Thanksgiving is just a couple of weeks away, and if the celebration is taking place at your house—well, godspeed. Because hosting Thanksgiving dinner is not for the faint of heart! In addition to rolling out culinary delights from the kitchen all day long, you also need to do your best not to burn the turkey and to make sure you’ve nailed your aunt’s stuffing recipe and made that apple pie your father loves. There’s nothing better than being surrounded by friends and family, but if you’re hosting, Thanksgiving can be just a wee bit stressful.
What shouldn’t be worrying you, however, is your table. Why? Because unlike the meal that needs to be perfectly timed, or the weather that will determine if you have 20 people crammed in your living room all day, your table isn’t up to chance. You can plan out your Thanksgiving decorating ideas—settings and centerpieces and servingware—well in advance, picking classic items that are more elevated than your standard dinner party fare, but universal enough to be used more than one day a year.
Below we’ve mapped out our dream Thanksgiving table decorating ideas, including everything from glitzy salt and pepper shakers and beautiful dinner plates to cute place card holders and stately brass lanterns. Order them now and set your table the day before, so you can focus on your friends, family and, of course, the food.
Creating the table setting
Botanica Dinner Plates, Set of 4 ($96, anthropologie.com)
Awash in fall-hued blooms, these beautiful dinner plates will anchor the table and set a special tone for the meal. The line also comes with coordinating bowls, salad plates, mugs and more.
Threshold 20-piece Stainless Steel Silverware Set Gold ($34.99, target.com)
Splurging on new silverware is less of a gamble when a set for four costs less than 35 bucks. We love the on-trend gold tone of these beauties, which scream “special occasion!”
Martha Stewart Collection Pumpkin Napkin Rings, Set of 4 ($12.99, originally $34, macys.com)
A successful tablescape is all about layering — from the placemat to the plates to the napkins to the (you guessed it!) napkin rings. Each detail adds more depth to the overall scheme, and we love how sweet and simple these autumnal rings are.
Room Essentials Gold Place mat ($2.49, target.com)
Add a bit of bling to your Thanksgiving table with these woven place mats that will add some weight to each setting. They’re made of vinyl and can be easily wiped down, too.
Wine Cork Place Card Holders, Set of 25 ($24.95, amazon.com)
Heighten the drama of your dinner party with assigned seating — and hopefully this pack of 25 will be able to handle your Thanksgiving crowd! The holders are made from real corks, and the set includes blank white cards and can be used year-round.
Threshold Stemless Red Wine Glasses, Set of 4 ($19.99, target.com)
Stemless wine glasses aren’t just a trend, they’re officially here to stay. Which is great, because without those clunky stems, there’s going to be a whole lot less spills on your rugs and furniture. And this set from Target is cheap enough to splurge on a few, guilt-free.
Happy Thanksgiving Melamine Plates, Set Of 4 ($11.96, worldmarket.com)
Just because you have a kids’ table doesn’t mean you need to put out paper plates. Set a festive tone with these melamine cuties that won’t break no matter how many times little hands drop them.
The servingware must-haves
Creative Co-Op Extra Large ‘Gather’ Metal Tray ($79.99, nordstom.com)
Perfect to corral decorative items on your table or to transport dishes to and from the kitchen, this iron tray is homey and modern all at once.
Autumn Plates with Stand, Set of 12 ($43.17, originally $59.95, crateandbarrel.com)
Stamped with watercolor florals in autumnal hues, these white plates are just begging for yummy appetizers or gooey desserts. We love the gold stand that makes the plates super easy to carry to and fro.
Threshold Stoneware Pumpkin Serving Bowl with Lid ($7.99, target.com)
Serving up a holiday soup? Then look no further than this ceramic bowl. The stem doubles as a handle and the creamy hue will go with pretty much any decor aesthetic.
The dinnertime decor
Priya Brass Lanterns ($19.95-$69.95, crateandbarrel.com)
Another key way to achieve a striking tablescape is via height, and these matte brass lanterns will get the job done. Available in three sizes, the lanterns have a sloping graceful shape that will complement (and not dominate) your coordinating decor. The best part? They’ll look just as beautiful in April as they do in November.
Bistro Tile Salt & Pepper Shakers ($18, anthropologie.com)
Festive and funky, these salt and pepper shakers will add a chic touch to your table. The tile pattern and black-white-and-gold hues will blend seamlessly with whatever color scheme you’re working with.
Hearth and Home ‘Thankful’ Sign On Marble Base ($25, originally $34.99; tjmaxx.com)
Perfect for your buffet table, this marble, wood and brass sign will add some swanky sentiment to your dining room.
Jacquard Pumpkin Ivory Table Runner ($11.99, originally $19.99, pier1.com)
We’re big fans of runners because they add some much-needed structure to your table’s overall design. We love the neutral colors and pattern of this one, which will quietly complement your table’s florals, candles and servingware.
Threshold Artificial Magnolia Leaves Garland ($19.99, target.com)
Run this stunning garland down the center of your table and your work is pretty much done! Despite being faux, the garland’s vibrant leaves are incredibly realistic-looking and will lend a lovely natural element to your vision.
Mud Pie Thankful Blessings Jar ($14, amazon.com)
Let’s not forget what the day is about, after all! Get your guests interacting — and reflecting — about what they’re thankful for with this adorable blessing jar, which would look great mixed into your table decor, atop a mantle or on a side table.
Your turkey dinner tools
J.K. Adams Reversible Carving Board ($85-$125, surlatable.com)
If you’re serving up turkey this Thanksgiving, you’ll need a hefty cutting board, and this reversible one from Sur La Table is a favorite. One side features troughs to catch juices while the other is flat, making it a versatile option for everyday use.
Cangshan S1 Series Steel Forged 2-Piece Carving Set ($59.97, amazon.com)
That turkey isn’t going to carve itself! Slice it up like a pro with this German-made two-piece set consisting of a carving knife and fork, which has nearly 400 reviews and a 4.5-star rating on Amazon.
All-Clad Stainless Steel Large Roaster with Rack ($129.99, crateandbarrel.com)
Sure, you could buy one of those cheap tin roasters from the grocery store, but their flimsy construction can lead to a lot of oops — which you don’t want on the big day! Instead, invest in this roaster from All Clad, which can handle up to a 20-pound turkey and is pretty much indestructible. Use it year-round for everything from roasts to lasagnas.
Thirstystone Pumpkin Trivet ($15.29, originally $30, macys.com)
All those side dishes are going to need to go somewhere when they come out of the oven. Protect your counters with this glamorous trivet that is majorly on sale right now.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailers’ listed prices at the time of publication.