13 Rustic Thanksgiving Table-Setting Ideas

Give your Thanksgiving table a timeless, rustic update with our 13 ideas featuring soft, neutral colors, natural materials and seasonal accents.
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June 29, 2015

Try a New Hue

Not a fan of orange and brown? No worries; your table's color palette doesn't have to be restricted to traditional fall colors. Instead try softer, cooler hues like the whites, pale greens and grays found on heirloom-variety pumpkins.

Stack a Centerpiece

For a simple focal point, skip the flowers and instead stack pumpkins in varying shades and graduated sizes to create a rustic topiary. Remove the stems from all but the top pumpkin to create a stable base.

Natural Embellishments

Use fresh greenery, like waxy magnolia leaves or feathery evergreen boughs, to add texture and color around the base of the centerpiece. Tuck collected pinecones and nuts into the arrangement to celebrate nature's bounty.

Go For a Layered Look

Layering plates in different finishes, colors or textures is an easy trick for setting an elegant table. Start with a charger, followed by a dinner plate, topped by a folded cloth napkin and small bread or dessert plate.

Easy Holiday Transition

It can be expensive (and time-consuming) to decorate for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas within the span of just three months. So opt for decor that can easily transition from one holiday to the next. Buy heirloom pumpkins for Halloween and store them in a cool place until they can be reused for Thanksgiving. Pinecones and magnolia leaves that were used to decorate your Thanksgiving table can be fashioned into a Christmas wreath after the big feast.

Beyond Pumpkins

Some varieties of squash are beautiful and a perfect fit for a rustic fall table setting. Stroll the grocery store's produce aisle or your local farmers' market for inspiration. Artichoke, cabbage, pears and pomegranates are other great options for decorating a rustic fall table.

Complete the Look

When setting your Thanksgiving table, don't forget to add fall touches to the other main elements in your dining room. A few organic additions to the chandelier, buffet, hutch or cupboard will pull the seasonal look together.

Homage to Tom the Turkey

Beautiful turkey feathers from a local farm are nestled among fresh magnolia branches to decorate the chandelier as a subtle yet elegant nod to the feast's main course.

Extra-Wide Runner

Placemats aren't necessary when using this runner custom-made by weaving together upholstery webbing. Long and narrow runners can get lost under a centerpiece, but this square version really stands out.

Don't Forget to Say Thanks

For a chic-meets-easy place card, top mini white pumpkins with tags that read, "merci" or "thank you" in French as a subtle reminder of what the day is all about. Tags like these are easy to craft yourself or purchase on handmade marketplace websites.

Play With Texture

A white tablecloth is a classic backdrop to the organic centerpiece and rough texture of the woven runner. Other options: Try layering fine linen over humble burlap or crisp cotton against nubby wool.

Asymmetry Is OK

It's not easy to find pumpkins that are the exact same size and shape, so it's okay for the centerpiece to be a bit off-balance. Imperfections lend a casual feel to a table that might feel overly formal or stuffy for guests.

Finding Freebies

Many stores and farmers' markets clear out their fall decor and start filling the shelves with Christmas items weeks before Thanksgiving. Ask local shops who sell live pumpkins if you can have them (or buy at a discount) when they make the switch. Most shops are just throwing the still-good pumpkins away and will give them to you for free.

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