Published on November 8, 2018

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Photography by India Hobson for Design*Sponge.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and if you haven’t already started on a game plan, now’s the time. While the culinary aspect of the day is essentially set in stone, the tablescape and party decor is where we really have the liberty to get a little more creative by skewing from the traditional.
Whether you’re throwing your first Friendsgiving or hosting the entire extended family (and then some), here’s your opportunity to wow guests with a table setting so stunning it just may overshadow the food.
Read on for a few of our favorite ideas: from lavish floral arrangements to DIY placemats and more.
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Photography by AARON BENGOCHEA

Bring on the Drama

If you have yet to hear, taper candles are the decorative accessory of the season. In lieu of the traditional floral centerpiece, bring in an eclectic arrangement of variously sized candles (bonus points if they’re colorful) to offer the table a chromatically rich detail with a depth-defining characteristic. Opt for a curated scheme of warm hues to play off of the season’s signature scheme.
Gray and Taupe Table SettingPin It
Photography by JENNA SARACO & SARAH ELLIOTT

Bring on the Green

Switch up your typical set of place card holders for this ultra-clever DIY, which comes with a less-than-traditional and very elevated twist. Not only will it lend a colorful detail to the table setting—ideal for those err on the monochromatic or minimalist side—but it can also double as a parting favor for guests.

Get the how-to here.

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Photography by MEGHAN MCNEER

Pack on the Pattern

This year, there’s no such thing as too much pattern—in fact, the more you have, the better. Begin with a pre-established color scheme and allow that to give you the creative freedom to bring in an eclectic array of vibrantly printed dishware and linens. The key to making this all work? Not straying from your curated palette and sticking to a grounding hue (best reserved for the tablecloth) to solidify the setup.

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Photography by JANE MERRITT FOR THE HOUSE THAT LARS BUILT

Switch Up the Palette

Blush table linens only seem fitting for Thanksgiving this year. Not only is it a much-needed departure from the typical palette of moody burgundies or reds but, when paired with the appropriate florals and dinnerware, it has the ability to complement the traditional hues of the season. In this inspired setting, lustrous metallics and a quintessentially autumn-colored centerpiece are instantly elevated by the hue of the table linens.

See more of this charming fete on The House That Lars Built.

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Photography by AMY MOSS AND NAOMI JULIA SATAKE VIA OH HAPPY DAY

DIY a Centerpiece That Wows

Here’s a project the little ones can get in on. If you’re lucky enough to find mini pumpkins by Thanksgiving, create a wow-worthy centerpiece—in an ombre effect, no less—by lining the center of the table with a colorful assortment. Fill the holes in with bright florals of a complementary tone or take note from this setup and add in tall candle holders for added height.

Get the how-to on Oh Happy Day.

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Photography by Ashleigh Amoroso, Flowers by House of Margot Blair, Food Styling by Mackenzie Smith

Make a Statement with the Unexpected

Standout table moments don’t necessarily have to embody the decor on the tabletop, per se. Wall decor, lighting, and even select furnishings can double as high-impact statements, which can completely transform a setting. In this colorfully vibrant dining room, bright blues steal the spotlight, effortlessly complementing the florals integrated in the centerpiece.

See the rest of this charming fete on Camille Styles.

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Photography by AMELIA TATNALL LAWRENCE

Embrace the Edible

When all else fails (hey, not all of us are well-versed in the realm of floral arranging) opt for an edible one instead. The best part? Everyone will be too concerned with munching on the goodies to pay attention to the actual arrangement itself, so rest easy.

Get the how-to and more on Paper & Stitch.

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Photography by TESSA NEUSTADT FOR DESIGNLOVEFEST

Bring in Florals with Star Power

We’re all for occasionally eschewing tradition in lieu of a little something outside the box. Tired of the same old Thanksgiving color scheme? Take note from this colorful setup from Designlovefest, where a vibrant and overflowing centerpiece arrangement establishes a lush dynamic against its otherwise minimalist backdrop.

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Photography by LILY GLASS, STYLING BY JULIA WESTER, VIA OH JOY

Trick the Eye

Small-space dwellers, this one’s for you. When hosting in a space with limited square footage, distract the eye with a beautifully homogenous palette elevated by leafy greens and a subtle hint of pattern. Case in point: this mini vignette, which boasts a hue so iconic, no one will notice the tight space it lives in.

Get the scoop on this setting on Oh Joy.
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Photography by INDIA HOBSON VIA DESIGN*SPONGE

Think Big…and Then Some

Have you ever seen a more stunning arrangement? Utilize this handy tutorial from floral designer extraordinaire Anna Potter of Swallows & Damsons, and you’re guaranteed a centerpiece that’ll wow. Bring in saturated fall flowers, filter in bright greens and an eclectic assortment of texturally dynamic pieces for a well-balanced finish.
Get the how-to on Design*Sponge.
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Photography by MICHELE BECKWITH VIA 100 LAYER CAKE

Rethink the Staples

Gourds and pumpkins in such inspired shades were more or less made for a Thanksgiving table. We can’t think of a more seasonally-fitting setup than one that features such a display, conveniently paired with a bare rustic table and delicate tableware. Crystal wine glasses, fine linens, and polished silverware lend an elegant touch that’s simply unparalleled.

Get the how-to on 100 Layer Cakelet.

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Photography by THE HOUSE THAT LARS BUILT | DESIGN BY ASHLEY ISENHOUR

These DIY color-your-own placemats are essentially guaranteed to keep the little ones occupied for at least the first course of the meal. Line the kids’ table with these printables and pair with an abundant array of coloring utensils—stickers and three-dimensional add-ons are also highly encouraged.

Get the how-to on The House That Lars Built.

This story was published on November 2017, it has been updated with new information.

Discover more ways to make the most of your Thanksgiving celebration:

IKEA Has Got The Best Thanksgiving Idea Yet
How to Throw a Dinner Party With Thanksgiving Leftovers
3 Nontraditional Centerpiece Ideas for Your Thanksgiving Tablescape