How to Set a Thanksgiving Table Like a Boss


HowToSetAThanksgivingTableLikeABossEvery holiday hostess want to set a memorable Thanksgiving table that not only looks amazing but has unique, personal touches that say to their guests “I’m so glad you’re here.” Setting a spectacular holiday dinner table is easier than you think. With just a few steps you can make sure the big meal is as classy and elegant as it is filling.

The Basics

If you’re using a table pad for a more luxurious, restaurant-type feel, now is the time to dig it out and wipe it down. Also in that day or two prior, check your linens for stains and wash them if necessary (these days it’s even acceptable to use a designer sheet, pairing it with color-coordinating solid colored napkins). It’s best to set your table the night before or early the morning of Thanksgiving Day. This gives you plenty of time to focus on the food prep rather than rushing around at the last minute or trying to delegate, taking people away from visiting with family and friends.

The Dinnerware

Don’t be afraid to mix and match! Funky, retro combinations are all the rage – gone are the days of scandal if each piece isn’t from the exact same set. End of season sales and thrift stores can be treasure troves of glassware and utensil sets. Be on the lookout for extra-large plates to use as chargers, or go with grapevine wreaths accented by real leaves placed under the dinner plates, for a rustic, homey feel.

Go formal and have the proper salad fork, dinner fork, butter knife, soup spoon, and teaspoon in their traditional locations (with cloth napkin folded into a simple rectangle on the plate, or tie them up together in raffia and lay along the top of the place setting for a more casual look. Ideally each guest should also have water and wine glasses.

Color Schemes and Centerpieces

A monochromatic theme, or going for a classic black and white color palette gives your table a timeless, elegant feel. Browns and oranges allow you to incorporate natural elements into your tablescape. Try an off-white table runner on a tablecloth made of burlap yardage (ultra-affordable and very much in style). Add baskets of pine cones, small decorative pumpkins, and neutral candlesticks with vanilla tapers and you’ve got a stunning, classy outdoor look that will keep your guests talking. Roll and tie the napkins in twine for an added touch. Glass hurricanes filled with fallen leaves bring even more of the colorful autumn feel of the outdoors right into your guests’ laps.

Take advantage of your garden for a simple Thanksgiving table look. Pull out those glass vases that sit in the cupboards most of the year and clip some of your roses (Knock-outs, in particular, bloom well into November, even in temperate climates). Marigolds also tend to stay in bloom late into the season and add a beautiful fall hue to your meal.

The Little Things

Adding personal touches to each place setting makes your guests feel at home. Make hand-stamped place cards with each person’s name using ink that is color-coordinated to the table theme, then fold into a tent and place on each plate. Make up a quick batch of fudge a couple days in advance and tie a square up in a piece of vellum, fastening with a pretty ribbon and place next to each place setting.

Don’t leave the kids out! To soothe their disgruntled feelings, (don’t we all remember dreading having to sit at the kids’ table!), cellophane goody bags filled with candy, stickers, or small toys leave a lasting, fun impression. Use a paper tablecloth and set crayons by each place setting to give the little ones something to do while (impatiently) waiting for their food.

Whether you’ve “shopped” around your own home for things you already have, or invested in brand spanking new tableware and Thanksgiving décor, your table is sure to be unique and inspiring. Now that you’ve created an atmosphere that would (almost) make Martha Stewart jealous, it’s finally time to relax and enjoy all your delicious hard work!