumpkins that I spray painted gold. Anything that reflects light will add that shimmer that will make the table feel special.

You might also consider adding glittery acorns or amber glass to your Thanksgiving table setting.

6- Add a Little Surprise at Each Place Setting

Last but not least, add a little something special at each place setting. A little surprise to let each guest know how special they are. 

This year I’ve added the burlap pumpkin. I thought I’d tie a little note to each pumpkin, expressing my gratitude for them.

In years past, I have a little box of homemade fudge, a little hand written note of appreciation, a gilded leaf and a wishbone with a conversation starter.

The skys the limit. Let your creativity flow!

Are you now ready to start planning your Thanksgiving table setting? We hope you’ve found a little inspiration here today.

Please share your thoughts on creating a Thanksgiving table that will create meaningful memories for your loved ones. We always love to hear from you!

Thank you for spending some time with us today!

For more ideas for Fall click here.

Say hi in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you. You can also learn more about us  here.

And as always here at Sunny Side Design

We hope to bring your home to the sunny side of the street.

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  1 question
  • Racer Racer on Nov 19, 2020

    The set table is so full of decor, where is the food going to be set on the table???

    It's a nice table setting, just seems to be too much going on.

Join the conversation
4 of 14 comments
  • Ksw52553051 Ksw52553051 on Nov 18, 2022

    I love everything you do! Best of all is mother and daughter working together. I think you are amazing!

    • Sunny Side Design Sunny Side Design on Nov 20, 2022

      Thank you for your kind words. It’s all about family and we love every minute we spend together. So grateful for each. Have a wonderful thanksgiving.

  • Kimberly Kimberly on Nov 18, 2022

    I think your table is beautiful! I keep my dining room table fully decorated year round according to season. We also do buffet type serving. Love the colors and all your details! Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for sharing!

    • Sunny Side Design Sunny Side Design on Nov 20, 2022

      Thank you Kimberly. I like to keep my table decorated throughout the season as well. It helps keeps my thoughts centered on gratitude. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.