When the holidays roll around, I like to try to do a little something new with each holiday tablescape — without spending a fortune on all new table settings. I’ve found the trick is to use about 70% of what I have, and then add in a few new things. Bonus points if the new items can be reused for other holidays or other parties! Here’s how I styled my brown and white Thanksgiving tablescape from last year.
For Thanksgiving, I wanted to create a little bit of a farmhouse look. My formal china, inherited from my grandmother, is a pale yellow. It’s great for Easter, but in my mind it just doesn’t really say Thanksgiving. So I started with my white Johnson Brothers china, added touches of brown and white, and threw in a really simple DIY place card to create our Thanksgiving table.
Here’s what you need to re-create this look:
- Tan buffalo check tablecloth
- Matching napkins
- Wood-toned scalloped placemats
- White dinner and bread plates
- Brown transferware lunch plates
- Wine and water glasses
- Gold-toned cutlery
- Butcher paper
- Brass candlesticks and white tapers
- Faux leaves
- Brass paper fasteners
- Name tags created in Canva
You can find a complete list of shopping resources at the end of this post.
How to get the look
Start by layering your dining table with a table protector and the buffalo check tablecloth. I linked the tablecloth I used at the end of this post, but I will say I was disappointed in how the tablecloth washed and dried. Even using lower temperatures than the instructions recommended, the tablecloth still shrank, and now it’s too small for my table.
Measure the kraft paper to create a runner for your table. I use kraft paper and wrapping paper all the time as a table runner. Got to love the variety available and that you can just toss it after your party! I also love the extra width of paper as opposed to fabric runners that often max out at 14 inches wide.
Whatever pumpkins you have left over from Halloween, arrange those on the kraft paper to create your centerpiece. You want larger pumpkins in the center, with smaller pumpkins on the outside, and many pumpkins scattered all around. Tuck a few faux leaves into and around your pumpkins.
Add the brass candlesticks around the pumpkins.
Add the wood-tone placemats. I hesitated about these because they’re vinyl and I thought they might look cheap, but they don’t have a sheen and so I really liked how they looked on my table. If you have younger kids, vinyl is the way to go because they’re so easy to wipe clean. The wood look would be darling at a camping party or lumberjack party or even a farm party. (Wood slices also would be a cute, but pricier option.)
Then set the table, layering your white dishes with the brown transferware.
TIP: If you’re looking to build your party collection, a set of white dishes is a great place to start. The white is so flexible and you’ll be able to use it time and time again for any party theme.
To tie a knot in your napkins, roll the napkins up on the diagonal, positioning the label so it’s hidden by the roll. Then make a loose knot. Twist the napkins to curve around your place settings.
Take a step back and look at your table
After I got the dishes and crystal on my table, it looked pretty but maybe a little plain. One of the best tips I can give you, whether you’re setting a dinning table or a dessert table, is to step back and look at what you’ve created to see if it seems to be missing anything or if anything needs to be adjusted. When you’re up close and focused on the details it can be easy to overlook the big picture.
Here’s how the table looked without the place cards – kind of plain, right?
That’s when I came up with the place card DIY idea. I’ll have a tutorial up for that tomorrow.
The leaves on the place cards add a little pop of color to my neutral table scape, and the brass paper fasteners tie in with the brass candlesticks and gold cutlery.
I love the high-low look we created for Thanksgiving. It creates just the kind of comfortable, casual family feel I was going for. How are you decorating this Thanksgiving?
- Tan buffalo check tablecloth – Amazon
- Tan buffalo check napkins – Amazon
- Wood-toned scalloped placemats – Amazon
- Spode brown transferware lunch plates – Amazon
- Gold-toned cutlery – Amazon
- Kraft paper roll – Amazon
- Brass candlesticks – Amazon
- Faux fall leaves – Amazon
- Brass paper fasteners – Amazon