Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the foods, the season, the colors, and a gathering of people. Whether I’m with friends or family, the day always feels comfortable and laid back. There are no rules. Just eat and have a good time.
Because the food is so much fun, it’s equally fun to dress up the house, the yard and the table. I must have gotten that from my mother, who was a highly creative interior designer. Her tastes and ideas varied from year to year, but the house was always beautifully decorated inside and out. People would Ooooh and Aaaah over her creations.
Things I Have Done
When designing your table, employ the colors of the season – orange, red, yellow and brown – in the tablecloth, plates, glasses, accessories and centerpiece. Think ‘warmth’.
Bare wood says cozy to me! An old maple table and chairs remind me of Colonial times, maybe because I grew up in a Colonial home with furnishings of the era. I’m not suggesting you go out and buy new furniture, but be sure to play off the wood if you have it. Don’t cover it up! Utilize it!
A runner down the middle keeps the wood exposed, delineates space for a centerpiece and serving bowls, and creates a focal point. A warm color, like brick red, anchors the setting.
To contrast with all the warmth, I like crystal and white plates. Crystal is visually light and lets the colors and designs show through. The shine contrasts with the natural materials of the table. White plates are versatile, of course, and you can add warm tone napkins or place mats for contrast.
Use plant material of the season, too. Go outside to gather pinecones, branches, and dried flowers and grasses. Visit a florist for mums and sunflowers along with other visually interesting shapes. Find colorful dried corncobs at the farmers market.
At the supermarket, buy apples, pears, gourds, nuts and grapes. One year, my centerpiece was a basket full of nuts flanked by wooden candlesticks with pale yellow candles. A piece of orange, white, yellow and red floral ribbon was casually woven through the three items. Alternatively, I could have tied ribbon around the candlesticks and placed a small bow on the pile of nuts to create continuity.
Once I created a centerpiece of a still life of three large colorful gourds on an oval jute mat. I used dark orange placemats and pale yellow napkins to keep the focus on the gourds. Another time, I filled a cornucopia with fresh fruit and nuts.
Things I Have To Try
I love gourds. Their shapes and colors are always interesting, and each one is different. I’d like to get some small ones, carve out the center a bit and use them to hold stout candles in matching colors.
I love crystal! A plain crystal vase with a few bare branches or bittersweet would be simple yet striking.
Carve out a pumpkin to use as a vase for fresh flowers.
I’d like to make a large wreath and two smaller ones of natural materials, then lay them on the table with the large one in the center, and put fat candles in the centers.
Colorful dried leaves can be scattered on the table to look like a tree had shed its leaves on it.
Old wooden boxes always catch my eye. I’d like to fill a shallow one with candles, branches and pinecones as a centerpiece.
Raffia is a natural material and would add to the autumn feel of the table tied around the stem of wine glasses or around cloth napkins. It could also be used to tie each person’s silverware together. This bundle could be placed on the plate or horizontally above it.
There is simplicity in a long, single branch with an interesting shape as a centerpiece.
I put a lot of these ideas onto a Thanksgiving tables Pinterest board, since it is easier to look at them than describe them! Use your imagination, and have a wonderful feast day!