My Thanksgiving table reveal is officially becoming one of my favorite holiday traditions (see last year’s table here.) Creating an inspiration board with Thanksgiving table ideas that feel fresh and inspired, spending the day styling with dishes, candlesticks, linens, and fall branches… the fact that I get to call that “work” still leaves me pinching myself.
My process always starts with honing my inspiration–this year, pumpkins and leaves in earthy fall shades–then, I shop my own house for vases, candles, and linens that fit the vibe. When I know what gaps I still have in my table design, I stock up on a couple new pieces for the table to add to my collection–and yes, I’m linking everything I shopped in the post below. Scroll on for this year’s table–it just might be my favorite ever–as well as all the seasonal Thanksgiving table ideas I used to bring my inspiration to life.
When I’m designing any tabletop, I love to add a few new interesting items, but always aim to buy things I can use again and again. One of the beautiful qualities of simple, neutral pieces is that they can become part of a collection that never feels dated, and they can be mixed and matched with so many pieces all year around. That’s why I always start my process by shopping my own cabinets! You never know what odds and ends might spark creativity, and I always find pretty dishes, vases, and candlesticks to integrate into my design. The fun comes with the challenge of styling them in a way that feels fresh. Then, when I go to shop for new items, I think about seasonality, but also look for a timeless quality that will integrate with the other items I have for years to come.
Since I’ve used the same two sets of Heath Ceramics plates for years (I have them in white and matte grey), I decided it was time to add a new color to this year’s table. I fell in love with the caramel shade of these stoneware plates–the matte glaze feels modern, and the simple lines and curves of the lip gave them an organic feel. The price point for a 4-piece setting was appealing too, especially considering they’re handmade.
I love to keep a high-low mix of ceramic and wood candlesticks on hand that can be mixed and matched for a homey look that still feels clean, thanks to the neutral palette. Some of them are pricier marble pieces I’ve collected through the years, while others are more affordable–but when you put them all together, the total effect is undeniably special. This year, I’m feeling the softer yellow shade of these beeswax candlesticks, instead of white–and they’re a total steal from Target.
I think of the colors and textures of the food as part of my table design: this three-ingredient appetizer is a perfect Thanksgiving snack, and the brilliant shades are the perfect addition to my centerpiece. Start with a thick wedge of blue cheese (I love stilton or cambozola–something aged and creamy), then pair with crackers studded with fruit and nuts, and a fall fruit or two (can’t beat the beauty of figs and pomegranates, if you can find them!)
This year, I was inspired by the idea of incorporating a classic pumpkin motif, but in muted, earthy shades. Not a glimpse of orange to be found! Though you can certainly head to a local market or pumpkin patch, I wanted something that I could reuse year after year. I hopped on Joann’s website and searched their massive array of faux pumpkins and gourds, ordered a few, then spread them across my tablecloth for a look that’s organic and not at all Halloween-inspired. And yes, everyone totally thinks these are real.
Let’s talk about these fall leaves, shall we? The centerpiece is always a major factor when brainstorming Thanksgiving table ideas, and between fruit, foliage, and flowers, there are lots of options. I’m lucky to live a mile from Austin’s incredible wholesale flower market, so I showed up the morning of our shoot and was able to score armfuls of leaves in autumnal shades, seeded eucalyptus, and olive branches. When I got them home, I settled on an oversized brown vase that would be my centerpiece, plus a smaller glass vessel to play a supporting role. Then I just played, letting the natural curves, twists, and turns of the branches be my guide. Watch the arrangement coming together below…
Next, I tucked a few dried flowers that I had lying around between the leaves. Protea and berries are my favorites lately, and I love the aesthetic of mixing fresh foliage with dried leaves and flowers. It’s autumnal and moody, and the arrangement will last for weeks.
While last year’s Thanksgiving table showed the beauty of our raw, unstained teak dining table, this year I decided to create a slightly more refined look by covering the entire table in an easy white linen tablecloth. I lightly pressed it, but embraced the natural wrinkliness of linen, and I love the light canvas it created for my seasonal elements.
The only thing that rivals my love for setting the table is planning a menu– and we’ve got all the recipes you’ll need in our guide to Thanksgiving everything right here. These dairy-free mashed potatoes are next-level, and I can’t wait to share the brined roast turkey that Chef Michael Fjotasek taught me how to make at our shoot–it’s truly the perfect recipe.
I’d love to hear if you have any Thanksgiving table ideas you’re planning to bring to life this year! Drop a comment below, and cheers to a cozy holiday season ahead.