Styling the Thanksgiving Table, Step-by-Step

Thanksgiving vignette

This week those who are hosting Thanksgiving will be setting their tables (along with preparing a bunch of food and cleaning their houses). To encourage their creativity, I thought I would share my step-by-step layering process for styling a beautiful, texture-filled Thanksgiving tablescape, using simple items from the grocery store (and thrifted items, of course).

Start with some type of fabric foundation for softness. Instead of using a tablecloth to cover the whole table, use a runner which could simply be a strip of cut fabric. For extra interest, I like to use a pattern. Because my plates are flowered, I decided a plaid would add some geometric interest and masculinity to the scene. Fight the urge to iron it too exactly…it’s going to get mostly covered anyway;)

Plaid table runner as tablescape foundation

Next I anchor the whole scene with a vintage, wooden lazy susan that was my Grandma’s. I love using family pieces for the conversations they encourage, especially for holidays. And I feel like I’m passing on traditions to my kiddos.

Vintage wooden lazy susan

I’ve been crushing on brown glass lately and picked up a few pieces at the thrift store to be the main centerpiece elements. I love how the sunshine gleams through colored glass. I have 4 pieces, but they will act as the “perfect” decorating number of 3, since I put the smallest vase inside the bowl.

Brown glassware to style a centerpiece

Most of the centerpiece textural material came from my local, small-town grocery store. No fancy, hard to find items; just used creatively. I bought a couple bags of dried legumes, a bag of shell-on nuts, a colorful variety of fruit and a textural bouquet of fresh flowers.

Grocery store elements for a centerpiece

–>>If you love the challenge and creativity of floral arranging with store bought items, check out “Get a Big Bang from your Box Store Bouquet”.

I placed the white beans in the wide mouthed container and the colorful beans in the tall, narrow-necked bottle. I nestled a few votive candles into the white beans and placed some grasses and feathers I had in the bottle. Already the various textures are getting interesting!

White beans and candles in a brown vessel.

Feathers and grasses in a vintage brown bottle.

I arranged the pretty bunch of flowers in the smaller brown vase, adding cedar and boxwood clippings from my yard.

Store bought flower bouquet arranged in brown glass container.

Next it was time to fill the bowl around the flowers. I had picked up a nice bag of fake acorns while thrifting, and used them in the bottom of the bowl so the fruit could be placed more easily. Real acorns or nuts would also work.

Fake acorns purchased from the thrift store.

Fruit as a Thanksgiving centerpiece.

I strategically bought the fruit for it’s mix of color and texture: brown Bosc pears, green Granny Smith apples, orange tangerines and soft red pomegranates. I added a few harvest squashes I had left and 2 small feather balls, continuing the colorful elements onto the runner. Some more of my yard’s clippings added some feathery, green texture. As a final touch, I sprinkled some of the nuts throughout like confetti.

Green clippings from the yard add texture.

Greenery clippings from the yard add texture to a centerpiece.

Shell-on nuts add texture to a Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Almost done with the texture-filled centerpiece! A perfect ending is always to add some life and glow with candles. I lit the votives in the beans and added a couple more small pottery pieces with beans to the other end of the table. Candlelight needs to be at both ends of the table!

Candlelight glows from inside a brown glass vessel.

Votive candles in vintage pottery.

Thanksgiving centerpiece

From overhead you can see the balance of all the elements even though there’s not perfect symmetry. I love the variety of colors, textures and shapes.

Thanksgiving Centerpiece.

Now, to follow through the theme we’ve developed to the place settings.

I started with some cedar chargers I picked up from Pier 1. I fell in love with their textural chargers last spring when I set my Easter table {see “Add Luscious Layers to your Tablescape“}. I’m excited I will be able to use these for both Thanksgiving and Christmas:

Evergreen chargers.

I decided to use my brown on white transferware plates and some recent gold glass goblets I’d picked up at a church sale for cheap! {“For the Love and Comfort of Church Sales”}

Brown transferware plates for Thanksgiving.

Many times I will buy a beautiful package of paper napkins, because Home Goods always has such a nice variety, but I decided I wanted to use cloth this time. For years I’ve had a set of small grapevine wreaths that I wanted to use as napkin rings, but I didn’t really want to dig through my unending closet of linens to find napkins.

I remembered I had a few Swedish Huck Towels in Fall Colors that I had not used when creating my “Huck Towel Utensil Pockets”. I cut them in 1/2 lengthwise, with a pinking shear, folded them over and tied them with a yank of rustic ribbon, through the grapevine.

Thanksgiving tablescape

Thanksgiving tablescape

I really like how the graphic pattern of these towels added to the whole table!

I think the centers of these grapevines should really contain a printed Thanksgiving greeting, so I faked it to give you the idea (someday I’ll figure out how to do printables like other bloggers do):

Thanksgiving tablescape

The Thanksgiving table is ready! I just love the texture-a-palooza this tablescape provides! It just feels like a celebration, doesn’t it? And as my pastor once said, “We remember what we celebrate”. Make this holiday a celebration of Thanksgiving…to God, to your family, for the freedoms we’ve been blessed with.

Thanksgiving Tablescape

Thanksgiving tablescape

And thanks so much for sharing this special place with me! For reading, for commenting, and for supporting my creativity!

Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours!

Thanksgiving Table



Brown divider

Sharing at these lovely parties:

The Scoop

Talk of the Town

Wow Us Wednesdays


4 thoughts on “Styling the Thanksgiving Table, Step-by-Step

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