How to set a beautiful dinner table.

While the meal might take center stage at your family’s Thanksgiving dinner, be sure not to forget your table setting! Setting the table for America’s favorite dinner is a great way to show off your creativity and sensibilities–but where to even begin! If you’re in need of some tips and inspiration for setting the scene for this Thanksgiving, check out these table setting ideas.

1. Get Crafty

Here’s a super-simple craft for your dinner table: DIY autumnal trivets! Find great Thanksgiving shapes–leaves, a turkey–and cut them out. Make their outlines on cork tiles, then cut them out–that’s all! Try a variety of shapes to use for each dish on the table.

2. Gold & Gilt

Get rustic with gilded dinnerware and shimmering centerpieces. We recommend gold-rimmed plates or glasses set against deep red and dark-colored flowers. Add in a fall cornucopia (or gilded artificial gourds) to complete the look, paired with a burgundy tablecloth.

3. Au Naturale

Spice up the table by going all-natural! Believe it or not, bare twigs and branches in an attractive vase is as good a centerpiece as any. If you’re using a napkin ring in your table setting, jazz it up by hot gluing acorn caps to make your autumnal table look grand!

4. Heirlooms & Antiques

Take a run to your local thrift store for vintage silverware an linens. Be on the lookout for old-timey brass candlesticks and crystal glass. Don’t worry about things looking eclectic: your diner will look as though it’s been pieced together over time, handed down through generations.

5. Go Exotic

Ditch the boring, solid-color tablecloth and opt for an exotic pattern that fits with the Thanksgiving color palette. Find a texture that works with your plates or your centerpiece to bring dramatic flair to the look.

6. Layer, layer, layer!

Simplicity’s great, but add some height with your plating by giving each guest a charger, a plate, cloth napkin and dessert or bread plate all stacked together. For the final touch, add in something small that guests can enjoy at the very top, such as a tiny pumpkin.

7. Everything in its Place

Place cards add a nice formal touch to the table. But they can also be fun serving as souvenirs for guests to take with them after the meal. You can print out place cards at home, or let your creativity run wild by getting crafty. 

8. Glisten & Shine

If you’re using metallic accents (such as our “gold & gilt” tip above) be sure to utilize candles! This creates an atmospheric glistening that will be as lively as your company. For a little surprise, you can even use a scented candle in your centerpiece, adding both warmth and a fresh scent to your Thanksgiving table.

9. Contrasts are Everything

You don’t want your table to be all ceramics, metallic, glass and so on; mix and match! Contrasting materials are eye-catching, and your table will look great by pairing wood and metal or ceramics and glass. But it’s not all about the finishes: contrast height and shape as well. For example, if you have a small pumpkin for each guest atop a plate as suggested in tip #6, be sure to place a slender candlestick or elongated glass nearby.

10. Quality and Quantity

The bigger your table, the more centerpieces you’ll want to use. Rather than a single, huge centerpiece, try a bunch of smaller ones. This fills up empty space while letting everyone enjoy the decor–and leaves a smarter organization for passing around the food.


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