A beautiful Fall or Thanksgiving tablescape doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Here are 5 quick tips to help you create one!
1. Start with the basics.
When I set a table, I always start by laying out the essentials.
First the tablecloth or runner. My two favorite tablecloths of all time are this one and this one (which I used in this tablescape). I love that it’s wrinkle and stain resistant. Unfortunately it’s no longer available, but this black and white one is similar. This one is also super cute!
Next come plates, bowls, utensils, and drink ware. Placing these on the table first ensures there is plenty of room for the necessaries and I’m not trying to squeeze them in as an afterthought.
I prefer to stick with neutral plates, chargers, and drink ware. It is generally accepted that food looks most appealing on white plates (unless you’re serving a meal of all mashed potatoes and white rice I guess! Ha!). Plus, by using all neutral plates and drink ware they can be used for any occasion or season and all you have to do is change out the accents. That’s a real money and space saver! That being said, if you enjoy using seasonally themed plates and have a place to store them, by all means go for it – they’re a lot of fun.
Keep plenty of space around these items on your table.There should be enough room to easily maneuver one’s utensils without the risk of tipping a water glass. Aside from such practical issues, letting the space breathe lends itself to a peaceful atmosphere.
2. Keep it simple.
I like to keep tablescapes simple. An overly cluttered table can detract from the gathering and leave one feeling cramped while trying to eat and visit.
I like simple. Simple projects, uncluttered rooms, and simple recipes all make me happy. Don’t get me wrong – I’m willing to delve into complex projects (chair upholstery, anyone?) and I appreciate intricate details, but it’s refreshing for the soul when something in life is actually just simple.
Don’t let it fool you though – even with “simple” decor you can make a bold statement. Here are a few ideas:
3. Incorporate natural elements.
Adding greenery and nature to just about any decorative setting can make it feel complete!
I’m so thankful to have a Trader Joe’s nearby that offers a large variety of beautiful fresh flowers and foliage at very affordable prices! One bunch of mums is typically $3.99 and filler greenery is $2.99. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s perhaps you have a farmers’ market, a produce or flower stand, or even your own backyard.It’s all about being creative and working with what you have available to you!
Mixing a variety of colors and textures in your flowers and greenery adds interest and can make your arrangement feel more upscale. For my main centerpiece I like to arrange the flowers themselves first in the container, focusing on shaping the arrangement, then stick in filler (greenery) where I feel it fits and complements the flowers.
Get creative with your centerpiece container – here I used an antique crock, but the possibilities are endless!
You can then carry that greenery down onto your table in a freeform fashion. Here I used seeded eucalyptus and scattered fresh pumpkins on top. Keep your accents in odd numbered groupings (3 pumpkins on each side) and mix the sizes and colors for added interest.
Important note! Try to avoid flowers that have extra strong scents that could detract from the smell of the food or aggravate your dining companions’ allergies! Also, some greenery and flowers are not suitable for use in certain situations. For instance, the oils from eucalyptus should not be ingested (can cause seizures), so I would never place the eucalyptus directly on the napkins or have it placed where a stray leaf could fall into someone’s bowl.
Instead, for the napkin accents, I chose to use fresh sage from our garden.
This way the greenery that comes into contact with the napkins is something perfectly safe and edible! If you choose to use something like real pumpkins, like I did, be sure to wash them with some soap and water before placing them on your guests’ napkins. (These white cloth napkins were from Target last year.)
4. Add candlelight for ambiance.
Adding a few candles can easily transition a tablescape from daytime to cozy evening mode.
Big candles aren’t even necessary – keeping them small and scattered about helps keep the focus on your centerpiece, out of your guests’ way, and spreads the warmth around the whole table.
For this tablescape I used little glass baby food jars (I knew I saved those for a reason!) filled with sugar (just plain old granulated sugar), and white candle stubs I had leftover from previous occasions. I tucked in three jars among the pumpkins and eucalyptus on either side of the crock. (Remember, odd numbers work well!) Didn’t cost me a thing – so thrifty!
5. Start with what you already have.
Forcing yourself to use what you already have encourages creativity and resourcefulness, saves money, and reduces clutter.
Obviously for this tablescape I purchased fresh flowers and pumpkins, but they were very affordable and I will not have to store them long term. You could just as easily use faux pumpkins and faux flowers that you could reuse from year to year. Everything else I already had and have used many times before. That’s actually just our everyday silverware as I refuse to have more than one set – ha!
It’s remarkable how different a tablescape can look just by switching things around and incorporating different accents, though – even when you’re reusing some of the same elements each time!
I hope you found these tips inspiring as you create your own Fall or Thanksgiving tablescapes!
Do you enjoy decorating your table for the seasons? Which holiday or season is your favorite? Drop a comment below and let me know!