Before you start avoiding your crazy uncle who is so far down the other political aisle as you; before the turkey takes an extra hour to finish cooking; before your sister shows up with her new boyfriend without telling you first; before all the crazy goes down, you are in the solitude of your own home daydreaming about the perfect Thanksgiving table.
Whether it’s been bouncing around in your head or you found the ideal example on Pinterest, don’t doubt that you can make that dream come true. We’ve broken down the three main elements of the perfect Thanksgiving table so you don’t miss a beat in the chaos.
Before you decide on any other elements, decide what colors you want to flaunt on your table. Consider the room in which you’ll be dining and choose colors that complement that room and each other.
Also, consider the season. Of course, we are talking about your Thanksgiving table here. What does that mean to you from a color perspective? Some may want to have more vibrant oranges and yellows, but others may gravitate toward more muted neutrals with bright accents, like gold.
First, consider if your Thanksgiving gathering will be a casual or formal affair. If you are casually hosting your family, you may not need that extra water goblet and dessert utensils. However, if you are hosting a more formal dinner, you may want to have a place setting that includes all the stops: wine, water, soup/salad, bread plate, appetizer, dinner, and all the utensils.
How big is your table? If you have a table that normally seats 6 and you have eight people attending your meal, you may want to opt for a more simplistic place setting this year. Less components often means more space for the guests.
Lastly, consider your napkins. Do you want to use paper napkins? If not, are you going to try a fancy napkin fold or a napkin ring? Napkin design may seem silly, but it can really add an excellent element of formality to your casual table.
Many people have a love/hate relationship with their table centerpieces. Here’s our first tip: don’t freak out. Are you going to be putting food on the table during dinner? If so, keep the centerpiece simple and easy to move. Try and create a centerpiece that can also look adorable on the buffet or side table in the room, this way it’s not odd to see the table centerpiece in a different spot.
If you are going to be serving food off the table, then consider a table centerpiece that is low (under eye level when sitting). This will help to make your guests feel comfortable to talk to people across the table, not just next to them.
Lean into the season! Include pumpkins, artificial seasonal fruit, and seasonal florals in the design. Consider candles too! Choose varying sizes to add dimension to the table. Don’t stress over whether the table is symmetrical. Focus on the colors and the items. As long as they feel cohesive together, your table is going to make people feel right at home.