Given that your Thanksgiving table decor is the centerpiece of your holiday, it's worth considering your plans ahead of time, rather than just deciding on the fly on the day. Whether you're opting for an opulent tablescape display laden with festive decor or something a little more simple, Thanksgiving is a reason to get creative and celebrate with cozy decor.
For Ida Corti, creative director at Lisa Corti, the first thing to establish is the theme and the mood of your Thanksgiving. Are you planning to host a Thanksgiving feast and looking for bountiful tablescape ideas? Are you looking for a cozy feel to welcome guests throughout the season? Or maybe you're kickstarting your Christmas decor with a view for your Thanksgiving theme to evolve seamlessly as we roll into December? 'The desired mood for the event will guide you, whether formal or cozy, minimalist or warm,' Ida suggests.
Once you have decided upon this, you can determine what kind of decor suits the tone. 'Usually Thanksgiving is festive but somehow informal as the people around the table are often friends and family,' she adds.
'Overall you are looking to create a natural tonal feel that entices guests to linger at your table over the shared experience of food and great company,' says multi-award winning high-end interior designer, Rachel Usher. It's a time of year that is wholly dedicated to indulgence, so our mantra is that more is more when it comes to that memorable Thanksgiving display.
Oonagh is an experienced homes writer and editor with a penchant for all things interior decorating. For this article, Oonagh has spoken to the tablescape experts to find out how to create the perfect Thanksgiving table, fit for a style-first home.
8 of our favorite Thanksgiving table decor ideas
If you're looking for beautiful decor to cozy up your interiors this Thanksgiving, or a statement tablescape to wow friends and family as you entertain, we've wrapped up our top eight tips from the decorating pros to give you a special display this Thanksgiving.
1. Incorporate texture
Thanksgiving is all about getting cozy and hunkering down indoors, so plenty of contrasting fabrics and materials are important in creating a beautiful layered effect perfect for a fall table decor. 'When Thanksgiving approaches, I look forward to feathering my nest with wool, velvet and suede,' says designer Anne Hepfer.
On the table, this could be in the form of the tablecloth contrasting beautifully with a linen table runner, or like in this scheme from Sarah K, a beautiful wicker placemat to nod to the outdoors, topped with a fabric napkin tied up in a delicate velvet bow. The more texture the better, and layering adds to the sumptuousness of the scheme.
Each of these beautiful napkins is woven from 100 percent cotton and make for a simple addition to your table, with hem-stitching for an informal dinner party look.
2. Think about color
A color scheme is hugely important when you plan your Thanksgiving decor. Pick a color palette, or a couple of hues that work together in harmony and stick to it, making impactful choices with your chosen tones throughout the home.
'There is such luxury in harvest-inspired hues like cranberry and pumpkin, hunter greens and earthy browns,' says Anne, who opts for colors that are inspired by the season and its natural bounty. 'The fall colors in New York this year were more spectacular than many year’s past,' adds Imane Fiocchi, founder of tableware brand Neon Lace. 'I knew I wanted my Thanksgiving tablescape to reflect the beauty outside so I chose a palette of bright yellow and gold to bring an “autumn glow" to my fall entertaining.'
Try and implement the colors of your choice wherever you can in every room of the home. Maybe it's with a cluster of burgundy candlesticks on the coffee table, the throws and cushions used on the sofa. Think about the color of the plates and crockery on your dining table too. Gold helps reinforce the idea that Thanksgiving is the time of year for indulgence. 'Olive green crockery would compliment the autumnal theme and really finish off your tablescape,' adds Milly Simmonds of Olive & Co.
3. Decorate with nature
Incorporate natural elements in your decor and work with what you have to hand. Look outside, taking to your local park to collect leaves to create a front door wreath or even to scatter artfully on the table. 'Using nature doesn’t need to be complicated, on the contrary as long as it’s well executed it’ll make a strong impression,' says designer Benji Lewis.
The autumn is an abundant time of year for fruits and veg. 'A bowl of stacked oranges on a coffee table couldn’t be easier to give a pop of color,' says Benji. 'Create an organic, rustic and banquet feel on the table by intermixing richly colored berries, grapes and pomegranates amongst the table flowers. A classic look for autumn is the styling of dainty green and amber gourds along the table. Using gourds in a variety of shapes (or mishapes) and colors always look best - they shouldn't look too perfect,' says Alice Herbert of Lay London.
4. Go maximalist
It's all about going overboard this time of the year and really getting eccentric with your display, celebrating and reflecting the abundance of the season. 'Thanksgiving is a time of celebration, so a festive note is important,' says Ida. 'Candles, leaves and fruits as table decorations, few beautiful pottery pieces, vases and you can choose a beautiful tablecloth where the decorative elements will underline that special note,' she says. 'Mixing patterns it is important too, and napkins in contrasting and mix and match colors can be the binding element of the table.'
Avoid going for the pared-back look and dot your table with as much as it will carry. Covering your table with decor is about going tall as well as surface area. Consider space on the table for food and drink and build your display upwards with candles or fall flowers or foliage. Make sure there are gaps in the display or the decor isn't so tall that guests struggle to converse over the display.
5. Add glimmers of gold
'Accenting with warm metallics is a good way to add a bit of glamor to your Thanksgiving as well,' says Anne. Whether you have gone for dark, cool tones like greens and black, gold can add warmth, while red and purples are also colors that go with gold and make for combinations that look irresistibly cozy.
Think about adding this pop of bronze, gold or metallic on tablecloths, as evident here by Lisa Corti, perhaps it's through the use of napkin rings, candlestick holders and cutlery. Gold is your best friend this Thanksgiving and gives that extra luxurious feel to your table.
'Don't be afraid to mix your metals either,' says Bradley Odom’s, founder of Bradley Odom Interior Design. 'For Thanksgiving, I use the brass candle holders but love our pewter flatware.'
6. Remember that lighting is your best friend
Dining room lighting is so crucial in creating that perfect atmosphere, and for Thanksgiving you want a cozy golden glow to emanate from the room. Layer your scheme with floor lights and table lamps. Move your lighting around the home so your dining room is full of light radiating from all its different sources. 'Get plenty of candlelight into your room – it’ll provide a warm glow,' adds Benji. 'Use only table or wall lighting for a soft effect; if you want something overhead then ensure it’s on a dimmer switch so your room isn’t over-illuminated,' he adds.
Candles also give height to your tablescape and add that extra element to the scheme. 'I like to set the center of the table with a grouping of brass candleholders filled with tapers at varying heights. This allows us to not have to fuss over what to do with the centerpieces once everyone is ready to sit down for dinner,' says Bradley. 'The candles provide just the right amount of glow--always unscented of course!'
The twinkling light creates a magic atmosphere for dining too. 'Pair with delicate colored-glass candleholders for an elegant and joyful look, or vintage silver or gold-tone candelabras for a dramatic, opulent feel,' says Alice. Not just for the table either, take a coffee table or console table and adorn with flickering candles of differing heights, giving a beautiful light source in the corner of the room.
7. Try a raised centerpiece
Try your hand at a chandelier centerpiece over the dining table, and even consider taking your table outside for real immersion into nature.
Fix string or wire between two trees either side of your table, and attach some netting in the center so you can weave your chosen pieces of foliage and create a beautiful autumnal display that will no-doubt wow guests.
8. Remember the treats
Last but no means least, treat your guests. Thanksgiving is all about indulging your friends and family and celebrating a bounty of food. 'Bowls of treats are a great inclusion, sweeties in a pretty pot for example at each place setting,' says Benji.
Alternative, little party favors make for a thoughtful touch for your dining table. Homemade biscuits that are iced with names for placenames, a little jar of a homemade chutney or jam, or maybe a small homemade candle with wax poured in small pots for all the guests to enjoy and take home.
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Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.
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