Thanksgiving decor ideas – 20 ways to style your space for the holiday season
Make your celebration extra special with these beautiful Thanksgiving decor ideas
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Thanksgiving decor ideas are the perfect way to welcome the holiday season and transform your home into a cozy space for winter celebrations with friends and family.
Whether you’re planning an intimate gathering or a thanksgiving party, plenty of candlelight and cozy touches and beautiful table decor are all a must for giving guests a warm welcome, but there are all sorts of other ways to set the scene for a joyful celebration.
As well as Thanksgiving table decor ideas befitting of a long-awaited reunion feast, look to sprinkle the holiday spirit throughout your entire home, from the front door to the fireplace.
Thanksgiving decor ideas
Whether you’re looking for autumnal tricks to keep your guests feeling cozy, or spectacular decor statements to dazzle and entertain, we asked the experts to share their favorite Thanksgiving decor ideas, and tips for making fall gatherings feel extra special.
1. Add seasonal flourishes to your porch
Give guests a warm and seasonal welcome with a beautifully decorated door and porch. Instead of a Thanksgiving wreath, ring the changes with garlands embellished with mini pumpkins and berries. Balsam Hill's (opens in new tab) fall foliage and lit wire pumpkins are guaranteed to make your entryway stand out from the crowd.
2. Create statement overmantel decor
If you're looking for thanksgiving craft ideas why not create a showstopping mantelpiece garland? A cascading design full of the colors of fall is guaranteed to wow dinner guests and will bring uplifting color during the grey days.
To create a similar design first forage for foliage and then layer the individual stems into a long thin vessel filled with florist's foam. For best results choose an array of different types of foliage and stem sizes to create a whimsical look.
'If a traditional red and gold theme resonates, wintery red hydrangea adds both opulence and warmth, and pairs perfectly with burnt beech, and fresh pine which can be sourced locally or foraged in the garden. To complete a perfect garland, use a mixture of everlasting fillers, such as Pampas grass and pinecones, amongst the fresh foliage that will dry gorgeously by the fire to be enjoyed throughout the Christmas season,’ notes luxury florist Ronny Colbie (opens in new tab).
3. Lay a beautiful table
Feasting is at the heart of Thanksgiving, so if you have time try to make the table look extra special.
For a thanksgiving centerpiece that is beautifully seasonal and easy to create, arrange a selection of pumpkins in different sizes and colors along the center of the table and decorate with vases filled with autumnal foliage, as demonstrated here by Oka (opens in new tab).
These may have to be moved off the table to make way for the all-important turkey and to prevent them from getting in the way of conversation, but that's no problem as they will make a beautiful display on a sideboard along with your best Thanksgiving decorations.
4. Create a seasonal table setting
Take inspiration from the colors and textures of fall to create a beautiful table setting for guests. A pretty tablecloth will instantly bring a sense of occasion and for a thanksgiving table centerpiece there's no need to go all out, just placing fruit and pine cones and twinkling tea lights along the middle is enough to bring the table to life.
In this Thanksgiving table setting idea jute placemats bring a rustic feel while copper tumblers bring a lovely warming glow in the candlelight.
'We love making our tablescaping as natural as possible and using pine cone decorations and beautiful fall-colored leaves is a great way to make it a bit more special. Scatter them along the middle of the table and add candles of different heights to create a warm glow,' says Sarah Kostoris, founder of homeware brand Sarah K (opens in new tab).
5. Create a cozy outdoor dining setting
Why not surprise guests with a magical outdoor thanksgiving feast? Here a simple checked farmhouse-style tablecloth and table linen from Lexington (opens in new tab) set the scene and sculptural branches of fall leaves make a rustic and humble centerpiece. Don't forget to pop a cozy throw on each chair to prevent guests from feeling a chill.
6. Create a rustic farmhouse feel
For a subtle yet seasonal look that is also sustainable try decorating with dried flowers displayed in handcrafted ceramic bud vases. They can be used to style sideboards, and mantlepieces and dotted along the table as a rustic centerpiece.
7. Embrace maximalism
Why not go all out with your layering and create a fabulous tablescape full of color and texture?
Featuring lovely brown and sage tones this delicately patterned Turning Leaves tablecloth from Katherine Young (opens in new tab) sets the scene beautifully and is layered here with her Chocolate rattan charger and Bamboo plates. A beautiful velvet pumpkin makes the perfect finishing touch or table gift.
8. Keep it simple
For a pared-back, relaxed look layer a textured linen tablecloth with handcrafted ceramic platters, wooden serving boards, woven placemats, and the simplest of crockery in subtle rustic tones. 'For me decorating for Thanksgiving is all about reflecting the seasons color palette; I like to use natural and neutral tones with splashes of deep oranges and reds,' says Sam Hood, co-founder and chief creative officer at Amara (opens in new tab).
9. Start the festivities at the front door with a wreath
Set the scene for a cozy gathering indoors by welcoming your guests with a beautiful wreath. To differentiate from your upcoming Christmas edition, choose a wreath style that majors in autumnal motifs like pumpkins, bare branches, and rust-colored leaves while adding just a touch of holiday sparkle with a bouncing red bow.
Alternatively, go all-in with the Thanksgiving theme and riff on the bird that will likely take center stage at your family meal. This spectacular wreath is made using stunning striped pheasant feathers.
10. Put the dinner table at the heart of the fun
‘Thanksgiving for us is three days of meals altogether with our grown children and their babies, plus various guests, on Bray’s Island in South Carolina,’ says interior designer Beth Webb (opens in new tab). Feasting is arguably the most important part of the holiday, meaning that the dinner table should be where you concentrate your decor efforts.
For a centerpiece take inspiration from nature and look to harvest fruit, vegetables, or foraged items from your local woodland. Alternatively, keep it contemporary with unique colorways or a pared-back Scandinavian style. ‘Adding your own style to your table setting is important,’ says Jessica Hanley, founder of Piglet In Bed (opens in new tab), who designed this tablescape in collaboration with Olive & Co (opens in new tab). ‘It's an opportunity to showcase some new pieces you might have discovered recently, and helps create a vibrant atmosphere with pops of color.’
11. Wow your guests with statement entrance decor
The floral flourishes shouldn’t stop at the wreath on your door – if you're looking for Thanksgiving party ideas consider greeting your guests with a statement piece of celebratory decor in your entrance hall. This stunning staircase display features seasonal flowers wound between the balustrades, with pops of warming autumnal color courtesy of berries, chrysanthemums, and roses, with foliage provided by on-trend eucalyptus.
12. Rethink your Halloween pumpkins for an autumnal look
‘It wouldn’t be fall without a pumpkin, but there are more possibilities than the typical orange ones,’ says Carmel Donohue, founder of Poppy Belle Florals (opens in new tab). Pumpkins may have been central to your Halloween decor, but their time is not over. Think about how to make a pumpkin planter as a centerpiece to your Thanksgiving table, or consider giving your faux ones a festive reimagining with a lick of paint.
‘Colored pumpkins are a vibe this autumn, so have fun getting the spray paints out and being creative. Mix and match your homemade creations with the range of decorative pumpkins from [the likes of] TK Maxx and Homesense to incorporate different colors, sizes, and textures into your doorscape. Whether you want to add one or ten to your display, eclectic pumpkins are the perfect finishing touch.’
13. Kick off a soiree at the cocktail station
Offering your diners a welcome drink on arrival is the first step in being a consummate host. But for times when you’re busy in the kitchen, keep your guests entertained and with a full glass in hand by creating a drinks station or small home bar. Cover a console table with a colored tablecloth for understated grandeur, and set the scene by framing artwork – here, made from wallpaper panels – with generous limbs of greenery.
‘I love to set up a Bloody Mary 'station' for Thanksgiving,’ says home decor designer Joanna Buchanan (opens in new tab). ‘The drinks are just the right color and there are so many festive and colorful add-ins that guests can select from. Of course, be sure to add a fun selection of cocktail picks so people can mark their glasses.’
14. Shake your tail feathers with bird-themed decor
While excitement brews for the turkey’s arrival at the dinner table, whet your guest’s appetite by dotting feathered friends around your decor. Birds make for a beautiful theme for fall decor ideas, with rust-colored game birds like pheasants the perfect muse. In this living room, a marble mantel is surrounded by a beautiful watercolor-painted wallpaper featuring birds. For something a little more impermanent, consider adding feathers to your floral arrangements, or bringing out the bird and nest-shaped ornaments.
15. Warm up by a festive fireplace
After all that dinner, you’re going to need a spot for a light snooze. There is simply no better spot to recline in the colder months than in front of the fireplace, so make sure this feels like an even more special part of the home with festive fall mantel ideas. Here, the fire’s warmth is boosted by an array of candles and sparkling wreaths atop the mantelpiece.
Dressing and accessorizing the space around the fireplace can be key to making the best of it. A large fireplace, offset by a symmetrical arrangement of chairs, is a tried-and-tested classic and makes an inviting setting to sit in front of.
16. Create an immersive atmosphere with scented decor
‘Fill your room with warming autumnal scents like pumpkin and cinnamon spice for the complete autumn experience,’ says Hanley. ‘You can light candles in your desired scent as well as use natural diffusers for a subtle scent that isn't too overpowering.’
Thanksgiving is certainly the time to get out your best reed diffusers or fill bowls with scented pine cone decorations and dried orange peel, but it might be that all that cooking helps to do the job for you. ‘If artificial scents aren't your thing, you can create your scents naturally by baking a seasonal cake, cooking some nuts, or even mulling some wine,’ says Hanley. ‘Get in the kitchen and make your favorite autumnal dish.’
17. Spruce up your dining chairs
It’s easy to get so preoccupied with your dining table decor ideas at Thanksgiving that you forget about the space around them.
‘Not only do you want your guests to be comfortable when sat at your gorgeous tablescape, but making your chairs look comfy is perfect for achieving that cozy autumnal look,’ says Hanley. ‘Decorate your chairs and benches with some cushions and maybe even throws which guests can remove if they wish to. Pick cushion colors that complement your color scheme and match the fabrics you have already used on the table for consistency's sake.’
In this example, upholstered chairs in a color that doesn’t exactly fit in with a traditional festive scheme are given a holiday makeover with bunches of pine branches and cones, tied up with a red bow to complement the rest of the decor.
18. Glow up with soft, warm lighting
‘Everyone looks better in a warm glow,’ says interior designer Benji Lewis (opens in new tab). ‘Lighting is one of the easiest ways to create a cozy atmosphere.’ Reaching for the dimmer switch and scattering your best candles throughout the living spaces is absolutely essential to creating a romantic holiday atmosphere in your home this Thanksgiving.
‘If you don’t have a fireplace to hunker down next to, try using ambient lighting in the form of table lamps and floor lights,’ adds Lewis. ‘The only reason you should ever use an overhead light over the coming months is to get ready in festive sequins.
19. Get a contemporary look with pampas grass
‘Pampas has been a dominant trend throughout the summer and this isn’t going to change anytime soon,’ says Donohue. ‘Bring the fall harvest feeling into your home with these tall fluffy stems, which add both texture and height to any area.’
For an on-trend look, pampas grass is a great addition to dried floral displays, or as a standalone statement, that can work all across the home and, as demonstrated here, among your fall porch ideas.
‘Suitable for a mantlescape, shelfscape, tablescape, or a larger display set on the floor, this subtle stem is a seasonal must, and the neutral shades will flatter your existing décor,’ says Donohue.
20. Keep your guests cozy with textiles
There’s nothing quite like being pleasantly full and wrapped up in a blanket, with nowhere else you need to be for the rest of the day. To make that dream come true for all your guests this Thanksgiving, ensure your seasonal soft furnishings are ready and waiting to envelop them in comfort.
Blankets, throws, and cushions that embrace the shades of traditional fall color schemes are a must-have in your living spaces, for the evening’s relaxed festivities, as demonstrated in this living room designed by Beth Webb. Ensure you swap your lighter summer blankets for heavier fall ones in wool or similar for maximum coziness.
What is Thanksgiving, and why is it celebrated?
Thanksgiving, which occurs on the fourth Thursday in November, is based on the colonial Pilgrims' 1621 harvest meal.
In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Native Americans shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations.
For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
The holiday continues to be a day for Americans to gather for a day of feasting, football and family.
How should I decorate my house for Thanksgiving?
At Thanksgiving, your guests always come first – so think about what you would want and need from the day if you were the visiting party. Firstly, a bit of otherworldly dazzle and the occasional surprise is a great way to take your guest’s minds away from work and into the holiday spirit. Welcome them with a wreath or floral display in the entrance hall, and dot low-key elements of fun around the living spaces, or leave little gifts in the guest bedrooms.
The center of your attention should, however, be the dinner table. Think about adding a centerpiece or runner to elevate it from your usual dinner party decor, and include candles or just a little touch of sparkle to create both warmth and the sense of a special occasion.
What are some common Thanksgiving decorations?
Sitting between Halloween and the Christmas season, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to embrace fall and harvest decor ideas. Using pumpkins to decorate is popular but also looks to nature and decorate with foraged foliage, pine cones dried oranges and fall fruits.
'It is all about celebrating the beauty and bounty of the season so do lots of layering and use different heights of serving plates and candlesticks to create a welcoming, homely, yet glamorous setting,' says Sam Hood, co-founder of Amara (opens in new tab).
Seasonal wreaths and garlands are perfect for both indoors and outdoors, plus you can't go wrong with lanterns and candles.
Ailis started out at British GQ, where a month of work experience turned into 18 months of working on all sorts of projects, writing about everything from motorsport to interiors, and helping to put together the GQ Food & Drink Awards. She then spent three years at the London Evening Standard, covering restaurants and bars. After a period of freelancing, writing about food, drink and homes for publications including Conde Nast Traveller, Luxury London and Departures, she started at Homes & Gardens as a Digital Writer, allowing her to fully indulge her love of good interior design. She is now a fully fledged food PR but still writes for Homes & Gardens as a contributing editor.
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