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Setting a Rustic Thanksgiving Tablescape

Setting a Rustic Thanksgiving Tablescape

Left: Fall fruit centerpieces by Datura A Modern Garden; photo by Carla Ten Eyck Photography.Right: Woodland tablescape by Branches Floral Design and Polka Dots & Daisies; photo by Camilla Photography and Azure B Photography for Wedding Chicks.

It’s true that elegant, classic Thanksgiving tables, replete with bone china, cut crystal, and heirloom linens will always be in style, especially in more formal situations. However, with one glance at Pinterest (especially our “Setting the Table” board) it’s evident that more rustic style tables, replete with natural materials and earthy textures, are garnering all sorts of attention. Similarly to the tableaus we featured in our “Talking Tablecloths for Summer Weddings” post, the best Thanksgiving tablescapes incorporate a cornucopia of elements from the outdoors, literally. Here, we see how event designers and entertaining bloggers are creating rustic Thanksgiving tablescapes for fall.


Left: Photo by © | Right: Photo by Resolusean

On the left, Houston interior decorator Amanda Eck of Amanda Carol of Amanda Carol Interiors dressed her own dining room table for fall using miniature white pumpkins at each place setting, and a cluster of antlers and faux succulents as a centerpiece. She mixed her fine china with less expensive finds, including square gold chargers, along with her collection of vintage glassware from the ‘50s and ‘60s. Rather than a tablecloth, she opted for a textural fabric remnant, which she folded in half and spread across the table.

San Diego event planner Thomas Bui of Thomas Bui Lifestyle designed the18-person dinner soiree pictured on the right. The tablescape incorporates wintry elements with harvest touches, such as the amber colored glassware and votives. A brown and ivory brocade tablecloth and fur trimmed chair covers, both from Wildflower Linens, set the mood, while rhinestone-accented menu cards designed by Jennifer Dailard of J Grace added a hint of sparkle. Down the center, floral designer LaVonne Crawford of Adorations Botanical Artistry mixed birch branches and pinecones with lush white peonies and hydrangeas, along with a few gold roses.


Photo by Urban Rose Photo

Event designer Alisa Lewis, who works out of Idaho, creates autumnal table designs with in seasonal elements she finds in nature. This tablescape, inspired by seasonal botanicals and food with a hint of French country, includes fresh florals, berries, and branches that she foraged close to home. Warm gold, brass, and copper tones add warmth and natural textures such as the flax napkins and linen table runner add an organic feel to the overall design. Garden of Eden did the flowers, adorning each place setting with a bouquet of herbs picked from a local garden.  All the corners of the vignette were decorated with fresh potted herbs. Lewis says, “The hearty potted herbs are also a great way to add a long-lasting element to your table design as they will stay fresh on a table much longer than cut flowers.”


Lindsay Jackman of The White Buffalo Styling Co. designed the tablescape on the left, using the vintage fabric used for the napkins as inspiration. Grapevine wreath napkin rings encircle each one, echoing the shape and texture of the wood round platforms under each place setting. Piles of heirloom pumpkins from the local farmer’s market are set atop a chocolate brown burlap runner, alternating with pillar candles on thicker wood round platforms, complete with bark. Although Jackman stuck with an autumnal palette here she says, “Don't be afraid to experiment with color. Often, we feel like we have to stick to a traditional seasonal color scheme, but bringing in unexpected colors and textures can be fun too!”

Atlanta-based blogger Robin Gay, who writes All Things Heart & Home, infuses a bit of Chrismas in the Thanksgiving table setting on the right, using plaid napkins, velvet pumpkins, and mercury glass votive holders. For Thanksgiving dinner, she offers this charming tradition: “Include a tree branch pencil and homemade notebook made from paper bags at each place setting. Ask everyone to jot down something they're thankful for. During dessert everyone can share their lists, or pass them around for others to read aloud.”


Pennsylvania-based blogger Beth Hunter of Home Stories A to Z used a cable knit throw instead of a tablecloth for her cozy Thanksgiving tableau. Each set of flatware, along with a sprig of rosemary, is nestled in twiggy cornucopias found in a bargain bin, tied with gold-fringed zebra ribbon. Other natural elements, like mini burlap runners, pheasant feathers, sticks, and acorns carry the autumnal theme throughout. Hunter says, “When decorating in neutrals, remember to layer lots of varying textures to keep effect from looking flat.”


Becky Cunningham, the voice behind the blog Buckets of Burlap likes to find colorful elements in nature to create holiday tablescapes. The fall colors of the mini pumpkins and leafy branches from her pasture pop against the white enamel bucket, simple dishes and neutral linens on the white farm table.  Sprigs of rosemary from her garden add a bit of green. As you can see in the detail on the right, Cunningham cut leaves from vintage sheet music as place cards. She says, “Vintage items are a must for a great table setting.”