23 Thanksgiving Table Ideas for a Festive Holiday Dinner
Tired of the same old table decor every Thanksgiving? Mix it up with a few of our favorite ideas.
Thanksgiving Table Ideas for a Festive Holiday Dinner
Clean Slate Doesn't Mean Bland
If your special occasion china is simple like the one here, that means you have an unlimited amount of choices when it comes to setting the table. We decided to go with bold teal and rose accent colors instead of the traditional autumn-themed accents.
Break Out the Jewel Tones
While there's no changing the formality of these two heirlooms—Haviland's Silver Anniversary fine china and Gorham's Strasbourg silver (both available from replacements.com)— you can infuse modern energy onto the table with colorful linens. The bright block-printed tablecloth (made of Schuyler Samperton's Woodley in Poppy) pushes the palette toward teal, deep rose, and straw rather than browns and golds.
Balance Fine and Fun
The trick to keeping fancy tables from feeling fussy is compromise. The napkins may be starched, but we chose dusty blue from Sferra Fine Linens rather than pure white. Low, amber-colored water glasses from Hawkins New York counter the dressiness of bell-shaped goblets (Blanco Wine Glass; cb2.com). Perforated votive holders from ABC Carpet & Home and the Sunday Shop's Rope Taper Candles in Terrain brass candlesticks create flickering light in an offbeat way. Mixing high tapers and low votives provides the optimal candle glow. Calligraphed place cards rest in rattan holders that could easily appear on a casual spring table.
Arrange Flowers a Little Messier
Start out with two similar—but not identical—vases to help create an effortless, pulled-straight-from-the-cabinet effect. Fill each of the vessels with a combination of white roses and dried hydrangeas to set a calm, neutral tone that won't compete with the vibrant patterned tablecloth. Then give a little extra texture to the two arrangements with a few scabiosas and berry clippings. Make sure the berries are long enough to drape loosely over the sides to achieve a more dramatic effect.
Play with Color
Designer Fran Keenan used orange, blue, and citron in this formal table setting. These colors might seem out of place, but if you look closely you will see they are all represented in the Spode Woodland Turkey china. Gold and brass accents finish out this warm table. Don’t have place card holders? Simply stick a card into the prongs of forks and everyone will find their assigned seat. To see more of how she decorated this dining room for Thanksgiving, click here.
This all-natural table setting is the perfect complement to a family Thanksgiving. Go all in on texture with a rattan placemat, speckled stoneware plates, and a layered place card. Keep the arrangement simple with different shades of green.
Anything but Boring Brown
Liven up the usual brown-and-white (or Turkey) plates by using cool colors and warm woven textures.
Quiet Down the Gold Accents
Brown plus even more brown often results in a lackluster holiday table. Resist your natural inclination to pair these plates with deep yellow or mustard hues. Instead, take a spin toward the color wheel's cooler shades with purple linens, which will contrast with the earthy tones in patterns similar to this one (Wedgwood's Beatrice Brown; replacements.com). This lilac tablecloth (made of Carolina Irving's Andaluz fabric in Viola) reads as a neutral against the richer raspberry napkins (zojora.com).
Take a Seat
Clementines, a white paint pen, and a steady hand are all you need for these place "cards."
Transferware can feel right at home on a formal table if you pair it with fine silver (Gorham's classic Chantilly pattern; replacements.com), sturdy wineglasses (Bunny Williams Spiral Glassware; ballarddesigns.com), tinted waterglasses (TableArt Small Tumblers; tableartonline.com), and mercury glass votives. Don't be afraid to accent the Beatrice Brown plates' simplicity with Pier 1's woven chargers and Colonial-inspired candleholders that are reimagined with a clean, matte white finish (Silo Taper Hurricane; farmhousepottery.com).
Give Pink a Chance
The key to this dramatic look is limiting yourself to one saturated color family. Rather than the typical Thanksgiving bouquet of seasonal mums, we picked a deep shade of pink. To replicate this display at home, you'll need a dozen large blossoms (such as peonies or garden roses) for volume, a dozen smaller blooms (like carnations) to fill in any holes, and a bunch or two of red-tinged foliage for added texture.
Layers of linens and silver accents keep this Thanksgiving table clean and elegant. Instead of written place cards, silver frames with photographs identify where guests are sitting. To see more from this fresh and modern Thanksgiving table, click here.
Jewel Tone Magnolia
This blue and white Thanksgiving table can be embraced year-round. Rattan placemats (Tava Flat Round Placemat in Espresso; potterybarn.com) create a base against bamboo plates (Classic Bamboo Plate; juliska.com) and blue and white china (Virginia Blue Dessert Plate; mottahedeh.com). Stick to theme and go for bamboo flatware (Natural Bamboo Flatware; potterybarn.com) and pagoda napkin rings (Bamboo Pagoda Napkin Ring; kimseybert.com). Not everything on the table has to be blue and white though. Add a punch of color with orange in the napkins (Bel Air Napkins in Orange; mode-living.com) and other table accessories. A ginger-jar filled with eucalyptus cuttings and a few blue and white pumpkins keep the table breezy and not-too-fussy.
Warm and Woodsy
Cut logs of varying heights are topped with moss and small flower arrangements and give this Thanksgiving table a rustic and woodsy vibe. Simple white plates and timeless flatware allow the bold pops of orange and mustard to take center stage. To see more of this table, click here.
Embrace the Frills
Your pastel luncheon dishes can become unexpectedly seasonal when combined with traditional Thanksgiving elements.
Get Inspired by Fall
Surprise your dinner guests with an autumn tablescape that's anchored by a feminine floral pattern, such as this violet Regent by Adams China (available through replacements.com). Then take it up another notch with a tablecloth that features traditional mustard shades (I'On in Gold; palmettehome.com) and understated mauve napkins (Linen Table Napkins in Dusk; cultiver.com).
Mix in Metallic Touches
Vintage brass chargers and gold-toned mercury glass votives complement the warm shades of the table linens. The silver flatware's ornate filigree (Gorham's Melrose; replacements.com) coordinates seamlessly with the whimsical detailing on the plates. Scrolled, calligraphed place cards that are rimmed in gold resemble the flourishes on the china itself but are actually handmade and available to order on Etsy (picturaandpoesis.etsy.com).
Wow with Flowers
The eye-catching arrangement of wine- and ruby-toned ranunculus, dahlias, and artichokes makes a strong, vivid counterpoint to the gold tablecloth while pushing the pale lavender china pattern toward a darker, more conventional Thanksgiving palette. Break up the array of bold blooms by adding a few sprigs of slightly fuzzy dusty miller and letting them spill over the edges of the centerpiece. The simple metal cylindrical vase softens the large gap between the lighter-hued table settings and the round plume of vibrant blossoms.
Pops of teal compliment the neutral palette of this cotton and linen. A string of twine is labeled with words of thanks down the table for a reference to the season.
Everyone will want to sit at the kids table with this bright, colorful theme. Cover the table in white paper and draw each child their own placemat with their name. An orange runner, pinecones, and wood elements add a playful touch to the center of the table. Include crayons at each setting for the kids to write (or draw) what they are thankful for this year.
Blue and white truly go with everything, so don’t be afraid to add autumnal shades and textures to your table. If you have a long rectangular table, create a sprawling centerpiece to fill the space. Fall veggies, fruits, flowers, and foliage are combined to create a twist on a cornucopia. Pumpkins and fruits are spread down the table, so the space feels full and complete.
Fine china, weathered urns, silver cups, and moss do make a great combination. This Thanksgiving table brings some outdoorsy elements inside to create a back-to-nature vibe that is still elegant. Pumpkins set atop urns and moss add height to the table without needing a large flower arrangement. Smaller bouquets in mint julep cups bring in hints or reds and yellows to add to the predominate color of green.
Keep It Casual
Designer Fran Keenan took the Southern china staple Woodland Turkey by Spode and set a table for the entire family. Formal china can easily go casual with natural elements like wooden-handled flatware and rattan chargers. Black-and-white striped napkins and matching runners laid across the width of the table under the place settings are more modern touches that add more casual to the Thanksgiving table. To see how she decorated the rest of the dining room, click here.
Set the Mood
The bold elements of Forest Walk china by Juliska set the tone for the rest of the table. Shades of purple, red, and green build off the china pattern without taking away from the details. When setting an oval table, defining each place setting can be difficult. Chargers are used here because they don’t take up too much space but clearly identify each setting.
Just because you don’t have turkey plates in your china cabinet doesn’t mean you can’t use your formal china on Thanksgiving. Event planner, Tara Guérard's used her china pattern as inspiration for this champagne and gold table with subtle touches of pink. Instead of using the tureens for serving, they were filled with spray-painted apples to create centerpieces. Flanked by thrift store candlesticks with pale pink tapers, this table feels formal without being fussy. Click here to see more of Tara’s entertaining ideas.
Elegant on the Front Porch
With the weather we have in the South, chances are you can enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner outside. This front porch setting leans rustic, but accents of pewter, seasonal china, and even tortoiseshell flatware elevate the table. Faux pumpkins make great vessels for fall arrangements to finish off this Thanksgiving table.
Mini pumpkins serve as place cards for this fall celebration. White linens and dishes allow the punches of orange to become center focus. Large jugs are filled with branches from the yard and a pop of orange on the table runner completes this table. To see more details of this table, click here.
Ginger Jars and Pomegranate
These vintage turkey plates are a great starting point for a colorful Thanksgiving table. Picking up on the blues, ginger jars and blue and white china become a festive combination that you usually wouldn’t think about for fall. Pomegranate and hypericum berries bring out the reds in the turkey plate. Scattered down the table and incorporated into the place card bundles, this pop of color keeps the table fun.
Burlap, pewter, and kraft paper are the elements that make up this rustic-meets-refined table setting. Arrangements in warm tones and multiple candlesticks add to the cozy vibe for a Thanksgiving dinner. Click here to see more of this fall table.
Mixed-and-matched flatware and china bring an ease to this Thanksgiving table. Deep, rich colors in the tea-towel napkins and small bouquets keep the table leaning towards warm, cozy fall instead of shabby-chic. The antlers also help.
Small and Bold
Blues, whites, and reds come together effortlessly in this harvest setting. Various patterns of blue and white china are combined with a deep teal table runner and neutral napkins for the base layer of this table. Pewter and silver serving pieces are scattered down the table and filled with fresh apples and small arrangements of fall foliage and hydrangeas. One large jug is filled with branches of fall leaves and sprigs of bittersweet finish off the explosion of red.