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Creating a Great Thanksgiving Tablescape

Updated on April 28, 2015

Bringing the best of autumn to your Thanksgiving table.

A tablescape is very much like a landscape: like the landscape around your home may include trees, green grass, hills, neighboring houses, and other touches, the tablescape includes your linens, dishware, serving dishes, flatware, flowers, candles, and other decorations.

In decorating parlance, a tablescape is "all of the decorating elements that you amass on your table to create a vignette."

A tablescape captures a scene or tells a story, and Thanksgiving offers the perfect time to try your hand at creating such a masterpiece!

Get Creative with Color

Thanksgiving can be an incredibly easy holiday for which to decorate. A few fallen leaves, gourds, pumpkins, apples, cinnamon, and fall flowers, such as mums, all make terrific centerpieces and can create a lovely tablescape. But if you want to try something new, why don't you go with a color we don't usually associate with Thanksgiving: white. You will need:

* Ten white miniature pumpkins.

* 2 8-inch glass bubble bowls

* 3 white pillar candles and candle plates

* White tablecloth; damask is a great choice.

Fill the bowls with white pumpkins and place these in the middle of the table about two feet apart. Put a pillar candle between them, and one on either side. White dishware is very chic with this look. With the soft candle light and the unexpected white colors, this will make a very elegant and effective tablescape.

Holiday Table Colors

What do you think of white for your Thanksgiving table?

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Flickr Photo Credit:  gemma_T
Flickr Photo Credit: gemma_T

Get Kids Involved

For an idea that is fun, kid-friendly, and just cute, you will need apples, sweet potatoes, pears, white potatoes, squash, and assorted root vegetables.

Gather toothpicks, cloves, radishes, raisins, and white raisins. You have the makings of great vegetable people and animals. You can, for instance, cut prunes into shapes like ears, securing them to a potato with toothpicks. The eyes can be raisins secured with cloves. Use your imagination.

If you have guests or children, have them help out while they're waiting for the meal. The best part about this type of tablescape is that it goes perfectly with anything, especially mismatched dishware. If you don't have matching china, don't worry. It's part of your tablescape.

If you have kids that you want to keep busy while you're preparing the Thanksgiving dinner, have them decorate Thanksgiving cookies to set out as part of your tablescape!

Nature's Bounty

Thanksgiving is about celebrating bounty, so use that in your tablescape. Your centerpiece can be as simple as a woven basket filled with green and red apples (usable centerpieces are wonderful, and you don't have to waste a thing). Cornucopia-style Thanksgiving baskets can also be purchased and filled with fresh fruits and vegetables.

For your place card holders, put a pear on a plate and lean a place card on it. It is simple, elegant, and edible. You can also cut a slit into a mini pumpkin or gourd and make place cards with tabs that you insert into the slits. Nature provides the best materials.

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

Natural Element Candles

For a fun, veggie lovers look, wrap rubber bands around white pillar candles of varying heights. For a shorter candle, slip fresh green beans underneath the band all around, creating a green bean candle holder.

For taller candles, use asparagus spears. Wrap a ribbon around the rubber band to hide it. You can also hollow an artichoke to make a lovely candle holder.

To complement your table, use very simple, natural accessories.

Go Create your Table!

The important thing to know about making Thanksgiving tablescapes is that it is very difficult to do it wrong. Since natural elements work so well, we often have all the materials we need in our own backyards or via craft stores.

Think fall: deep reds, purples, greens, oranges, yellows, golds, and other rich tones, mouth-watering fragrances, like cinnamon, apples, and spice, fall leaves, and gourds. You cannot go wrong with these simple, natural materials.

A little ribbon and a lot of creativity will help you create a beautiful Thanksgiving table.

Do you create a "tablescape" for the holidays?

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    • bgassociate profile image

      bgassociate 5 years ago

      Nice lens. I think it captures the essence of the season. Very good table arrangement ideas too.

    • Shalalagirl profile image

      Shalalagirl 5 years ago

      Nice Lens! Yes, I usually do some type of small tablescape for at least one holiday per year. I like your section on using natural elements. I am adding your lens to the "related pages" section of my lens, "Vintage Glass and China - Green Decor", so that my readers can utilize your lens along with mine to decorate. Thank You for the wonderful info.

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 6 years ago

      I love the idea of getting the kids involved in the decorating, great lens.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Wonderful 'tablescape' ideas for a festive and lovely Thanksgiving table. I've added this lens to the 'related pages' section of my 'Thanksgiving Themes' lens.

    • profile image

      dessertlover 6 years ago

      I kind of like that white tablescape! It's something different, and sort of modern! Nice lens here.

    • Mayapearl profile image

      Mayapearl 7 years ago

      No I don't always but my Mom still does and looking at your lens makes want to get back to it and be creative.

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image

      squid-pinkchic18 7 years ago

      Beautiful ideas! I love decorating for holidays and Thanksgiving is always so much fun. Your ideas are really great and definitely worth trying!

    • kimmer1491 profile image

      Kim 7 years ago from Big Lake, MN

      I've never done this before but its a great idea! I love the traditional autumn colors, and I think the kids would have a great time helping to decorate. Thanks for the tips!

    • squid-janices7 profile image

      squid-janices7 7 years ago

      What a beautiful lens! When we have sit-down type Thanksgiving dinners, I always do a tablescape using gourds, candles, berries and twigs. However my family has gotten so big with all the nieces and nephews that we've had to switch to buffet-style to accommodate everyone so now I just usually go with an easy centerpiece or bouquet of flowers. Love the veggie lamb image.