I’ve rounded up all my festive, yet budget-friendly Thanksgiving table setting ideas to help inspire you to set your Thanksgiving table in style this year while staying on budget. I also have a way to make your table bigger so everyone fits around comfortably.
I serve pretty much the same menu every year; we love tradition, but I do like to change up the table setting. When I worked in retail display in department stores – setting all the display tables was my favorite part of the job as I could use any or all of the merchandise the store sold to create colorful and exciting tables to entertain around.
At home, I have a limited amount of china, dishes, and platters to use so I have to get creative to make it look different year to year.
I also want to make sure it feels and looks special as the dining table is one of the first things my guests see upon arriving at my house for Thanksgiving dinner.
When guests first arrive and see a festively decorated dining table with pretty napkins, silverware and DIY Thanksgiving place cards, it gets them excited about what is to come – good food, family and friends gathered to celebrate.
25 Creative Thanksgiving Table Setting Ideas
One of the best things about any DIY project or idea is that you can make something as a tutorial or post shows, or simply use the ideas as a jumping off point.
Continue reading below to browse through some of my favorite budget-friendly Thanksgiving table decor ideas to spark your inspiration to help you create table decor in your own holiday style.
When deciding on how to set your Thanksgiving table, choose your dishes first and then create a color palette around them. A mix of fine china and more casual accents work well.
Thanksgiving Dining Table Place Card Ideas
Place cards do more then show where guests are to sit, they also add a finishing touch to the table that makes guests feel special.
Colorful faux maple leaves pop against the glassware and white table linens and place settings for this Thanksgiving tablescape.
- Read More: Leaf Template to Make Place Card
Free Printable Sheet of Table Place Cards
These free printable place cards are perfect for your fall dinner party or Thanksgiving dinner. They are blank and ready for you to add your guests names. Use a fall-colored pen or marker.
Dinner Plate Banner Place Cards
Banner style place cards are unique in that they are not just a tented card. Guests will want to take these home with them.
Create a centerpiece for the table using a tiered basket filled with gourds, artichokes, mini orange or white pumpkins and greenery topiaries.
- Get the Free Printable: Dinner plate place card banner.
Gift Card Place Card
If you live in an area where pinecones are easy to find, use them as place card holders.
Paper Bag Place Card
Running short on time before your guests arrive and want to create place cards. Head to your paper bag stash and make these in minutes.
- Learn how to make these: Place cards with brown paper bags!
Instant Place Card Holder
Any small piece of paper will become a place card when placed in a simple paper clip. These work well for a kids’ table.
You can make these Scrabble tile place card holders using trim molding and wood squares from the craft store.
Thanksgiving Tablecloth & Placemat Ideas
Round Faux Leather Placemats
Round placemats are on trend, but are also perfect when you have a round dining table. Instead of buying expensive leather ones, make your own for free.
The DIY paper napkin rings can also be used as a place to write guest’s names.
See how to make one or a whole set: Faux Leather Look Round Placemats
Fringed Burlap Placemats
Burlap’s texture makes it perfect for fall table decor. It comes in many other colors besides light brown. Go for orange, maroon or a copper shade.
- How to make: No-sew placemat using colored burlap.
Paper Doily Placemats
Use clear glass plates with a cut circle of scrapbook paper underneath, then layered with a Kraft paper doily.
If you like to craft, you can create your own doily placemats with any type of paper and this fun tool.
Round Table Runner Tablecloth
Here is a Thanksgiving table setting idea for a round table.
If you enjoy sewing and have a stash of leftover fabric, here is a Thanksgiving table setting idea for a round table. Using white plates, bowls and linen napkins keeps the table from being too busy with pattern.
- How to Make Instructions: DIY table runner tablecloth.
Dark Brown Burlap Table Runner
If you have a Silhouette or Cricut cutting machine, you can design your own table linens.
- How to Make: Polka Dot Burlap Table Runner
How Do You Make a Thanksgiving Table Centerpiece?
Thanksgiving centerpieces do not have to be a vase of flowers or a traditional Thanksgiving basket cornucopia of fruit. They can be created using many different items from tiered baskets, a collection of candle holders to no centerpiece – but an open spot to place the turkey on a platter.
Rustic Modern Pillar Candle Holders
There is no need for a fall flower centerpiece when you use a collection of rustic modern DIY candle holders made from tin soup cans, a scrap of raffia and twine. A pillar candle fits perfectly on top.
So easy to do that no tutorial is needed.
Wood Slice & Candles Table Centerpiece
Simply stack a few slices from a tree trunk on the center of the table, then place pillar style candles on top. The dried berry vine around them is from a palm tree in my yard.
When candlesticks are placed in shapely glass bottles filled with corn – you get one very inexpensive candle table centerpiece.
- How to Make: Fall Candle Holders in Minutes
These wood block candlestick holders were made from scrap wood.
- How to Make: Scrap Wood Candle Holders
Thanksgiving Dining Room Decorating Ideas
Once the dining table is set, I also like to make sure the rest of the dining room has a Thanksgiving vibe going on. Here are a few ways I add it.
Create a Thanksgiving Turkey Chalkboard
Print out this turkey to create a Thanksgiving chalkboard for your kitchen, bar area or dining room. Let your kids create it for a family project.
Make a Dinner Menu Chalkboard
To prepare your guests for the harvest feast they are going to enjoy, I like to create a Thanksgiving menu. It makes the gathering feel special and your guests know what will be served.
- This DIY Fabric Framed Chalkboard is perfect for a fall gathering.
How to Make a Dining Table Larger for Holiday Gatherings
Is your family outgrowing your dining room table? Make this removable table top from plywood to enlarge the table size. Easy to remove and store.
Slipcover the Dining Table Chairs
Make your own simple dining chair slipcovers to add comfort and style to a dining room.
- Or you can make: No Sew Chair Back Runners
Create a Rustic Chandelier
Repurpose an out-of-date brass chandelier with paint and decorative beading for a completely new look.
Thanksgiving Side Table
Update a pine hutch with fresh paint and book pages to create a cozy feel for a dining room hutch that can act as a sideboard or buffet.
Thanksgiving Hostess Gift
If you are visiting friends or family, make sure to bring this simple hostess gift. To wrap it, all you have to do is fold the top of a grocery bag and you have a perfect fall flower pot cover.
Thanksgiving Table Coasters
- Gobble Gobble Free Printable to make drink coasters
A Few More Thanksgiving Ideas
I hope these Thanksgiving DIY ideas have sparked your imagination on ways you can make your Thanksgiving dining table and dining room holiday ready.
Even after setting so many tables in my life, when it comes time to place the silverware on any table I set, I still have to say to myself… “the fork goes on the left and the knife and spoon on right”. Do you do this?
If you need to do this and ever forget, simply place the utensils on the dinner plate and tie with a pretty ribbon.
And lastly, no matter how you set your table… it is time for pumpkin pie!
The autumn colors, the smell of wood smoke rising from chimneys, the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade, football on the TV in the background, delicious food in the oven, a pretty table setting and treasured family all around. It makes for a perfect day.
Make sure to check out my Fall Decorating Gallery for more fall related ideas.
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