How to Set a Table for Thanksgiving (Only The Best Ideas)

Thanksgiving Table Settings: The Best Setting Ideas

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner, the food is usually front and center.

In fact, you may have already planned the meal, jotted down a shopping list, and assigned sides and desserts to friends and family members.

But what about your table settings? Have you covered those yet? Do you plan to?

It might seem like a minor detail, but at Thanksgiving, your table’s the foundation for the entire holiday. It’s where the bulk of the day’s activities will happen, and it’s probably the first thing people will see when they enter your home.

Shouldn’t it feel just as celebratory as the day itself?

If you haven’t given your Thanksgiving tablescape a second thought, we’re here to help.

We’ve rounded up the eight best Thanksgiving table designs on the web. Use them as inspiration for your thanksgiving table settings and start planning your turkey day table today.

1. Use pinecones for a creative approach to place setting name cards

It might be too chilly to eat al fresco, but you can certainly bring some of the outdoors in with this cute little touch.

Just cut down the scales on one side of the pinecone (so it lays flat on the table) and prop a name card up on the opposite side.

You could even spray-paint the pinecones gold for a bolder touch.

thanksgiving name tag

2. Do something fun and festive for the kiddos

Planning on having a kids’ table? Just have a few little ones joining the party? Have some fun with their place settings.

Use a blank coloring sheet for the placemat (pumpkins, turkeys, or anything festive), and add some crayons. You can even include a small pumpkin and some paint pens and let them make their own jack-o-lanterns!

Just be sure you include plenty of napkins — and consider a paper tablecloth for extra protection.

kids table thanksgiving

3. Embrace the seasonal produce

Pumpkins always make a good addition to any Thanksgiving tablescape, but they’re not the only produce you can work in.

Oranges (like the photo below), apples, and even berries all add great, festive touches — especially when combined with a little greenery or rustic foliage.

Gourds and squash are good choices, too. 

seasonal produce thanksgiving table

4. Try some tree slices on for size

Head to your local landscaper or tree removal company and ask for a few tree slices to add to your table. (You can also get these when you buy your Christmas tree — just ask whoever trims and wraps the trees to cut you a few horizontal segments). 

You can then use these at the center of the table like trivets, placing the hot bowls, trays, and other serving ware on top when it comes out of the kitchen.

You can also use them as plate runners for an even bigger rustic touch.

thanksgiving table tree slices

5. Get interactive with your Thanksgiving tablecloth

Forget fancy silks or linens. Instead, use a dark-colored sheet of butcher paper as your Thanksgiving tablecloth.

Next to each setting’s forks and knives, add a white marker or piece of chalk, and encourage each guest to sign their name and write what they’re thankful for.

It’s a fun activity for all and can also serve as a great memento of the occasion. Do one every year and see how everyone’s responses change over time!

thanksgiving table runner brown paper

6. Don’t forget the munchies

Want to keep your guests happy while that turkey finishes up?

Put out a cute munchies station using a classic cake or cupcake stand and small ceramic tins. Use little scoopers or teaspoons for serving, and be sure to offer a wide array of festive treats — think roasted pumpkin seeds, candy corn, candied pecans, etc.

thanksgiving table snacks

7. Use wheat stalks for a simple, tasteful centerpiece

Want an impactful centerpiece that doesn’t take too much time or money?

Try this simple one on for size.

All you need is a few wheat stalks (you can find them at your local craft store for cheap) and a basic white pitcher. The result is a clean, classic, and festive look that goes with just about any theme or decor.

classy thanksgiving table

8. Remember that food can serve many purposes

Food’s not just for eating, apparently.

You can also use it as the focal point in your decor. Just take a look at these festive candles. Each is wrapped with a popular Thanksgiving veggie — asparagus, green beans, and even artichokes.

You could also do one wrapped in corn kernels to add a pop of color.

thanksgiving table ideas

Hosting for the Holidays?

Are you prepping to host Thanksgiving or a holiday get-together?

Do you need cash for decor, party planning, or just to make some choice home improvements before the guests arrive?

A cash-out refinance may be able to help. Reach out to a mortgage specialist at Embrace Home Loans today to learn more about your options. We’re here to help.


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Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.