Looking for ways to set a Thanksgiving table? Learn how to style a gorgeous table and impress your guests with these simple tips and fall table decor ideas.


Thanksgiving is a time to gather with loved ones, express gratitude, and enjoy a delicious meal.

Setting a beautiful table can elevate the dining experience and create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Whether you’re a seasoned host or a first-time Thanksgiving organizer, follow this step-by-step guide to setting the perfect table for Thanksgiving dinner.

Wait until you see these incredible Thanksgiving table settings and centerpiece ideas.

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Prepare Now to Set Up a Gorgeous Thanksgiving Table

It’s a good idea to plan far ahead so the week and even the day of Thanksgiving go as smoothly as possible.

I recommend setting the table the day before if you can so it’s less work for you on Thanksgiving Day.

Here are a few pre-planning tips.

close up of friendsgiving brunch or thanksgiving table setting with gold charger, lenox dinner and salad plate, mustard linen napkin and pumpkin with centerpiece of flowers and pumpkins with candles

Setting the Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner Table: A Guide to Elegance and Warmth

Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? It’s one of my favorite holidays to host and decorate for.

Each year I set a cozy table with a different autumn color palette. Some years I go with a neutral fall look. In other years, I go bright and beautiful. And sometimes, I keep it simple with some rustic elegance.

If you are hosting this year and are looking for table decor and centerpiece ideas, this post is a great place to start to get some inspiration.

Beautiful Fall Table Setting Ideas

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Before you start setting the table, gather all the necessary supplies. You’ll need:

  • Tablecloth or Table Runner
  • Dinnerware and Flatware
  • Napkins and Napkin Rings
  • Centerpiece
  • Place Cards
  • Candles

I’ve got a great list of curated items in my Thanksgiving Essentials Shop if you are looking for a few items.

Step 2: Start with the Basics

First, decide whether you want to keep your table exposed or not. You’ll want some sort of first layer like a tablecloth or table runner to add texture and create dimension.

Begin by laying down your tablecloth, table runner, or both depending on the look you want to achieve. The color and texture should complement your overall theme.

Make sure it is evenly free from wrinkles, spread, and smooth. If my tablecloth is wrinkled, I usually use a steamer like this to get the wrinkles out fast.

Step 3: Set the Plates and Flatware

Position the dinner plates at each place setting, centered on the table. Place a folded napkin on top of each plate or to the side.

I sometimes like to lay the napkin between the dinner and salad plates.

Next, arrange the flatware. Traditionally, forks are on the left, and knives and spoons are on the right. The blade of the knife should face the plate. If you have special utensils for specific courses, add them accordingly.

Is it detrimental if you get it wrong? No, because most people won’t even notice!

Simple Fall Table Decor and Thanksgiving Food Ideas with table set with brilliant autumn color palette with rattan charger, neutral dinnerware, crystal stemware on farmhouse table with green linen napkins with hemstitching
Fall table decor

Step 4: Add Glassware

Set the water glass above the knife and the wine glass to the right. If you’re serving multiple wine options, add glasses for each variety. Remember to provide non-alcoholic options for those who don’t drink.

Step 5: Centerpiece and Decor

Your centerpiece is the focal point of the table. Place it in the center, ensuring it doesn’t obstruct the view or conversation. If it’s a tall centerpiece, consider using a low one to allow for better visibility.

Add small decorative elements around the centerpiece, such as scattered autumn leaves, acorns, or mini pumpkins to cozy things up.

Candles are a must-have for a soft warm glow and can be strategically placed to create a cozy, inviting ambiance.

friendsgiving table with pumpkin centerpiece and fresh fall flowers under a crystal chandelier on the dining table for Thanksgiving

Step 6: Set the Mood

Light the candles just before your guests arrive to create an inviting atmosphere. Soft background music can enhance the overall ambiance and make everyone feel comfortable.

Step 7: Place Cards (Optional)

If you want to guide your guests to specific seats, place cards come in handy. Position them above or next to each place setting, indicating the name of the guest.

Step 8: Final Touches

Before your guests arrive, give the table a final inspection. Ensure everything is in its place, and the table looks inviting and cohesive. Now, you’re all set to welcome your guests to a beautifully set Thanksgiving table.

Remember that setting a Thanksgiving table is not just about aesthetics; it’s about creating an environment where your guests can share gratitude, good food, and great company. Enjoy the warmth and togetherness of the holiday, and let your beautifully set table be the perfect backdrop for the festivities.

How to Set a Thanksgiving Table FAQs

No matter how big or small your gathering will be, it is really important to set a pretty table for yourself.

The very fact that you went out of your way to use a beautiful dining table centerpiece and add other table decor ideas will help make the day feel more special.

So DO NOT SKIP this step!

There are usually lots of FAQs for those setting a Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving table for the first time. Here are some commonly asked questions.

Centerpiece Ideas for Every Season

How Do You Set Silverware on Thanksgiving?

As I mentioned earlier, forks are traditionally placed to the left of the place setting, and knives and spoons to the right.

If you think about it, they should be arranged based on how they’ll be used during the meal first. For example, salad forks are on the far left, and dinner forks are set on the inside left of the place setting.

While this is somewhat traditional, you don’t have to follow it.

Sometimes I find it easier to use cutlery pouches and hold everything in one spot so I can create a cool place setting.

So it really depends on how you want to design your table.

Simple Fall Table Decor and Thanksgiving Food Ideas with table set with brilliant autumn color palette with rattan charger, neutral dinnerware, crystal stemware on farmhouse table with green linen napkins with hemstitching
Bricks ‘n Blooms

What Side Does Glass Go on the Table?

Glassware is always set to the upper right of the table setting. Larger goblets go on the inside left and smaller glasses towards the right.

What Side Does the Napkin Go On?

The napkin is usually set to the left of the table setting. It can either be sited to the left of the forks, beneath the forks, between the dinner and salad plate, or in a napkin ring on the dinnerware.

Thanksgiving Centerpiece Ideas for the Dining Table

A beautiful centerpiece is the heart of any Thanksgiving table, and its significance extends far beyond mere aesthetics.

Thanksgiving is a celebration of family, friends, and the bountiful blessings in our lives, and a thoughtfully crafted centerpiece sets the stage for this celebration.

It symbolizes the abundance of the season and serves as a focal point, drawing guests into the spirit of the holiday.

Keep in mind that Thanksgiving dining table centerpieces don’t have to be an elaborate event. You can purchase fresh ones from the local florist and market or you can easily make them yourself for a lot less money.

And if you decide to do a DIY Thanksgiving centerpiece, prepare now so you are ready to make it before the big day.

Because I host every year, sometimes I create beautiful faux centerpieces that I can make well ahead of time.

It’s one less thing to think about while I am setting the table and prepping food.

Plus, I get to enjoy these gorgeous creations throughout the fall season and not just for a few days around Thanksgiving.

But I don’t always go with faux, sometimes I prefer to work with fresh-cut flowers.

So I guess you can say I change things up depending on what’s going on with my family and home and whether or not I have any flowers left to cut from my garden.

Regardless of whether you go with fresh or faux, here are some dining table centerpiece ideas to try.

Simple Centerpiece Idea for Your Thanksgiving Aesthetic with fresh pumpkins and garden mums in farmhouse dining room with vintage light and black china cabinet and hutch

Chrysanthemums and Pumpkins Centerpiece Idea

Create a simple Thanksgiving aesthetic with a simple dining table centerpiece idea using fresh pumpkins and garden mums.

Simply hollow out evenly sized pumpkins, add a plant dish and some potted chrysanthemums for an easy fall look.

Click here to see how to make this easy pumpkin centerpiece.

fresh pumpkin centerpiece idea for the dining table with garden mums that is perfect for your Thanksgiving Aesthetic using fresh pumpkins and garden mums on a farmhouse table with neutral table decorations, cedar branch placemat, dinnerware and tapered candles on brass candlestick holders

Pumpkin and Fall Flowers Centerpiece

Flowers and pumpkins complement each other beautifully, creating a harmonious and visually pleasing combination.

The vibrant colors of flowers, with their delicate petals and graceful forms, provide a striking contrast to the robust and earthy appearance of pumpkins.

This pairing not only contrasts textures and shapes but also balances the warm, rustic hues of pumpkins with the lively and diverse color palette of flowers.

The result is a captivating display that captures the essence of both the autumn season and the vibrant beauty of nature, making them an ideal choice for festive decorations and charming garden arrangements.

I made this one using zinnias, dahlias, and celosia from my garden. And the best part? I did not carve the pumpkin to make this centerpiece.

Learn how to make this gorgeous no-carve pumpkin centerpiece here.

fresh flowers and heirloom pumpkin centerpiece idea for the dining table with zinnias, dahlias, sedum autumn joy, ivy, celosia and boxwood

Cozy Fall Harvest Centerpiece Idea

This jaw-droppingly gorgeous centerpiece I made for a fall harvest dinner party with flowers cut from the garden.

Whether you cut flowers from your own garden or pick them up for the local florist, making your own flower arrangment is easy to do, extremely satisfying, and budget-friendly.

Learn how to make this centerpiece idea in real time here.

Fresh flower arrangement for fall harvest table in outoor dining space with hydrangeas, zinnias and dahlias -This flower arrangement was made from my cut flower garden with hydrangeas, zinnias and dahlias. .how to set a cozy fall harvest table
Fall Harvest Centerpiece

Easy Fall Centerpiece Idea for the Dining Table

While I typically gravitate to more neutral tones, a photo on Pinterest inspired me to use orange and blues in this Thanksgiving table setting idea.

Check out this super simple centerpiece idea.

And wait until you see what I used as a table runner! It is super cool.

How to Set a Thanksgiving Table

Rustic Fall Centerpiece for the Dining Table

Choosing a fun and unique container for a centerpiece is half the fun!

See how easy it is to make this vintage toolbox centerpiece using faux greens, florals, and pumpkins.

It takes minutes to create but will last all season long.

How to Set a Thanksgiving Table

Beautiful Fall Centerpiece Idea That You Can Make in Minutes

Another version of this vintage toolbox centerpiece is adorned with gorgeous faux greens and beautiful fall florals.

Learn how to choose realistic faux greens and florals to start building your supply with these simple tips.

How to Set a Thanksgiving Table

Transitional Centerpiece Idea Mixing Fall and Winter

Do you want to decorate for the holidays but still want to keep some semblance of fall?

Try this transitional dining table centerpiece idea that mixes both fall and winter elements.

Out of all my Thanksgiving table decor ideas, this one has been my favorite.

How to Set a Thanksgiving Table

Centerpiece Ideas for Every Season

How gorgeous are these fall cabbage roses?

I swoon every time I see them.

Learn how to make this gorgeous dining table centerpiece two ways creating a whole different look with one simple change.

How to Set a Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving Table Setting Ideas

Setting a beautiful table for Thanksgiving is essential as it elevates the entire dining experience and underscores the significance of the occasion.

I mean, if you just slap a table together without much thought it doesn’t quite feel as special as one decorated with pretty flowers and autumnal table decor. Am I right?

A well-arranged table not only showcases the effort and care put into hosting, but also creates a warm and inviting atmosphere that fosters gratitude and togetherness.

The table becomes a focal point for family and friends to gather around, sharing in the joy of the holiday. The aesthetics of the table, from the carefully chosen tableware to the centerpiece and decor, evoke a sense of tradition, celebration, and appreciation.

It’s a visual representation of the love and thoughtfulness that go into creating a memorable Thanksgiving, making the meal even more meaningful and memorable.

I love setting a pretty table. It’s really fun to be creative and I enjoy my guests’ reactions when they see it.

A beautifully set table makes gatherings feel more festive and cozy. And I’m a big believer in using what you have.

But I’ve also bought a few key items that I use ALL THE TIME.

Here are some festive and fun ideas to try.

close up of mcintosh apples in a ceramic bowl

The Best Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas

If you are looking for ways to decorate and celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family, check out these fall table decor and Thanksgiving food ideas.

From beautiful table decorations to food menu ideas, this post has it all.

Click here to see the best Thanksgiving table decor ideas.

Gorgeous vintage toolbox centerpiece decorated for fall with faux flowers in farmhouse dining room with black china cabinet and hutch with farmhouse table -Simple Fall Table Decor and Thanksgiving Food Ideas

Easy Fall Table Decor Ideas

This Thanksgiving table setting idea was inspired by these adorable little cutlery pouches.

I love the additional texture it adds to each place setting and is a nice way to organize your cutlery.

How to Set a Thanksgiving Table

Simple Fall Tablescape Idea

I love how this beautiful tablescape idea turned out.

Don’t those moscow mule mugs look perfect with faux cabbage roses, pumpkins, and gourds?

How to set a Thanksgiving Table

Neutral Fall Tablescape Ideas

I’ve been on a huge neutral decorating kick over the last year.

Here are two more ideas using neutral, natural elements for the Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving dinner table.

How to Set a Thanksgiving Table

Rustic Fall Tablescape Ideas

This rustic fall tablescape idea uses a lot of natural, organic elements with things you may already have.

Whether you use faux or real organic elements, this table-setting idea is perfect for Thanksgiving.

If you go with fresh, pick them closer to the time of the party so the branches and foliage don’t wilt.

How to Set a Thanksgiving Table

Fall Tablescape Idea

If you are fortunate to have the kind of weather where you can set a Thanksgiving table outside, this was a fun one!

And wait until you see what I used as the table runner!

How to Set a Thanksgiving Table

I hope you found some great inspiration to set your Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving table this year.

We are looking forward to reconnecting and spending time with our family this year. I am thankful that my girls will be home from college and we’ll have the whole family back under one roof.

Each day is a blessing.

What are you thankful for this year?

From our family to yours, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Our family at Thanksgiving Dinner

More About Setting a Thanksgiving Table

Do you have a favorite way to set the table for Thanksgiving? I would love to know more in the comments below.

And don’t miss joining my Gardening DIY and Decorating Community on Facebook for more chatter. And follow along there and on Instagram as well. There are behind-the-scenes daily things that I share on Instagram that don’t make it to the blog. Would love to see you there too!

If you prefer to binge-watch Bricks ’n Blooms on TV, we go more in-depth with tours and posts on my YouTube channel. Would love to hang out with you there!

And… If you’re catching up on blog posts you may have missed, be sure to sign-up to get my newest posts via email to stay up to date with everything that’s happening here on the blog and more.

friendsgiving table set with dining table centerpiece made with fresh flowers and pumpkins, taper candles, and green plants with lenox, vintage wine glasses in farmhouse dining room with black china cabinet and hutch

Get My FREE Thanksgiving Essentials Ebook

Getting ready for Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving? CLICK HERE to get my free 25-page downloadable Thanksgiving Essentials Ebook that shares decorating ideas, hosting tips, recipes, and ways guests can support hosts.

close up of mcintosh apples in a ceramic bowl

Want to Learn What You Need to Set a Beautiful Table?

Click here to get my FREE GUIDE that tells you everything you need to set a gorgeous table! Welcome friends and family to a cozy dining table with this must-have list of tabletop decor that you’ll use over and over again.

More Thanksgiving Ideas

If you are looking for more Thanksgiving Day ideas and inspiration, check out these posts.

From hosting gifts to table decor, food, and menu ideas, I’ve got you covered.

flowers and pumpkin centerpiece idea for the dining table set on a bistro table on the porch

Want to Learn How to Grow Flowers With Ease?

If you’ve always wanted to grow flowers with ease, I got you. I wrote a book that shares all the things you need to know to grow a beautiful and easy-care flower garden.

What’s In the Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide?

  • Gardening basics to set you up for success
  • Great garden design ideas with ready-made plans for you to follow
  • Easy-care instructions for a wide variety of flowering annuals, perennials, and shrubs
  • Helpful how-tos for container and cut flower gardening
  • Graphs, charts, and lists to help you stay organized

My book publishes on February 6, 2024, but you can preorder now and get a special pre-order bonus chapter you can’t get when the preorder period closes.

Preorder your copy here and get a free, downloadable guide that shares bonus information with tips and unique garden designs to get year-round color in your landscape. Offer ends 2/5/24.

Looking For More Fall Decorating Ideas

Looking for more fall decorating ideas? Check out these posts.

Click here to shop my vintage farmhouse with close up of the front porch with flowers

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Sign up for my free newsletter to get blog posts, seasonal tips, recipes, and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Plus, get free VIP access to my Resource Library where you’ll find insider freebies not readily available to the public.

how to set a thanksgiving table graphic over thanksgiving tablescape with pumpkin centerpiece
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Enjoy your day! xoxo

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How to Set a Thanksgiving Table
How to Set a Thanksgiving Table
Easy Fall Centerpiece for the Dining Table
How to Set a Thanksgiving Table

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6 Comments

  1. Your Thanksgiving table is gorgeous Stacy! Thanks so much for sharing it with us at Farmhouse Friday!