How to Thanksgiving Table Ideas

It’s almost here.


Turkey Day.

Annual Permission to Wear Your Stretch Pants Holiday.

Does it get any better?

Family and friends and laughter and conversation and giggles and smiles….

….all topped off with turkey and dressing and pumpkin pie.


Thanksgiving at our house is just a party waiting to happen.

And to get your home ready for the holiday… recently challenged me to create some easy place setting ideas for Thanksgiving.

So here’s four creative ideas for Thanksgiving table settings.

Thanksgiving Table Setting Ideas Neutral

1.  Clip it

For this simple place setting with graphic appeal, start with a basic clipboard.

You can find clipboards in a variety of sizes and colors, like this chalkboard clipboard I picked up at a big box store.

Layer in basic white plates with a patterned plate for color and visual appeal.

Thanksgiving Table Setting Ideas Black and White

Print off a quote or a name in a fun font and add to the place setting.

I curled the ends with a pencil to make it swirl.

Lastly, clip your napkins to the end of the clipboard and top it off with silverware.

Thanksgiving Table Setting Ideas Rustic Table

2.  Go Rustic

This simple place setting is just waiting for the pilgrims to arrive with turkey, dressing and mashed potatoes.

Start with a basic linen place mat and layer in a grapevine wreath for texture and rustic flair.

Trim a piece of burlap ribbon and add a place setting of vintage transferware.

You could mix and match different colors of transferware for a one-of-kind look.

Thanksgiving Table Setting Ideas Pinecone Place Holder

Add a little fall foliage to the ribbon.

Then finish off the look with a pine cone place holder.

Print out your guest’s name and wind through the top of the pine cone for an easy way to personalize your table.

Thanksgiving Table Setting Ideas Wood Inspiration

3.  Simple and sweet

This place setting is easy to create and features a fun wood slice name plate.

Start with a basic wood place mat or a butcher block cutting board as featured above.

Layer in gray damask patterned napkins and brightly colored fall foliage to provide contrast to the simplicity of the wood.

Thanksgiving Table Setting Ideas Wood Slice Place Holder

Create the place card holder using stamps from the craft store.  Simply stamp each wood slice with the name of your guest.

Place on a nest or layer with fall leaves.

The brown ink creates the look of wood burning without the stress or mess.

Thanksgiving Table Setting Ideas Picture Frame

4.  Picture this

It doesn’t get simpler than this idea.

Start with a decorative picture frame as a place mat.  Frame a colorful fabric, or stay neutral with your framed background.

Layer in a brightly patterned purple tablecloth and add simple linen napkins.

Thanksgiving Table Setting Ideas Pumpkin Place Setting

Next, add basic white dishes and finish off the look with a ceramic pumpkin placeholder.

Write your guest’s name on the pumpkin with a metallic sharpie and send it home as a party favor.

You could also use a dry erase marker to write a quote or thankful message to each guest.


Thanksgiving decorating doesn’t have to be expensive or overwhelming.

These simple ideas help to add a little something special to your decor and take a little stress out of getting the Thanksgiving table ready.

So relax and enjoy the holidays.

After all….the best table decoration….

….are the smiles and joy of friends and family.

15322_SITE_large Craftberry Bush

I also want to give a shout out to my sweet friend, Lucy from Craftberry Bush and her amazing Joss and Main Sale.

You can see her sale, here.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Lori Ellison Lori Ellison

    Love these ideas...I find that too many of the table decor ideas leave no room for the food!! LESS is more!

  2. Image for Lori Ellison Lori Ellison

    BTW I am thinking the clipboard idea is GENIUS as an individual lap tray for large group parties. You could clip the decoration tag with the napkin. You rock again!

  3. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    Oh my gosh!! Where do I start?? There is such a wealth of information here. First of all stretch pants are de rigueur for celebratory dinnesr such as Thanksgiving. ( I thought adding the French would give it a fashion boost) Plus the pants have to have a beautiful long flowing top to cover the part that might expand and it covers any muffin tops. Shoes should be ballet flats -- very popular in France plus they are super comfy --or your house slipper of choice. And your idea of a huge picture frame as a place mat is pure genius. Just think!! Any spillage of crumbs are contained by the edges of the frame. Just dump the crumbs or wipe off the gravy that spilled on the frame. Ecco - good as new and nothing on the floor or table. Keep the frames and under the glass you can change with the holiday. I simply LOVE IT!! Off to Hobby Lobby I go -- tra la la!! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!! Big Hugs to you.

  4. Image for Shirl' Anderson Shirl' Anderson

    Happy Thanksgiving to you dear lady! Thank you for ALWAYS brightening my days! Love your table setting ideas!

  5. Image for Amy W. Amy W.

    Happy Thanksgiving! Wishing You and Yours The Very Best of The Holiday! Thank-You For All The Inspiration You've Brought Into Our Lives This Year!

  6. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    All those ideas are simple, and easy....and leave plenty of room on the table for the turkey, and all the goodies! The stretch pants are a great idea! Hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving! ;)

  7. Image for June Gerstner June Gerstner

    KariAnn, Love your fantastic ideas for less is more. I can't wait to try out a few with some personal tweeks. Happy Thanksgiving.

  8. Image for Colleen Colleen

    They are all lovely! I think the first one is my favorite! This is the first year ever that my husband and I will be alone on Thanksgiving. My in-laws are snow birds so they are in sunny Arizona and my parents who we have always spent the holiday with retired this summer and are spending the winter in San Diego. So, I made a reservation for my hubby and I. We might even forego that idea and throw a prime rib in the crock pot and call it good. What does a diy'er do with 4 days off? Well, install new kitchen flooring of course...I won't have a table to set because it will be crammed in the living room ;) I plan to make up for this holiday by setting a really nice table for Christmas!!

  9. Image for Carol Carol

    I live in Australia where Thanksgiving is beginning to be celebrated, which is funny because it is happening mostly on 'your' Thanksgiving date which here this year was soooo hot. Eventually we will make it at the end of our harvest time back before Winter. What I love about this site is that often, as with this post, it shows decorated rooms that would work where I live, lots of light, lots of space. Great ideas thank you. Carol

  10. Image for gina gina

    I know your Thanksgiving will be filled with family and love and plenty of pictures! As it should be! Savor the moments! Love to you and your family.

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