Are you tired of your holiday table falling flat? It doesn’t have to this year. Several design elements can transform your Thanksgiving dinner table into a feast for the eyes, not just the stomach. This article offers place-setting advice, decor ideas, and more holiday-themed advice to help you create a gobble-worthy display.

Thanksgiving Table Setting Ideas

Foundational table elements are crucial to a showstopping design. The following sections will show you how to set your dinner table up for success with tablecloths, runners, chargers, and place mats.

Tablecloths and Runners

Thanksgiving table design with tablecloth and runner
Image Source: Instagram, eFavormart

Tablecloths and runners are the perfect tools for dressing up your dinner table. You can use a table runner with or without a tablecloth base. If you opt for both, select one as the complementary element to the other. For example, if you choose a buffalo plaid tablecloth, use a subtler runner to accent the cloth. We recommend using a runner that pulls color from the cloth’s color palette.

That said, don’t be afraid to experiment with fun colors and textures for your display. We love burlap for fall table decorations. It’s simple, rustic, and chic, ideal for layering over a patterned tablecloth.

If a table runner is part of your Thanksgiving decor, feel free to get creative. Take these tips from IQ Linens to understand how to best utilize runners:

  • Get creative with size — Not sure what size runner you need? Runners are typically 14-17 inches wide and hang 6-15 inches on both sides of the table. Although a table runner normally hangs over the sides of the table, you can choose a shorter one as a base for your table’s centerpiece.
  • Highlight place settings — You can crisscross two matching runners on a circular table to define four place settings around the space.
  • Ditch the tablecloth — No tablecloth? No problem. Use a runner on your bare tabletop to accent the furniture’s natural beauty.

Festive Place Settings

Place setting with stacked plates, spoons, and linen napkin
Image Source: Canva

Once you’ve dressed your table with a coordinating tablecloth and runner, it’s time to break out the place mats and dinnerware. Place mats are simple but make a significant impact on your Thanksgiving table. These tools make the table seem more inviting for guests. You can make your table more welcoming by arranging a place card next to each placemat. Guests will love having a designated spot for the feast and won’t have to deliberate where to sit.

As for flatware, you can stack plates to prepare for more than one course. For example, you might place a decorative plate, known as a charger, on the bottom, a dinner plate in the middle, and a salad bowl on top. Chargers are a simple way to dress up your table without having to buy a special set of holiday flatware. Use regular white plates and bowls atop a red or gold charger, then place a folded linen napkin on top.

Wrap the linen in a festive napkin ring for a finishing touch. For DIY lovers or hosts on a budget, twine works perfectly as an affordable and rustic-chic napkin ring alternative. Finally, set your silverware according to proper place setting rules, and your table is almost ready for the big feast.

Thanksgiving Centerpiece Ideas

The best way to tie together your holiday table dressing is with a seasonal fall centerpiece. Centerpieces are the ultimate table decoration because they allow you to bring your favorite design elements to life in a small space. Plus, the options are limitless, so you can play around with textures, dimensions, colors, and materials until you’re satisfied.

When putting together the ultimate Thanksgiving centerpiece, remember to use your imagination. We suggest mixing tall and short decor pieces to make your table seem fuller and brighter. However, be careful not to use items that block your guests from conversing across the table. You might want to stick to pieces under a foot tall for the dining room table. Then, feel free to go big on your serving tables with bouquets and candlesticks that heighten your design.

With that in mind, explore some of our favorite Thanksgiving centerpiece ideas for a delectable display.

Seasonal Flower Arrangements

Fall bouquet with orange, red, and fuchsia flowers
Image Source: Canva

Create a centerpiece from beautiful fall flowers to give your dining table a pop of color. Flowers like chrysanthemums, orange lilies, sunflowers, and solidagos tie in a traditional Thanksgiving color scheme with warm autumn hues. Meanwhile, the burst of shapes and textures will draw guests’ eyes to the center of the table.

Using seasonal flowers in your centerpiece is an excellent option for DIY fans who can find stunning blooms in their local garden shops and grocery stores. Alternatively, you can use artificial flowers to create a floral centerpiece that steals the show year after year.

This tutorial from JOANN Fabric & Craft Stores provides simple tips for making your own floral centerpiece:

Once you’ve selected the flowers for your centerpiece, incorporate touches of seasonal greenery throughout the rest of your table. Eucalyptus is an excellent choice for fall tables because it’s easy to find year-round. The plant’s sage green color will accentuate the vibrant oranges and reds at the center of your table. You can create a eucalyptus wreath around your centerpiece or intersperse sprigs among the delicious platters of food dressing your table.

Live in an area without changing leaves and cool weather? Use succulents as a floral accent for your table. Some succulent varieties like Echeveria Romeo, Sempervivum Red Rubin, and Crassula Capitella produce lovely, red-tinged leaves that will coordinate well with a Thanksgiving color scheme. Place these plants in a copper vase, glass container, or even a hollowed pumpkin, and you’ll have the perfect display.

Assorted Pumpkins

Pumpkins and pinecones in a Thanksgiving centerpiece
Image Source: Canva

Pumpkins are the quintessential autumn decorations. So, don’t just bake these iconic gourds into your Thanksgiving pie — use them as an unforgettable centerpiece for your holiday table.

These fall fruits come in various shapes, colors, and sizes, making them excellent for adding visual appeal to your table. You can select several diverse pumpkins and space them throughout the Thanksgiving spread for a tabletop pumpkin patch. Or, you could place a mini pumpkin with each place setting as a party favor. If you use this idea, consider tying a place card around the pumpkin’s stem.

Even if you don’t want traditional orange gourds in your design, pumpkins still might have a place at the table. Painted pumpkins are popular for incorporating some seasonal fun into any home. Spray paint mini pumpkins white and their stems gold for a glam Thanksgiving table design. Or, paint your pumpkins black to elicit a gothic aesthetic.

Pine cones and Acorns

pine cones and acorns on a table
Image Source: Canva

Don’t stop at gourds and flowers; Thanksgiving is a fantastic time to enhance your interior design with woody elements like acorns and pine cones. These versatile items bring a comforting touch of nature to your table. Because acorns and pine cones are mostly dark brown, use them to accent other eye-catching decor pieces like flowers, fall leaves, and patterned tablecloths.

This video from eHow shows two simple methods of using pine cones as table centerpieces:


tea lights decorating a Thanksgiving tabletop
Image Source: Canva

Candles are chic decorations that mirror the warmth your guests will feel sitting around your holiday table. They’re also incredibly diverse in aesthetics and design uses, making them a useful tool for creative homeowners.

Consider white or cream candlesticks for a classic touch if your Thanksgiving table already includes bold colors, textures, and patterns. Alternatively, you can make candles the main attraction of your tablescape by incorporating a variety of heights, shapes, and colors. Place tea lights in vases and intermingle wrought iron candle holders for a classic aesthetic. Or, visit your local home decor store for more seasonal options.

We love these pumpkin votive holders from Amazon. They’re versatile and stylish, bringing a touch of the season to your Thanksgiving tablescape.

A Thanksgiving Cornucopia

Wicker cornucopia surrounded by gourds and apples
Image Source: Canva

Nothing says Thanksgiving like a cornucopia overflowing with seasonal produce. The cornucopia is a well-known symbol of abundance that will make your dinner guests feel welcome.

When using a cornucopia in your Thanksgiving tablescape, don’t be afraid to let the horn’s content “spill” across the table. This design choice is a fun way to incorporate other elements like flowers, candles, and fall greenery into your table design.

Consider a cornucopia kit like this one from Amazon. The package includes an autumnal wicker horn, white pumpkins, and artificial fall leaves to disperse across your table.

Thanksgiving Feasts Can Be Tasty and Stylish

We hope these ideas turn your Thanksgiving Day dining table into a stylish success. We encourage you to mix and match many of the design elements in this article for a fall-themed table masterpiece. Your guests will love your beautiful table decor as much as the tasty dishes in front of them.

Seeking seasonal design inspiration for the rest of your home? Check out our list of the best fall decor ideas for your living room, front porch, kitchen, and more.

Editorial Contributors
Elisabeth Beauchamp

Elisabeth Beauchamp

Senior Staff Writer

Elisabeth Beauchamp is a content producer for Today’s Homeowner’s Lawn and Windows categories. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in Journalism and Linguistics. When Elisabeth isn’t writing about flowers, foliage, and fertilizer, she’s researching landscaping trends and current events in the agricultural space. Elisabeth aims to educate and equip readers with the tools they need to create a home they love.

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Lora Novak

Senior Editor

Lora Novak meticulously proofreads and edits all commercial content for Today’s Homeowner to guarantee that it contains the most up-to-date information. Lora brings over 12 years of writing, editing, and digital marketing expertise. She’s worked on thousands of articles related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, plumbing, lawn/garden, pest control, insurance, and other general homeownership topics.

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