It’s almost turkey time, and while the bird may play the starring role on Thanksgiving Day, the table it graces plays an important supporting role—especially when it comes to those pictures you know you’re going to want to post on social media. After all, if you’re giving thanks in style, you may as well show it off for all the world (or at least your friends and followers) to see.
But where to start? There are napkins to noodle, centerpieces to consider, and flowers to figure out. Frankly, it can all be a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, there’s inspo aplenty to be found on Instagram.
1. Skip the centerpiece
Janet Lorusso, owner of JRL Interiors in Boston, suggests making the majority of your decor part of the place setting, focusing on the place cards, napkins, place mats, and special details at each seat rather than an extravagant centerpiece.
“That frees up the center of the table for the all-important food,” she says.
2. Try a portable centerpiece
If you can’t resist a stunning centerpiece, Lorusso suggests arranging one on a tray. That way it’s easy to move if you need more space for food.
3. Go natural
Lorusso also likes to use natural decor, including bittersweet vines, acorns, herbs, fall leaves, and mini pumpkins or gourds, all of which can serve as both decor and easy place-card holders at individual place settings.
4. Use flowers, but watch the height
Massive floral arrangements make a statement, but can get in the way of conversation. Make sure your centerpiece isn’t so tall that guests can’t see one another across the table (well, unless that’s your intent).
5. Let there be light
Candles always add an intimate feel to a table, but think beyond a couple of tapered candlesticks and consider incorporating different shapes and heights.
Candles “add ambiance and can be scattered across the tablescape or at each place setting,” says Lorusso.
6. Thanksgiving alfresco
If you’re lucky enough to have weather befitting an outdoor feast, choose natural elements like leaves and herbs for decor, and place settings in deep, rich colors that play up the surrounding landscape.
7. Beyond flowers
Succulents are hot right now, and they make a great addition to a holiday table.
“Incorporating greenery into a space always promotes comfort for guests,” says Bronwen Smith, lead designer and owner of B Floral in New York. “Succulents are also simple to decorate with. For example, simply repot into a fun or elegant vase and set on a table. You can also get creative with them and make a succulent pumpkin or gourd centerpiece.”
8. Edible arrangements
Have your centerpiece, and eat it too. Edible centerpieces are gorgeous as well as practical.
9. Served with a side of sentimentality
Edward Perotti, an international designer, suggests marrying creativity with sweet, sentimental touches by asking your relatives if you can borrow some of their china and stemware—just a handful of pieces from each. Then, set your table by using the salad plate from one set, the dinner plate from another set, and so on with additional plates and glassware.
“Don’t worry about matching,” says Perotti. “This table is all about your family and the blending of different styles to create one overall experience. When you all join around the table, have the person who donated china tell a favorite family memory.”
Of course, Thanksgiving dinner isn’t about racking up the likes on Instagram. It’s about family, friends, giving thanks, and all that good stuff—but if your followers gobble up your pics, that’s always nice too. Happy Thanksgiving!
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