How to Create a Thanksgiving Dinner Table Setting

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Gillian Grefe

Fill 1Created with Sketch.

Published on November 5, 2019

It’s hard to find a better holiday than one that’s entirely focused on food. When all eyes are on the table, take to our selection of dinnerware classics for a tabletop that’s sure to entertain your guests and spotlight your delicious Thanksgiving menu.

Start with the tablecloth. This shouldn’t be difficult, but it shouldn’t be forgotten. Foster the feeling of fall with warm tones and comfy textures. Linen is a classic choice because it’s simple and elegant. May we suggest this rust-color table throw. It’s on sale for less than $20, and the durable polyester fabric is washer-safe. 

Next up: napkins. Layer additional texture onto your tablescape with napkins. Again, our go-to is (you guessed it) linen. If you’re aiming for a formal yet cozy aesthetic, the Bark Textured Jacquard napkins from West Elm are on-brand and on-budget. 

Unsure how to style your napkins? Here are three ideas:

1.  You can’t go wrong with a flat, classic tri-fold, or silverware wrap. There are no rules as to where the napkin should sit, but be sure to place your napkin with intention. For this style, it’s a safe bet to set your silverware atop the napkin.

2.  Fold your napkin long-ways into thirds for a thin, rectangular shape. Lay the napkin under the bottom-most dish such that the napkin drapes off of the table.

3.  No time to iron? Take opposing corners of your napkin and fold it diagonally. Gently twist this shape into a long, rope-like figure. Then, use the two ends to tie a knot in the middle of the elongated fabric. Lay your napkin across the plate or parallel to silverware for a stylish, hassle-free detail that counts.

Rust Table Throw

When it comes to practical servingware and dishes, you’ll want an array of shapes and sizes to accommodate your holiday eats. Keep to natural materials like bamboo, wood, and terracotta for an artisan look. McGee & Co’s terracotta bowls double as decor due to their unique, warm tone and natural texture. They’re the perfect supplement to a neutral fall palette, and even more impressive on the dinner table. 

Layering various materials and earth tones adds visual interest to your tablescape without overwhelming the eye. Finish your tabletop decor stack with a wooden charger or serving tray for next-level detail that won’t be missed.

Terracotta Bowl

Glassware is a go-to when looking for creative ways to bring your tablescape to life. A staple water glass is essential. A classic choice never fails, but don’t be afraid to choose something with more personality, such as the chroma double old-fashioned glass from CB2. It’s a versatile glass, perfect for water, juice, or cocktails (as the name suggests).

Things get even more creative with unique cocktail glassware. The crystalline waterfall coupe glasses from Anthropologie bring a touch of glam to any formal occasion. The coupe-style glass is typically used for mixed drinks, but the full waterfall collection at Anthropologie includes everything from wine glasses to a carafe and more.

Chroma Clear Double Old-Fashioned Glass

Flowers and gourds are the perfect Thanksgiving table centerpiece solution. When decorating, set anchor points across the length of the table, or create one large arrangement in the middle of your table. Then, fill in the gaps with candlestick holders or smaller decor items. Don’t forget to leave room for the food! 

For a classic look, shop Year and Day’s bud vase in Daybreak. Fill it with a fern, or statement bloom. McGee & Co.’s peach flower pot is another simple yet eye-catching piece than can live on in your home beyond the holidays. Rustic meets glam in CB2’s gleam brass footed bowl. The bread bowl, of course, is the most crucial element of your tablescape (only partially joking), and this bowl is second to none.

West Elm Brass Candleholder

We can’t wait to see your Thanksgiving dinner table setting. Share your table with us using #myhavenly. And if you don’t already, follow us @thehavenly on Instagram!

In the meantime, shop this designer-curated selection of servingware and decor perfect for Thanksgiving.

Words by Morgan Hitz