How to Decorate a Thanksgiving Table When You have No Idea What the Heck a Tablescape Is


Hey friends!  Now that Halloween’s officially behind us (forgetting, of course, the mountain of candy yet to be eaten…), we’re full steam ahead towards Thanskgiving.  Can you believe it?  Welcome to November, which means we’re going to blink twice and find ourselves in 2018.  The countdown to turkey day is ON.  From cooking the bird to cleaning the house, there’s alot to do!  And for many of us, decorating the thanksgiving table tends to come about three minutes before the first guest arrives.  To keep our brains from getting overstuffed, let’s take our time this year to warm up and get planning.

One easy way to style up your Thanksgiving is to plan a drool worthy tablescape.  (A table-huh?!)  If you’re like most people, your table planning is of the “set-it-and-forget-it” style.  But a tablescape is an oh-so-easy way to take your day from ho-hum to OH-HEEEY!  Want to learn more?  Here’s how to plan a thanksgiving tablescape when you have NO idea what the heck a tablescape actually is!

Thanksgiving Table Tip 1: Use a Model

So what the heck’s a tablescape?  A “tablescape” is a landscape for your table.  Whodawhat?  Yeah, it’s one of those jumbled words (like “manscaping,” which is an entirely different thing) meant to convey two disconnected concepts.  Think of a tablescape as a cohesive combo of function and style for a tabletop.

Question: When is a fork not a fork?

Answer: When it’s part of a tablescape.

You feeling me on this? Awesome.  The best way to start thinking ’bout dressing up your turkey’s table is to find inspiration from magazines, catalogues, or Pinterest.  For this tutorial, let’s use this inspiration photo from this season’s Pottery Barn collection.  (And, no fears, y’all.  If your heart just jumped to your wallet, we’re going to talk about how to do this without making our wallet gobble.)

Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving Table Tip 2: Lay Down the Linens

Before you set your first plate, consider how you can incorporate fabrics and textiles onto your table.  Laying textiles below your place settings adds color, contrast, and texture.  Below, I’m showing some super cute options in line with our inspiration photo for table runners and napkins.  Option one’s a splurge, and option two’s a steal, showing how to get the look at a budget-friendly price point (ding ding!)  I’ve pinned the pics with affiliate links so you can jump to the product page to learn more.

While a table runner’s an easy way to color up your meal, consider what other goodies you have in your closets before heading to the store.  A cute fall blanket scarf?  A plaid throw?  If the fabric doesn’t fit across the whole table, turn it at an angle so the corners hang like a diamond.

Thanksgiving Table Tip 3: Add Fun to the Function

You know how people say “less is more”?  I’d like to argue that when it comes to turkey (and sleep), more is most certainly more.  A turkey plate to put your turkey on?  Abso-gobble-lutely.  In all seriousness, though, there are certain things your table needs, like plates, that are sort of required for the meal. And while you don’t need the nicest plates in the land — or even plates with turkeys on them for that matter — consider how you can add some style to their functionality.  Fun up the function, if you will.

These plates and napkin holders take the ordinary up a notch.  Where else can you add a little style to your substance?

Thanksgiving Table Tip 4: Play with Light and Levels

Okay, folks, if you’re reading this far I know you’re SERIOUS about tablescaping.  We’ve come to the step that makes all the difference.  Any amateur tablescaper knows that there’s, like, stuff between the plates and such.  But what kind of stuff?  And how?

When considering your tablescape, think about two things: light and levels.

Let’s start with lighting.  Ask any women where the absolute worst place to try on bathing suits is.  Answer: the store.  Under the bright lights, even the most flattering of suits shows more lumps than gravy.  Now I’m not telling you to wear a bikini to your family gathering (although you do you, if that feels comfortable!), but I AM saying that if you dim the lights a notch, everything just looks a little better.

Plus, in dim lighting, people won’t notice when you nab the last dinner roll. #score!

These flameless candles are an awesome option that’ll dress up your table in a flicker.  Plus, you won’t accidentally knock over a real candle if you hit the mulled wine.  Safety first, guys!

So that’s light, but what’s levels?  When you’re figuring out what stuff to put in your tablescape, think about how you can create levels of visual interest to your table.  Add short stuff, tall stuff, and stuff in between.  I love these accent pumpkins cause they come in a range of heights, which will easily add some drama.

Lights and levels.  Easy as pumpkin pie.

I’d love to hear your ideas for your Thanksgiving tablescape!  Pop a comment below, and if there are any other post ideas you’d like to see, send me an email at  As always, lots of love, from my house to yours,