The Knik Knak Nine | Tips for a Picture Perfect Thanksgiving Table

We know from experience that hosting Thanksgiving is a huge undertaking!  So we’ve rounded up some of our best tips for effortless entertaining on the big day, and it starts with an elegant yet functional Thanksgiving table.   

  1. Start with a tablecloth or runner as a foundation for the table. In our Fall Harvest table pictured below, we used a striped tan and brown table runner from Hester & Cook.  We love the Hester & Cook disposable paper products for their chic and whimsical designs and easy clean up.  We also love the idea of going old school with a patterned fabric tablecloth in contemporary fall colors like rust, mustard yellow, and taupe.  Plaid is always a good option, and we also like more traditional patterns for an elegant look.  And did you know these printed tablecloths are making a big comeback?  We’re not sure if it’s part of the Grandmillenial décor trend or because of their traditional beauty, versatility, and easy clean up.  Either way, we’re into it.

  1. Next it’s time to layer on the rest of the table settings.  Use placemats, chargers, or a combination of both.  In our Fall Harvest tablescape, we paired the whimsical Hester & Cook turkey placemats with wood chargers.  We then placed fringed linen napkins on top of the charger to add some soft texture.  We pulled them through our brass and leather napkin ties to keep them tidy, and we love how the brass ties in with the lanterns and candlesticks.  
  1. Set out all of the extras in advance, such as pitchers of water, water glasses, wine, salt and pepper shakers, and butter dishes. We buy the salt and pepper shakers and butter dishes in pairs so we can place a set at each end of the table for convenience.  And if you need help on the proper place settings for a meal, there’s always Pinterest (what did we do before Pinterest?!). 
  1. For fall centerpieces we like to add some leaves, florals, candles, and a fun, seasonal element like velvet pumpkins. Here we used our Fall Harvest collection as the centerpiece, and then added antique brass candle holders and tapers for some height.  Adding elements of varying materials and heights (but not so high that guests can’t see each other from across the table) creates visual interest and carries the eye across the table.   We placed extra pumpkins on the nearby sideboard to tie the look together.  

  1. We also like to include candlelight to create a soft, autumn ambience. Candles also make the occasion feel special.  We typically recommend buying scented candles, as they really do complete the room.  But when using candles during a meal, we prefer to use unscented ones so the scent doesn’t compete with the food.   
  1. Layer your lighting. Use your overhead lights, chandelier, and any table lights on a low setting to create a moody fall setting for your Thanksgiving gathering. 
  1. Make it personal with handwritten place cards at each guest's seat. This will help take the guesswork out of who is sitting where at mealtime.  
  1. Set your table a day or two before Thanksgiving so you have time to create the perfect tablescape. Plus it’s one less thing to stress about the day of. 
  1. Don’t forget the entertainment. We love to set up special kids place settings using melamine plates and paper placemats or tablecloths that they can color.  Set a mason jar filled with crayons or colored pencils at their seats.  A fun craft like these turkey mask kits will keep the kids busy while the adults are finishing up dinner.  And we can’t let the kids have all the fun!  Include a few conversation starters for the adults, and don’t forget to create a chill playlist that appeals to all generations.    

While we can’t put the turkey in the oven for you or entertain your crazy uncle, we hope that some of these tips will help make your Thanksgiving more relaxing and fun.  Who wouldn’t enjoy a glass of wine and a delicious meal at this table? Invitation accepted! 

Need help styling your own fall table?  Email us at and we'll be sure to get back to you.