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7 expert tips for setting the perfect Thanksgiving table

Welcome your friends and family to a memorable Thanksgiving celebration with a table setting that reflects the abundance, warmth, and gratitude we all share this season.

Planning your perfect Thanksgiving menu is crucial, but equally important is the tablescape you’ll create to welcome your guests and serve up memorable moments.

Planning holiday table decorations can be overwhelming, but with these expert tips, you’ll create the perfect setting in no time!

Opt for Abundance

Thanksgiving and harvest meals are meant to celebrate the abundance we have at this time of year, so make sure your tablescape reflects this feeling. Don’t worry if dishes are crowded or if you fill most of the space in the centre of the table with decorations. Similarly, choose décor that is slightly larger than its container or space to give the impression of abundance. For instance, fill flower vases until they spill over the sides and group several candles together in a single spot rather than using one at a time.

Choose a Theme for Your Table Linens

For your table linens, choose whether you want something elegant, rustic, or homemade. These embroidered pumpkin napkins are a great option for something that looks classy and can be matched with a variety of tablecloths. Runners are another easy way to incorporate a pattern or DIY element without overtaking the whole table. Choose something that will highlight colours in your dishes and serving pieces to create a cohesive look. For elegant linens, make sure you’ve planned the other decorations accordingly—for example, an embroidered tablecloth shouldn’t be covered with dense, heavy dishes, so you’d want to choose clear glass options instead.

Make Centrepieces Bold and Memorable

In the spirit of abundance, choose a centrepiece that makes a statement for your Thanksgiving table. A homemade gratitude tree is a great option that incorporates holiday spirit with festive colours—and your guests will love an interactive element! Other options include large floral arrangements that feature grasses and berries, glass cloche scenes filled with pumpkins and pine cones, or a collection of candles at varying heights. If you have a long table, consider placing two or three matching centrepieces along the length so that all of your guests can enjoy the décor.

Photo: Barinova Elena via 123RF

Include Custom Place Cards

Whether your holiday table is set for two or 20, custom place cards are a nice way to add a special touch to your table décor for an important meal. You can choose one of these creative DIY options or buy something pre-made. The key is to match the place card style to the rest of your décor, so make this purchase after you’ve planned other elements.

Layer Your Place Settings

We all know that guests at Thanksgiving dinner will need a dinner plate and a salad plate, perhaps a wine glass and one for water, but how do you make your place settings pop? By stacking and using layers. Charger plates are perfect for this layered effect, and you can find them in a variety of colours and materials to match your table theme—opt for wooden ones if your table is rustic or plain white if you’re incorporating a lot of colours elsewhere. In addition to stacking your plates, create layers with glassware by choosing pieces with different heights; a stemless wine glass complements a tall, skinny water glass well.

Incorporate Light

Using light in your table decorations is an excellent way to add depth and warmth to the area. Small string lights can wind around the base of other decorations or be bundled into clear glass jars. Place candles on mirrored surfaces so that the flickering light reflects along the table and amplifies the glow. If you do use candles, remember to choose unscented ones so that the fragrance doesn’t overtake the delicious food!

Plan Your Serving Dishes

Often it happens that you’ll set the perfect table and then realize that you haven’t left any room for the food! Before this happens to you, map out what serving dishes you’ll be using on the day and experiment with their placement on the table. If you find that the food leaves almost no room for place settings and decorations, opt instead for a separate food table or buffet close by; keep items like dinner rolls on the table for easy access during the meal. If your food is on the main table, plan ahead to ensure that your serving dishes match the other table décor; neutrals like clear glass and white will go with anything, so choose this option when in doubt.

With these simple tips, your Thanksgiving table will be full of fun, family, friends, and fabulous decorations this year!