How to Decorate a Dining Room Table for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of the most looked-forward-to meals of the year. It’s a time to gather with family and friends to enjoy this special occasion and celebrate all that we’re grateful for. And what better way to set the stage for a memorable Thanksgiving feast than with a beautifully decorated dining room table?

If you’re looking for how to decorate a dining room table for Thanksgiving, below you’ll find great tips and lots of inspiration for setting your Thanksgiving table!

view of dining room table set for thanksgiving with neutral creams, browns and charndelier with flowers and greeenery hanging from it
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Thanksgiving Traditions Begin with Setting the Table

Every year, my family would gather at my mother and father’s home for Thanksgiving. It was one of our favorite traditions, and we always looked forward to their delicious turkey dinner. But my mother was just as good at decorating her table as she was at cooking. She always had a great way of putting together a stunning Thanksgiving tablescape, complete with fresh flowers, candles, and other festive accents.

One of my favorite memories is from when I was a little girl. I helped my mother decorate the Thanksgiving table for the first time. I was so excited to be a part of the tradition, and I carefully placed the table runner and each pumpkin and pine cone on the table. When we were finished, I stepped back to admire our work. The table looked beautiful, and I was so proud of what we had created.

That year, Thanksgiving dinner was even more special than usual. As we sat around the table, enjoying our food and each other’s company, I felt grateful for my family and for all the wonderful traditions we shared.

Amber stemware on table with dishes and centerpiece in background

How to decorate your table for Thanksgiving?

To begin decorating your dining area, the first step is to select your color scheme. By deciding what your color scheme and focal point will be, it will be easier to build your dining room table decor from there.

You will want to consider if your table can hold a large centerpiece or a more simple centerpiece. 

I decided on a neutral ivory and brown centerpiece first, since picking a focal point is key when creating a centerpiece for my large dining table.

Years ago I made a ceramic cornucopia in a ceramics class I attended and wanted to incorporate into this year’s design. The cornucopia is painted a beautiful and elegant mother of pearl which makes this piece timeless.

Making a Cornucopia Floral Centerpiece

Follow these four steps to create a cornucopia centerpiece.

  • I used four different textured and colored stems of faux flowers from the Dollar Store. The bunches cost $1.25 each.
  • Mixing in larger florals, I added three ivory hydrangea stems I had in my home.
  • The first step is to hot glue a small square of dry floral foam to the base of the cornucopia.
  • Next continue to add the floral stems, varying the height and textures.
  • Add different-sized florals to create interest and layering.
  • Tip: be sure to turn your centerpiece all the way around to see all sides and if there are any empty spaces.
  • Be certain to hide your mechanics (any wire, stems, or floral foam)
ivory ceramic cornacopia with brown and tan and ivory faux floral arrangement in it

Here are some ideas to get started on your tabletop:

Using Simple Greenery:

  • Gather some simple greenery from your yard or garden, such as eucalyptus, pine boughs, or rosemary sprigs. Place the greenery in a glass vase or on a wooden tray to create a natural centerpiece.
  • Decorate your Chandelier: Technically, the chandelier is not part of the top of the table. However, decorating your chandelier has a big impact and expands your real estate. I love decorating my chandelier. This year I opted to decorate my light fixture with faux hydrangeas and greenery. Utilizing your chandelier as additional decor, allows your eye to extend upward. Adding a floral arrangement to the chandelier also gave the room a garden ‘look of plenty’ to mirror the cornucopia arrangement.
brown and ivory faux florals hanging from chandelier with greenery cascading down

Add Pops of Color with a Seasonal Fruit Bowl:

  • Fill a large glass bowl with a variety of seasonal fruits, such as apples, oranges, pomegranates, and persimmons. This will add a pop of color and a touch of sweetness to your tablescape.
brown vintage chintz dishes with a soup bowl and fruit bowl stacked on top of placesetting

In keeping with the neutral theme, I used my brown Calico dishes by Staffordshire. Mixing and matching dishes creates a designer look and interest to your table.

Wildflowers or Fresh Flowers add Visual Interest:

  • Purchase a vase of fresh flowers from your local florist, or pick some wildflowers yourself if you have the time. Choose flowers in warm fall colors, such as oranges, reds, and yellows. If you don’t have fresh flowers available, faux flowers are also an easy way to add visual interest. 

Create Your Own Faux Flower Arrangements:

  • If you’re feeling creative, you can try arranging your own flowers for your Thanksgiving table. There are many different flower arrangements that you can create, so feel free to experiment until you find one that you love.

Bring in Nature with Natural Elements:

  • In addition to greenery, you can also use other natural elements to decorate your Thanksgiving table, such as acorns, pinecones, or gourds. These items can be placed in a bowl or scattered across the table to create a rustic and inviting look.
  • Add a simple pinecone and organza ribbon to the top of your napkin and place setting. Adding these was a perfect fit for the look I wanted.
brown calico dishes with pinecone decorated on top of napkin

Glass Vases are Versatile Decor Items:

  • A glass vase is a versatile piece of décor that can be used to hold flowers, candles, or even food items. For a fun twist on your Thanksgiving tablescape, try filling a glass vase with fresh cranberries or mini pumpkins.
neutral fall faux florals decorated in a ivory cornacopia

Mix and Match Different Materials:

  • Don’t be afraid to mix and match different materials when decorating your Thanksgiving table. For example, you could pair a wooden tray with a glass vase, or a linen tablecloth with a burlap runner. Using a variety of colors is a look that is both festive and inviting. 
amber glass pumpkin on table with amber glass goblet

Additional Ideas for How to Decorate a Dining Room Table for Thanksgiving

I love great dining room table centerpieces. Creative centerpieces are one of the first things your guests will see when they walk into your home. Here are a few other ideas:

  • Create a garland with simple greenery and fruit. This can be hung across the center of the table or around the perimeter of the room.
  • Fill a cornucopia with fruits, vegetables, and flowers. This is a classic Thanksgiving centerpiece that is both beautiful and symbolic.
amber glass pumpkins, amber stemware, brown chintz dishes and fall florals on table
  • Use natural elements to create placemats or napkin rings. For example, you could tie acorns or pinecones to a piece of burlap to create a rustic placemat.
  • Write personalized place cards on leaves or gourds. This is a fun way to add a personal touch to your tablescape.
  • Create a centerpiece using a glass vase and different materials. For example, you could fill a vase with water and cranberries, and then float a candle on top. Or, you could fill a vase with sand and place a few pillar candles in it. Place a tray underneath and encircle the vase with acorns, walnuts, or fresh figs. This will not only look pretty but the figs or walnuts can also serve as a treat after dinner.

No matter how you choose to decorate your Thanksgiving table, make sure that it reflects your personal style and the spirit of the holiday.

brown chintz vintage dishes with vintage silverware on top of dishes

What are the colors for Thanksgiving tables?

When it comes to selecting colors for your dinner table, look to the natural colors of autumn outdoors. I love rich jewel tones. Using warm brilliant maroons, red, gold, ivory, copper and browns mirrors the holiday season naturally.  

While there are no rules for what color to decorate your Thanksgiving table with, using warm colors that mirror outdoors will create a cozy and inviting atmosphere and make your space feel welcoming.

three brass candlesticks with gold organza ribbon bows tied around the top

I love any type of candle and candlelight. For stunning options consider tying an organza ribbon around the candlestick or wrapping them in lace or burlap. Another option for tabletop decor is to create candle centerpieces by placing the candles in a glass hurricane in the center of your table.

Grouping them together on a tray or platter is perfect for everyday use. Use different heights and sizes of candles to create a dynamic display.

amber pumpkin and amber stemware on table for thanksgiving

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FAQ for How to Decorate a Dining Room Table for Thanksgiving

Q: What are the traditional colors for Thanksgiving tables?

A: The traditional colors for Thanksgiving tables are warm fall colors, such as orange, red, yellow, brown, gold, burgundy, and copper. However, you can use any colors that you love and that reflect your personal style.

vintage silverware in a wicker basket with amber goblets in front on a table for thanksgiving

Q: How can I decorate my Thanksgiving table on a budget?

A: There are many ways to decorate your Thanksgiving table on a budget. Here are a few tips:

  • Use natural elements, such as fallen leaves, pinecones, and acorns, to create centerpieces and other decorations.
  • Shop at thrift stores and garage sales for unique and affordable items to use as decorations. (shopping thrift stores are good any time of year)
  • DIY your own decorations, such as placemats, napkin rings, and centerpieces.
  • Use candles to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Q: How can I make my Thanksgiving table setting more formal?

A: Whether you have a small dining room or a larger one, to make your Thanksgiving table setting more formal, use china, silverware, and crystal glassware. You can also use a tablecloth and napkins in a solid color or with a simple pattern.

Q: How can I make my Thanksgiving table setting more fun and festive?

A: To make your Thanksgiving table setting more fun and festive, use bright colors, patterns, and different textures. You can also use themed decorations, such as pumpkins, gourds, and cornucopias. Don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun with it!

Q: What are some tips for setting the table for Thanksgiving?

A: Here are a few tips and table decoration ideas:

  • Place a charger or placemat under each plate.
  • Place the silverware to the right of the plate, with the fork on the outside and the knife on the inside.
  • Place the water glass above the knife and the wine glass above the fork.
  • Place the napkin to the left of the plate, either folded in a decorative shape or placed inside a napkin ring.
  • Place the place cards in the center of each plate.
  • Choose tableware that is both stylish and durable. Everyday dishes can be used for Thanksgiving dinner, but you may want to invest in a special tablecloth or napkins to dress things up.
green thumbtack
pinterest pin for thanksgiving table setting in dining room

Our family tradition has always been to end Thanksgiving dinner with a bowl of fresh fruits, nuts and nutcrackers, sitting around the table for hours, talking and laughing, followed by tons of delicious desserts.

thanksgiving table set with ivory and browns, chandelier is decorated with cascading flowers and greenery

No matter how you choose to decorate your Thanksgiving table, make sure that it reflects your personal style and the spirit of the holiday. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate with loved ones, and the table should reflect that warmth and gratitude.

Susan Signature with feather pen

This recipe is a perfect Thanksgiving dinner addition.

Delicious Goat cheese and fig appetizer your family will love.

Looking for the best 5 Tips to Make your Thanksgiving go smoothly and delicious recipes? Brooke from Farmhouse 1820 has you covered. Her pumpkin bread trifle with bourbon whipped cream is amazing!

Easy to make Tomato and Goat cheese crostini recipe.

Do you live in a warmer climate? My friend Wendy from WM Design shares her outdoor Fall tablescape ideas here.

Chloe from Celebrate and Decorate shared her Golden Fall Tablescape featuring beautiful pheasant dishes and the prettiest pumpkin centerpiece.

You won’t want to miss this scrumptious herb roasted fingerling potato recipe from Stacy at Bricks n Blooms.

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