Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. I don’t know if it’s because of the delicious food, the warm atmosphere, or just the focus on gratitude – but whatever the reason, it’s truly a special celebration in my family. That’s why I believe we should make it feel extra celebratory by creating a tablescape that looks beautiful. To inspire you to elevate your home entertaining style this season, today’s guide shows how to create an elegant tablescape for Thanksgiving.

How To Create an Elegant Tablescape for Thanksgiving

How To Create an Elegant Tablescape for Thanksgiving

Create a festive seasonal centerpiece

When I start creating my tablescape for Thanksgiving, I begin by creating a festive seasonal centerpiece. Since I adore natural elements, one of my favorite easy-to-do, budget-friendly centerpieces feature unscented candles in mercury votive candle holders, dried Autumnal leaves, cinnamon-scented pine cones, real mini pumpkins, and gourds. For under $20, I bought these natural elements at Safeway (in the floral department). But, you can just as easily order these items online at Amazon.

How To Create an Elegant Tablescape for Thanksgiving

How To Create an Autumnal Centerpiece for your Tablescape for Thanksgiving

If you plan to re-create this Thanksgiving centerpiece for your table, here are my tips:

  1. To create the foundation of the centerpiece, lay the leaves down first. This will act as a base for your other elements.
  2. Next, strategically place the candle holders a few inches apart from each other in a zigzag layout. This helps to draw the eye from one candle to the next.
  3. Then start placing the mini pumpkins and gourds on to the leaves. Vary the heights and colors to create visual interest.
  4. Finally, fill in the remaining spaces with cinnamon-scented pinecones.

How To Create an Elegant Tablescape for Thanksgiving

Choose which plates and serving bowls you want to use

Whether you love patterned or plain dishes, think about what you want to be the focal point of your table. In this case, I wanted the festive centerpiece and food to be the main focus, so I opted to go with plain white ceramic plates, a serving bowl, and a platter. The only ornamental detailing on these items were the scalloped edges and raised dots, which add a feminine touch.

How To Create an Elegant Tablescape for Thanksgiving

Elevate your place settings with placemats

In addition to creating a designated seating area for each of your guests, a placemat adds beauty to your table. For this year’s table, I opted to go with pale gold woven placemats (that are easy to clean). As I love metallic finishes, this adds a glamorous element to an otherwise simple table setting.

How To Create an Elegant Tablescape for Thanksgiving

Set out utensils and glasses

Before your guests arrive, make sure to properly set out utensils (forks on the left and the knife and spoon on the right), as well as your glasses. I’m a fan of these gold-plated utensils which are also dishwasher-safe. I bought them online a few years ago and use them every day. Not only do they elevate your tablescape for Thanksgiving, but they are also practical to use, as they’re durable enough to withstand regular use and washing.

How To Create an Elegant Tablescape for Thanksgiving

Use cloth napkins and napkin rings

The finishing touch for any tablescape for Thanksgiving is the napkin. To complement the gold placemats and white plates, I opted for light-colored linen napkins that feature a subtle floral print with a metallic accent. While they look elegant and expensive, they were surprisingly budget-friendly. These napkins came in a set of 14 and cost under $20 total (from HomeGoods). One of my guests even remarked, “these napkins are so fancy I don’t even want to use it!”.

One of my favorite ways to display a napkin is to use a napkin ring. For example, these gold napkin rings instantly elevate the look of any napkin. You can either place the napkin on the left side of the plate or in the center of the plate (as shown above).

How To Create an Elegant Tablescape for Thanksgiving

Serve dishes family-style and prepare pre-made appetizers in advance

To make life easier for you as the hostess, I always recommend serving dishes family-style (so that you don’t have to worry about plating everyone’s meals). In addition, this allows your guests to choose how much and which of any food they want to eat. I also suggest having pre-made appetizers (such as these delicious goat cheese and caramelized onion puff pastries from Trader Joe’s) in the oven, ready to serve as your guests arrive. This will bide you some time as your main dishes (such as a roasted Turkey or sweet potatoes) are still cooking.

How To Create an Elegant Tablescape for Thanksgiving

Relax and enjoy yourself

As a hostess, the one thing to always remember is that your attitude and energy sets the tone for your celebration. When you feel relaxed and are able to enjoy yourself, your guests will feel more at ease and comfortable as well. That’s why I recommend planning your outfit in advance and getting ready an hour before your guests arrive. One of my favorite looks for holiday entertaining is a beautiful blouse (such as this sheer floral blouse that’s currently on sale for $47) paired with a fit-and-flare skirt. This type of outfit looks elegant, yet feels comfortable to wear.

How To Create an Elegant Tablescape for Thanksgiving

Whether you’re planning an intimate gathering with your immediate family or you intend to have a few friends over, I hope your Thanksgiving celebration is a warm, joyful, and celebratory experience for you. If you’re wondering what to serve for Thanksgiving this year, I recommend checking out this Thanksgiving entertaining guide which features recipes from celebrity chefs and restaurateurs. For more entertaining tips and ideas, check out the Entertaining section on Inspirations & Celebrations.

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