5 Ways To Elevate Your Thanksgiving Table Decor

Thanksgiving — a time for food, spending time with family, and enjoying the passing of seasons. Thanksgiving is actually the most popular holiday in America, according to a survey from Statista. At House Digest, we love it because it's a time to really make your kitchen and dining table the heart of the home. To help you prepare for the big holiday, we wanted to find a few simple ways to make this turkey dinner one to remember. That's why we compiled five tips for elevating your Thanksgiving tablescape. 

We've tried to keep the shopping and the crafting in our tips to a minimum so your day doesn't have to become more hectic. Most of our tips can be done well in advance of the big day, so you won't have to alternate your turkey baster and your craft glue, because that's just a disaster waiting to happen. Follow our hassle-free guide for creating an amazing Thanksgiving table setting. 

Lit candles add an elegant touch

Go classic and elegant and bring some candles to the dinner scape. You can choose any type you like — whether you go for a candle in a self-contained jar, a pillar candle on a stand, or a taper candle in a bronze holder, the little spark adds a ton of warmth to the room. However, avoid using scented candles, says Holly Holden. Too many artificial scents over the food may be unappealing for guests. For this reason, we recommend using unscented candles and only lighting them for ambiance, not fragrance. Luckily, unscented white candles tend to run much cheaper than scented candles. 

Look for vintage candle holders at your local antique mall or thrift store for a classy edge. And if you're nervous about little ones at the dinner table knocking over the candles and causing chaos, opt for flame-free LED candles — many still come with wax bases and look shockingly realistic. 

Incorporate natural elements

Thanksgiving happens at the end of November each year to mark an occasion that far precedes the holiday itself — harvest season! After an entire summer of growing and tending to your garden, autumn comes as the time to reap the rewards as fresh pumpkins, pears, apples, corn, and potatoes reach full maturity. That's why it's important to incorporate natural elements into your tablescape — to celebrate the fruits of the harvest season, a tradition that harkens back to ancient Greece, says Ava's Flowers

You can do this in a few ways, but our top recommendations are: using a mixture of dried and fresh-cut flowers, gathering autumnal leaves, and displaying fresh seasonal produce. Fresh-cut flowers are a go-to for any tablescape, as they look refined and sophisticated, but dried flowers, grasses, and wheat stalks add not only great texture but pay homage to the end of the season of abundance. Fallen leaves from the tree in your yard can be taken by the branch or individually and add a festive pop of color. 

Create custom place cards

Bringing in a touch of formality can really elevate the feeling of your Thanksgiving dinner, and may even caution relatives against bringing up less-than-savory topics. Creating place cards with some information about what food is on offer and who brought what can make everyone feel included and appreciated; however, you can go as simple as you want with these place cards. 

You can always order place cards from an Etsy seller, but we prefer a more budget-friendly option by creating your own. We typically use Canva, which offers countless pre-made and customizable templates and is super user-friendly; you can check out their place card tutorial here. Find the style that works best for your aesthetic, then customize each one with a name. These print-outs look especially snazzy on thick printer paper, so invest in a stack of card stock if you're printing at home. Otherwise, you can print them at your local print shop, Walgreens, or UPS store. 

Go eclectic on tableware

If you're hosting the big meal and don't happen to have 20 matching wine glasses, dinner plates, chargers, and forks, congrats, you're a normal person. But that doesn't mean you need to settle for plastic cups and paper plates. Instead, opt for a funky but sophisticated eclectic design. Hit up your local thrift store, go to the dollar store, and have some fun with it. 

For chargers, head to the dollar store for some inexpensive acrylic options. Because you don't actually eat off the charger, you can use spray paint to give it a gold coat, stony texture, or matte chalk finish — follow this tutorial from Designed to the Nines for additional instructions. Just be sure to give a few days before painting and serving to avoid any unpleasant chemical smells. With a charger, even if the dinner plates aren't all matching, you have a base element that is consistent throughout the table setting. At the thrift store, look for sets of four to six wine glasses or chalices in a colored or crystal-cut glass. Then mix and match them around the table. These are just a few easy ways to take your table up a notch. 

Don't underestimate the power of linen

While a lot of people have decided to leave the stuffy tablecloths in the cupboards, there are actually plenty of modern and organic ways to incorporate linens and textiles into your Thanksgiving table. One benefit of the tablecloth is that it really is just a big piece of fabric, and you don't always need to hem the sides if you're going for a more rustic feel — just be sure to get proper measurements for your table. If you have a sewing machine, we love this tutorial from Online Fabric Store, or you can try out a no-sew tutorial from Be Brave and Bloom

Even if you have a gorgeous table you don't want to cover up, table runners, macrame placemats, and cloth napkins can really warm the space. You can easily find lots of options at your local craft store. You can always dress up a set of generic white cloth napkins with a leaf stencil and some fabric paint. Go as simple and affordable or as elegant and intricate as you like — just be sure to incorporate textiles and linens into your Thanksgiving tablescape.