Almost Effortless Thanksgiving Tablescape

Hello, and welcome! We are almost into the thick of the holiday season! Today I am sharing some simple Thanksgiving table decor tips that make entertaining almost effortless!

Thanks to Rita from Panoply for hosting today’s Thanksgiving tablescape blog hop. You will find links to 16 tablescapes at the end of this post. Be sure to visit them all and soak up the inspiration!

Simple Thanksgiving tablescape decor

Let’s get started!

Simple Thanksgiving table decor doesn’t mean boring!

Lets’ be honest. Hosting Thanksgiving, or any holiday, can be exhausting. If there are any tasks that can make the day easier, and hence more enjoyable for you, setting an effortless table is one of them!

It is easy to get caught up in the idea that everything has to be perfect or over the top. That everything has to be “just so”.

Not only can that mindset be exhausting, but also expensive!

A dining table set for Thanksgiving.

The table I set for Thanksgiving this year really was almost effortless! But, definitely not lacking style.

Plan your table decor around what you already have

I planned things a little differently this time.

I always stress that we should use what we have when styling a table, but I am guilty of wanting “all the things” I think I need to make it extra special.

Wood candlestick beside a fall leaf garland.

Usually I decide on a theme or a particular style and then build the tablescape around that. Often, this requires spending extra money to fit my vision or theme.

This time, I really wanted to keep things easy so I shopped my stash first. I pulled things out that fit the autumn season as far as colours and textures, and styled the table from what I found. In fact, the only thing I purchased was the centrepiece (which doubles as dessert!)

Party tip: Prepare Ahead!

A week or so before the “big day” give some thought about how you want to style your table. Make sure your table linens are clean, you have enough plates, glassware and cutlery. Don’t hesitate to use paper napkins if that will make your life easier! Set the table a day or two ahead of time, checking one thing off your to-do list.

Plates, napkins, glasses and cutlery stacked on a dining room table.

Don’t overlook nature. Foraging pinecones, branches with leaves or berries, or other natural elements cost nothing and make for gorgeous Thanksgiving table decor.

Just a few elements for an effortless tablescape

  • Tablecloth, runner, and/or placemats
  • Dinnerware (chargers, plates, bowls, etc.)
  • Napkins
  • Flatware
  • Centrepiece or other table decor

Don’t be afraid to mix and match. I often mix plates, napkins or glasses that all fit the season when I don’t have enough for all the guests.

An amber coloured stemmed wine glass

Simple tan coloured linen napkins are placed on top of the plate stack. I love using cloth napkins. I think it is an easy way to elevate the everyday! This 12 pack of napkins are less than $15 and come in a variety of colours.

I paired my everyday white dinner plates, (which get used often in my tablescapes), with round straw placemats, dark wood charger plates, and melamine plates with a crackled look and brown edges.

I purchased a set of amber coloured stemware from the grocery store back in September on clearance for just 74 cents each. They are a neutral enough colour that I will use them often, and not worry about them breaking.

Faux leave garland in shades of orange for fall.

I used my faux leaf garland down the centre of the table. It is arranged on top of a table runner that is actually upside down! The “good” side is sunflowers, but I wanted a neutral runner without a pattern and didn’t want to buy a new one.

I had dried a few extra oranges and placed them amongst the garland. You could use fresh

An easy centrepiece that does double duty

If you have visited my tablescapes before you may have seen that I like to use edible centrepieces, like I did on this Christmas tablescape.

In keeping with my goal to create an easy Thanksgiving tablescape, I purchased a chocolate layer cake from the grocery store bakery instead of baking from scratch, and then fancied it up with things I had in the refrigerator!

I wish I had taken a before photo. It was a pretty enough chocolate fudge cake, but had nothing on top except for 5 cherries placed around the outside edge and one in the middle.

Chocolate layer cake decorated with figs and dried orange slices.

I removed the cherries and decorated the top with slices of orange that I dried in a 275 degree oven for 2 hours, and sliced figs and rosemary sprigs that I had in the refrigerator.

You can check two things off your to-do list! Thanksgiving centrepiece – check! Thanksgiving dessert – check!

A place setting on a Thanksgiving table with a straw placemat, wood charger plate and white dinner plate.

My copper flatware gets a lot of use during the autumn. Mine was a gift, but I often see it at HomeSense (Home Goods in the US) or Marshalls at very reasonable prices.

2 place settings in autumn colours

Less is more

In the end, all you really need are dinner plates, napkins, flatware everyday glassware. It is the family and friends that make the gathering special. And, keeping the table decor simple at Thanksgiving reduces stress and frees up time for you to spend with your guests.

Again, effortless does not mean lacking in style!

Using what you already have or supplementing with a few elements you know you will use again keeps costs down.

Overhead view of a chocolate cake decorated with dried oranges and sliced figs.

Are you ready for even more Tablescape decor inspiration? You will find it in all the links below!

Panoply – Harvest of Thanks

Everyday Living – Gathering With Grateful Hearts

Hyacinths for the Soul – A Tribute to Tom Turkey

Home is Where the Boat Is – Giving Thanks Table with Indian Corn Arrangement

My Thrift Store Addiction – Friendsgiving Charcuterie and Wine Buffet

Me and My Captain – Thankful, Grateful

The Painted Apron – Eat, Drink & Be Thankful

Life and Linda – Autumn Leaves & Pumpkins Please

The Cat’s Whiskerz – Giving Thanks Wherever You Are

Belle Bleu Interiors – Gather with a Grateful Heart

From My Carolina Home – Turkey Time Tablescape

Karins Kottage – Harvest Elegance: Crafting a Thanksgiving Tablescape

Dinner at Eight – A Modern Take on a Traditional Pattern for Thanksgiving

Corner of Plaid and Paisley – Oh, So Thankful

Red Cottage Chronicles – Almost Effortless Thanksgiving Tablescape

The Bookish Dilettante – Thanksgiving Tablescape with Vintage Linens

The Little Yellow Corner Store – A Simple Fruit and Greenery Tablescape

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  1. I am completely inspired by your table, especially your edible centerpiece. I love the dried oranges, rosemary, and figs decorating it: perfect for fall and Thanksgiving! I like the server it’s sitting on, too. All the colors on your table complement the colors of the cake. So pretty! Nice tips in the post, too. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Maureen, thank you for sharing tips that can make any holiday easier. The centerpiece is stunning with the dried oranges, figs, and rosemary. I love the idea of an edible centerpiece. The table is elegant in its simplicity. It is always a pleasure to hop with you. Wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving season!

  3. Maureen, your leaf garland looks so realistic and I love dressing up grocery store cakes–yours looks fabulous! (Chocolate and orange is one of my favorite flavor combos!) It’s a pleasure to pull up a chair to your pretty table! Blessings, Cecilia @ My Thrift Store Addiction

  4. This table is lovely Maureen, simple doesn’t mean it’s not special! The beautiful cake centerpiece is brilliant, and I adore the way you topped it with the dried orange slices and scattered more down your leaf garland {who can tell it has sunflowers on the other side!} Your copper flatware and tinted stemware is so pretty. I love the natural elements of your table, perfect for this time of year and for Thanksgiving. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  5. I love your table Maureen and I would like to sit and munch on that beautiful cake. There is nothing wrong with semi-homemade! Using the orange slices and removing the few cherries was inspirational. I love to take something that is pre-made and then add my special touches and make it mine. Your time saving tips are a must for anyone attempting to prepare a holiday meal for family and friends. Thanks for that. I wish you and yours a wonderful, happy and blessed Thanksgiving.

  6. Very pretty Maureen. Love the edible centerpiece. That chocolate cake is gorgeous with dried orange slices. Wonderful tips on setting a pretty table. The copper flatware is so lovely along with your amber goblets. A pleasure hopping along with you.

  7. Maureen, I am right with you. An edible centerpiece really saves a lot of planning. Your cake is gorgeous. Who would have known that it was purchased from the store. You did a great job of embellishing it to suit your needs. So lovely. I also like the idea of shopping your own supplies first to create a new design. I did it for this blog hop myself and it was so gratifying. I surprised myself when I could find enough at home to create something new. I love your use of neutrals and natural elements for your table. So stylish and inviting. I hope you have a wonderful holiday with loved ones.

  8. I appreciate the easy approach you have for decorating and agree that easy doesn’t mean it won’t be stylish. There’s lot to savor here and that cake as the centerpiece is eye-catching. And it will be hard to resist! I’m sure your guests will enjoy sharing the table with you. As I enjoyed hopping with you! Happy Thanksgiving

  9. Maureen, you are so smart in your choices for this Thanksgiving tablescape (as well as most all I have seen of yours)! As mentioned by more than one, you are truly inspiring with demonstrating the use of things already at home. I admit I am guilty of wanting to acquire elements (mostly salad plates), to mix with things I have for a new look. But making your centerpiece double as dessert is really brilliant. You’ve certainly elevated the look with the orange slices, figs and rosemary cuttings. I love how it complements the moody chargers. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the moody vibe you create seems to be a signature thing for you, starting with your table itself, and the florals (faux or real, you do both), and I love that touch. Thank you for joining us in this traditionally American holiday by sharing your Canadian talent. It just goes to show styling a beautiful table is universal, no matter what occasion or place.

  10. Maureen, your table is lovely and great suggestions for planning a party. I like your autumn leaves running down your table. Enjoyed this table with its soft colors and pretty linens. Thank you!

  11. Maureen, your table is so elegant and beautiful set for a Thanksgiving dinner. You have shared some wonderful tips to help us prepare for entertaining. The chocolate cake is a showstopper! I love how you embellished it, and I adore the idea of having an edible centerpiece. Thanks for sharing this idea with us. I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving season.

  12. Maureen, your table is lovely and what great tips you have to offer. I love the centerpiece that doubles as dessert and the addition of the figs, oranges, and rosemary really make for a fantastic looking cake! The leaf runner and the soft neutrals in your plate stack make for a very warm and inviting table. The amber glassware looks great and what a fantastic deal. Who would not want to join you at this table – you do “simple” beautifully!

  13. Maureen, you used lots of smarts to set this beautiful table!! First, the smart buy of the cute stemware for such a deal! Second, using your runner upside down!!! Genius!! Third, using that fabulous chocolate cake as the centerpiece!!! I love the neutral place setting that has so much texture to it and what you did to jazz up the cake was spectacular!!! Enjoy!!!