Holiday Prep: DIY Thanksgiving Table Décor

When it comes to Thanksgiving, the first thing (besides Butterball turkey) that comes to our minds is comfort. The warmth we feel upon entering our families homes, the delicious aromas making their way out of the kitchen, and that extremely comforting feeling knowing your family and loved ones are in the same place, at the same time, if only for a few hours.

When we think of Thanksgiving we envision, of course, a spread of delicious seasonal food. But what’s around the spread of food can vary from table to table and family to family. The decor. We think it’s important that if you choose to decorate your table you design it in a manner that is fitting to you and your guests.

Our number one rule is to pick your colors first. We typically start with 3 colors (2 main colors and 1 accent color) and work from there. Use predominately the first 2 colors then incorporate the accent color in small pops, whether it be in flowers, napkin rings, or a few vases. Sticking with a specific color palette allows the eye to move around the table nicely, and creates interesting visual appeal. Selecting unrelated colors can create confusion and potentially break up the flow of the table as a whole.  

It’s also important to know that decorating your table for Thanksgiving can be done on so many different levels and within a variety of budgets. We, being 20-somethings, are obviously on somewhat limited budgets. When we think of inexpensive ways to spruce a table up, we automatically think “What can we utilize for free?” which immediately brings us to the great outdoors. Thankfully, the fall comes with so many options for free decor. Think pine cones, acorns, leaves, branches. Take a walk or go on a hike, bring a backpack or a sturdy shopping bag, and fill it up with interesting and unique bits of nature you find while on your stroll. Once you get back to your house, spread your findings out on a table and arrange them in interesting ways. Items like acorns or pine cones can look great by themselves by simply arranging them in clear vases or large glass bowls. Larger items, such as branches with leaves on them, can make terrific center pieces and look stunning if placed in a tall cylindrical vase. An instant pick-me-up for any table! All of these options look expensive and can be found for upwards of $30+ in stores, but your guests would be impressed to know you made them yourself!

If you wanted to take the nature theme to a more crafty level then head to your local hardware store or craft store and pick up some spray paint. Spray paint comes in a huge variety of colors so you can really let your imagination run wild. Purchase a can in your accent color and in a well-ventilated area, spray a dozen or so pine cones and place them sporadically around your table for additional pops of color.

Looking for a neat way to make place cards for your guests? Instead of using a traditional tent card made out of paper, head to the grocery store or farm. Purchase lemons, pumpkins, or other seasonal produce, write each guest’s name on a small piece of cardstock, adhere the cardstock to a toothpick and stick the toothpick in the produce. Instant “awww” factor!

We’re both big fans of utilizing seasonal materials to create the ultimate table decor. If not from the outdoors, the best decorations we’ve found have usually been in the off-season at local retail shops. Once the holidays end, head to some of your favorite home decorating shops, find extremely discounted items, and stock up for the following year. These shops are constantly and almost instantly attempting to move product off the shelves once the holidays have past to make room for the next holiday. Placemats, tablecloths, platters, and glassware are just some of the items where you’ll see slashed prices. Our advice to you is to always keep an open mind, get creative, and have fun while you design a Thanksgiving table your guests will love. And most importantly, one you’ll be proud of.


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