Thanksgiving Already? 5 Elements to Incorporate when Setting your Table

Thanksgiving Already? 5 Elements to Incorporate when Setting your Table

Setting Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving Already? 5 Elements to Incorporate when Setting your Table

The holidays can be stressful when they sneak up on you and Thanksgiving is no exception. We swear it was just summer and we were roasting hot dogs, not basting a turkey. 

There’s nothing worse than running around at the last minute and doing all your shopping, prepping, cooking, cleaning, and hosting. If this sounds familiar, then you know setting the table is something you may have overlooked in the past. It’s important to be ready for this yearly event as it brings friends and families together. 

Level Studio
has you covered if you’re unsure where to start or what to purchaseRead on to find out what we recommend when it comes to your Thanksgiving dinner table.

General Guidelines

As a general rule of thumb, layers are key. Play with shapes and sizes and mix and match materials and finishes.

When placing objects in the middle, make sure they’re low enough that you don’t impede conversations, or sightlines, or knock something over while you’re reaching for seconds. 

Make sure to plan ahead! Depending on the size of your gathering, you may not need more than a few days to gather everything you need, but you may need up to a week for large and formal gatherings.


Determine your colour palette early on as this will set the tone for the rest of the elements on the table. For Thanksgiving, use fall colours such as browns, reds, oranges, and yellows.

Colourful fall leaves on a wooden floor

Avoid using
high-saturated colours and go
for muted or
neutral versions. 

Bright colours can appear too thematic, especially for Thanksgiving or Christmas.


Table cloths help to elevate your table setting. If you don’t want to use a tablecloth, opt to use a table runner or placemats instead. Placemats, table cloths, and table runners are great ways to incorporate texture through fabrics. Table runners can run off the table but pair them with vines to make them appear more intentional.

Fabrics protect surfaces while adding warmth and softness to a space.

Table Runner on Thanksgiving Table

Natural fabrics like cotton, linen, jute, and burlap pair perfectly with wood tables. 

Florals & Greenery

Now that you’ve determined your colour palette and added texture through fabrics, the next step is to layer in florals and greenery, like branches, vines, and faux, fresh, or dried flowers. Place flowers and branches in vases.

Center Table Setting with Pampas and Blue Plates

Vines and greenery can be placed in the middle acting as a centerpiece or
table runner.

Some florals that are appropriate include, sunflowers, yellow and orange daisies, and orange roses. Pampas grass, dried wheat stalks, faux berry branches, and similar can be used as well. Bonus Tip! Your guests can take these arrangements home if you want. Think of it as a parting gift!

Cutlery & Dishware 

Lastly, finish your table off with cutlery, this is a great way to bring in accent colours, such as gold cutlery.

Use a large dinner plate as your base and layer in one or two more plates, usually a salad or soup plate. Dinner plates can be a different colour or the same colour. Plates don’t need to be porcelain, you can opt to use stoneware or a mix of the two.  Forks go on the left side and knives and spoons on the right. 

Napkin rings are optional since you can leave your napkin folded neatly on the plate or wrap it with string and dried flowers.

Rosemary wrapped in a Napkin on a Dinner Table

Depending on the size of the gathering and table, there may be multiple sizes of cutlery, like salad and dinner forks, soup spoons, teaspoons, butter knives, and so forth, Add in glassware and stemware as needed.

Simple Fall Dinner Table Setting

Decor & Finishing Touches

When it comes to decor, don’t go overboard, rather, pick a few items to accent with. There will be lots of food on the table and you don’t want to overcrowd the area and accidentally send the turkey flying off the table! Also, you want the food to take center stage, especially when you took hours to prepare it!

Another form of “decor” you can add is seasonal fruits such as apples, figs, and oranges. Place them in a tray or bowl, or on the table with vines or flowers. You can also use vegetables like corn, squash, pumpkins, or gourds.

Pumpkins, gourds and squash next to a vase of flowers

Display foods on wooden cutting boards to act as a decorative feature, like cheeses and other finger foods.

Candles are a great way to bring (literal) warmth to a space. Use unscented candles so the aromas of all the foods don’t clash with the candles. Unscented candles are also better for you and the environment. 

Seating cards are optional since these are usually reserved for formal and large gatherings. If you’re just having a few friends over and it’s a casual setting, you can skip this step. Lastly, light the candles, turn the music on, and just like that, you’re done! Looks and smells great!

Final Thoughts

Prepping, cooking, and hosting thanksgiving can be stressful, especially if it’s your first time. The
best advice we can give is to keep it simple! The food is the main course (literally) and you want everything to complement each other, not compete with each other.  

If you’re limited with space, don’t overcrowd the table. You don’t need to incorporate everything mentioned, rather, pick a few that will work for you and your space.

There are tons of ways to set your Thanksgiving table but if you finished setting your table and you’re not quite satisfied, consider reaching out to us. We’d love to level up your kitchen and dining room in time for next year’s Thanksgiving! 

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