Last year Thanksgiving flew by so fast that we barely got to acknowledge any fun fall decorating (except for this post with some seasonal inspiration that we were loving). So this year we were determined to do a little Thanksgiving sprucing of our own and we finally got around to it yesterday. First we transformed our formerly spooky Halloween console in the living room (more details about that here)…
… into a less sinister, more fall-friendly Thanksgiving setup complete with white pumpkins, glittering votives, a stack of cream and brown books, and an abundance of corks atop a borrowed kitchen cake stand.
You’ll notice that we kept the same textured piece of burlap as a runner (it works just as well for Thanksgiving as it does for Halloween) and switched out our studded silver bowl of candy for an oversized metallic hurricane. And we even added a few strips of paper that say “I’m thankful for…” on them (we think asking guests to complete the sentence and drop their answers in the oversized urn would be fun).
And whipping out those corks from our ever-growing collection had us thinking back to an old dining room tablescape that would definitely work for the fall season thanks to lots of neutral colors and natural textured (find step by step instructions for this oldie but a goodie arrangement right here):
Other natural materials would also work really well for setting the stage this Thanksgiving, so don’t forget about how much texture and interest baskets (which can be used for everything from planters to housing a bounty of gourds) and even brown-rice-as-vase-filler can lend to a tableau (here are those two materials living it up on our console table back in the day):
But enough flashing back to the past, on to the table settings we threw together yesterday along with our new console setup. We love how they feel festive and natural enough for Thanksgiving entertaining without hitting you over the head with turkeys or mounds of fake fall leaves. And some of them could even be tweaked to work for Christmas, New Years or even everyday entertaining as well. Gotta love diversity like that (more bang for your buck, right?). And speaking of the budget, we did all of the decorating in this post without spending a dime. That’s right, every single thing you’ll see here was already in Casa Petersik, so we just threw open our cabinets, closets and drawers to- in the words of Tim Gunn- “make it work.” They might not scream Thanksgiving, but here’s hoping they whisper it a bit…
Here’s our first little table setting. We pulled out our old Christmas feather tree since the brown feathers are actually quite turkey-esque and the pine cone tree also feels pretty fall-like. Pairing it with some pops of fresh green (we love the idea of serving personal beverages like mini Pellegrino to each guest) and tossing down some wood block letters from the flea market to indicate who sits where finished things off (they’re just a few dollars and so fun to use as “place cards” of sorts).
Our next setting is a bit more modern and airy. We revisited our cork centerpiece and added an antler candle (antlers are fall-ish, right?) and even flipped over a scalloped bowl to create a stand for the first one that we filled with caramel corn (the added height really helped to keep things feeling balanced). Woven cups and burlap-colored napkins with natural elements like ceramic pears and woven orbs completed the simple and streamlined look.
Here’s yet another table setting option that we threw together since we had the gorgeous floral centerpiece on hand thanks a few kind friends who sent it our way to congratulate us on our bun in the oven. We thought the white and green looked elegant and festive, especially when paired with white napkins, china and candlesticks. And bringing in some punchy bowls and using corks to display place cards was the icing on the cake- er turkey? Sure it’s a little fresh and spring-like but picture those glasses full of cider and those plates full of turkey and stuffing…
Here’s a detail shot of the corks that we simply slit with a knife and stuck little hand-written card stock name tags into each one. We actually originally did this a while back for this old place setting post of yore- ah memories.
Here’s another little arrangement we whipped up using a few hits of metallic silver (in the cups and the candlesticks topped with woven orbs) along with our little faux-spruce tree tucked into a basket this time for added texture. Again we went with a pop of green in the napkins (a lot of the things that we had on hand were green- but we like a little bit of modern freshness even for fall decor). Then we simply placed a dried grass cutting on each napkin (these can be found anywhere from your backyard to the parking lot at Target). We thought the soft feathery touch really paired nicely with the basket and the woven orbs while serving as a nice counterpart to the gleaming silver accents.
And for our last table setting we always like to do something a bit more casual, like an arrangement you might toss together if you have friends coming over for hot cider and dessert or just a little bit of finger-food. It’s so easy to throw down a few things out in an asymmetrical arrangement that still looks chic and festive (thanks to the gleaming metallic cups and the fall feeling that the basketed spruce tree lends to the tableau). And who can say no to caramel corn and cookies?
We also realized that wine corks can do more than serve as place card holders, they can actually deliver a sweet little Thanksgiving message to your friends and family. Ours was: “We’re thankful for you!” – corny, but true.
So there you have it. A few simple (and free) ways to bring some semi-Thanksgiving-ish cheer to your home using collected items like bottles and corks and universal pieces like white plates and a neutral table runner. We know the arrangements above aren’t overwhelmingly Thanksgiving-esque but we loved using natural touches and the things we had laying around- plus we appreciated the fact that with some small tweaks they would also work for other holidays that are just around the corner as well. And of course adding a big platter full of turkey and even some white pumpkins and votives like the ones we used on the console table would add even more T-day flair to your dining table.
We hope you all have fun getting your house ready for the big feast! And speaking of you guys, what are some of your favorite Thanksgiving decor ideas? Anyone out there who spray paints pine cones or brings in pretty yellow and orange leaves to wrap with twine around some votive holders? Dish the dirt about your Turkey Day decor.
Psst- Jonesing for more table setting posts like this one? Check out this oldie with lots of everyday entertaining arrangements and this one loaded with Christmas table decor ideas.
*Oh and for the chance to win the giant hurricane and two metallic votive candle holders on our console table along with the gleaming silver cups in our last table setting that were generously sent our way courtesy of Z Gallerie, just click here. Gotta love some fab and festive freebies just in time for the holiday season!
Update: You can check out all of our favorite holiday decor finds here – many of which are under $15!
In your “casual arrangement” snack photo you have flatware in … what are those containers? Are they mugs without handles, mugs turned around, or something different? I usually put my flatware in baskets because they fall over in whatever containers I use. I like how sturdy your containers look.
They’re actually little white ceramic planters from West Elm that happened to be empty so we grabbed them and put them to good use. But the idea would certainly also work with mugs or glass cups as well. Hope it helps!
Next year, there will be a high chair in the photos!
Tiffany S. says
LOVE them all and appreciate all the hard work you went through to show them to us!
Now I’m inspired to dig through my big scary Hutch ‘o Stuff and put together something fabulous.
Wondering if you stuck the upside down bowls together with anything (Quake Shake?) so they don’t come toppling when someone reaches for the caramel corn (oh, the things I worry about!).
I did actually use a little ball of Quake Shake (also known as Fun Tack) to join the bottom of those two scalloped bowls to create a stand). Thanks so much for bringing it up as I completely forgot to mention it!
Love the console and your tablescapes. I agree, I’m not a big fan of blatant holiday decor. These subtle touches are great! Please tell me you ate at least 2 of those cookies; I’m not prego and I want to eat them all. Oh, and I had a little smile when the word ‘tweak’ was mentioned. Started the blog, House*Tweaking, yesterday. I know you probably wrote this before any of that but, still, I smiled :)
Liz R says
Wait a minute… if you guys don’t really drink, where are all the corks coming from?
So many friends and family members know about our love of corks (we started collecting them when we had our wedding and were left with dozens of them after serving our thirsty guests) so our relatives and friends enable us by saving up their corks for us. Aren’t they nice?
I love your brown rice idea! I use birdseed as a decorative “filler” …pour it into a clear glass cylinders, then top with glass votives. Easy peasy…and the birdseed goes outside when we need to change the look. Keeping Mother Nature happy!
Jill Stigs says
I am still thrilled over the baby news…….but I am for sure loving the white pears!
so cute using corks as placemarks! great idea yhl!
Jillian E says
One of my favorite fall/winter decor options is to take a large cylinder or square vase and fill it with clementine oranges or lemons (we have a Meyer lemon tree in our backyard, and they are the perfect size and shape – much smaller and rounder than traditional lemons). It’s a really lovely pop of color, and you can always cut them up afterwards for a tart (or martini).
Congrats on the baby!
We already have lots of earthy colors in our home so it’s prefect for fall. Our table has a tan textured runner and we’ll be using white candles and a few sprinkled leaves as well as fall colored napkins for a pop of color. We like things to look earthy and natural.
LOVE your use of corks as individual menu card stands! We have a ton of corks that wouldn’t be hurt having a little slit cut into them. Thanks for the idea! (and congrats on the big baby news – so very exciting!!)
I love how you used what you already had. It is subtly Thanksgiving, but it’s enough to be festive. Great job!
Fellow cork (and wine) lover here. It’s such a shame nowadays on cheaper bottles of wine there are plastic corks…they’re so much less attractive. Although I guess it’s good from a cork tree’s point of view…
I guess I’ll have to start drinking more expensive wines…
Hey, where’s the pickle bar? Or the olive buffet? Ice cream?
WE’RE SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!! Big, Italian-style hugs going all around here, even though were not Italian – Sherry is – partly – so that counts. Big hugs, at any rate :)
I commented on the baby post, too, but thought it might get lost in the, oh I don’t know, 600 HUNDRED comments so far ;) Don’t listen to all that “You won’t get a thing done now!” talk – it’ll be different, but **better** :)
I have a question – Sherry would you recap for us your first trimester experience? Were you queazy? Weird dreams? Have you bizarre cravings, yet? I always love really spicy food in my first trimester – hot wings, blazing Chinese food, tabasco :) Please tell!
More big hugs,
Aw you’re so cute! Thanks for all the excitement and encouragement. It’s so great to hear confirmation (from someone with a veritable flock of children!) that we’ll still get to tackle projects and share our adventures! We’re pretty sure the fun has just begun…
And we’ll definitely be answering all the funny prego questions on Friday so stay tuned!
Oh, and of course I love the table settings, too :) The corks are a great touch. I bought some of the Anthro mugs (after seeing yours) and use them to spell out Y-U-M for a buffet. The forks go in the “Y”, the spoons in the “U”, and the knives in the “M”. And if I only need one kind of utensil, it’s great because our monogram is “M” :) Have to say, though, that I always put the utensils in handle side **up**, that way people aren’t touching all over the part you’ll actually put in your mouth.
Loved the arrangements!
Thanks for the table setting INSPIRATION! I will be hosting Thanksgiving for the 1st time in my life. (I’m 31!) I’ve been scouring ideas and these fit right in my style. Now to pick one theme…..
Alisa D says
You could also use the cork idea if you are having a buffet. Instead of a message or a name like you suggested, but the name of the dish you are serving. I think there is nothing worse than having your guest guess what you are serving them in a buffet style gathering!
Great work as always and CONGRATS on the baby on the way! Parenting is hard, but SO GOOD! (We have a three month old and she’s an amazing addition to our lives!!)
Hey Alisa D,
We love the food-labeling idea for the cork & card stock method when you’re serving dishes buffet-style. Awesome suggestion!
Heather M says
I just LOVE the bubble glass vase/hurricane. I think I have an unnatural obsession with bubbled glass. Every time I see it I feel like scouring Marshalls/TJ Maxx/ Homegoods to purchase every glassware-ish bubble glass item in sight. Is this normal? There should be a support group….
Can I ask where you got your utensils? Is that from Crate & Barrell?
Yup, they are from Crate & Barrel! We registered for them about three years ago so we don’t remember the exact name but they’re a simple little set that feels nice and heavy in your hand. Not too heavy, just not light and cheap-o. Hope it helps!
Great photos and ideas, but I have to ask… what is in the framed piece on your wall, in the middle? Where is that passage from?
Great site, btw!
The framed piece in the center of the wall above the console table is a “monogram” that we DIYed by blowing up a magazine by about 300%! Here’s a post all about it. Hope it helps!
Just wanted to let you know that I just came across your website last week, and I have quickly become obsessed! I love, love, love ALL of your ideas and decorating tips! We recently bought a house so I’m in the process of making it look like the latest Pottery Barn catelog, without breaking the bank. So I really love how you mix in nice, but inexpensive things along with creativity to make each room look fabulous! =)
pk @ Room Remix says
Love these tablescapes – checked out the “old” ones too and just can’t decide which I like best. They’re all great! thanks for sharing the ideas. Next year you’ll have to include “tips on how to accessorize your high chair for the holidays” :-)
pk @ Room Remix
I am also rocking the tan linen table runner this fall season–I love how tan linen can work for just about any season!
But seriously? Enough with the decor talk…I want to hear more about this baby business. I didn’t think this would be possible, but I think your baby post has given me a smidge of baby fever. And, um…I’m still pregnant.
I love the combination of the burlap and the green. I have a few yards of burlap – I need to put it to good use!
Kristin @ I Do Originals says
I adore the “I’m thankful for” idea! Super cute!
I love the corks too! OH, I think I got waaayyy more into my house and decorating after I had my first baby. It just made me want to make my house that much more special. And it adds a whole new slew of projects. I can’t wait!
Hope you are not sick like I was first trimester…bleh. Definitely nothing happening around the house when you feel like that, but definitely made up for it later while in the “nesting” mode. I can’t even imagine what Sherry will be like while nesting! ahah!
Love the corkscrew idea, very inventive! I just looked on ebay and you can get some there if anyone wanted to incorporate them this year.
Jessie (Vegan-minded) says
I love all these table settings, especially the green and white one with the fresh flowers. Congrats again on the baby!
First… big congrats on the baby news! So excited for you! Sherry–I used to manage a maternity boutique so if you need any suggestions on maternity wear with a non-traditional maternity twist (wearing non maternity pieces!!!), don’t hesitate to email! I LOVE helping to outfit people the way you love to outfit your home!
Second… are those white pumpkins you have real or fake? They look all too white and all too perfect to be real. If they are fake… where did you get them? I’m obsessed!
Chris- You’re right about the white pumpkins being faux. We picked them up for half-price around Halloween at Michael’s. Happy hunting…
Kelley & Dawn Marie- The silver votive holders and the hurricane on the console table are both from Z Gallerie (here’s the link to the hurricane and the link to the votives). We love blingy metallics, especially for the holidays! Hope it helps.
Could you tell me where you got your mercury glass urn/candleholders/votives? The urn is gorgeous! I’m trying to find some pieces exactly like it with the holidays coming up…without a huge price tag! Thanks for sharing all your great tips, and congrats on the little one on the way!
Jessica at Lavender and Lilies says
I love those ideas. I love the corks. I never thought about using those for fall but it’s such a good idea!
I have a major crush on the white pumpkins and the “I’m thankful for” cards…along with everything else on your site. By the way, my little chi, Mia, sends Burger some smooches!
Dawn Marie says
Where is the oversized metallic hurricane from? I have some mercury glass so this would work so well.
Congrats on the baby news. So exciting.
First of all, congratulations on the baby news! Your life is about to be changed in wonderful ways you can’t yet imagine. Babies give you a whole new outlook on life.
Love all the great ideas! Where did you find the ceramic pears? I think I need one…or two!
[email protected] says
I couldn’t help but smile when I saw the arrangement with the flowers. Don’t petals and candlelight make any table seem happier?! They’re all great (and very do-able!) ideas!
A few years ago I had one of those Thanksgivings that exploded from 1 table to 3 — and it probably should have been more like 4. Here was one of the (very crammed!) tables that I recently posted about: http://tearinguphouses.blogspot.com/2009/11/this-is-love-thanksgiving.html
Congrats again on your bean!
I love all the table arrangements! And a big congrats on the little baby on the way!
[email protected] Paradise says
Great ideas! I like that you give a variety and from that, many different things could be done!
I like to bring nature in like pine cones, leaves, acorns, etc. That just reminds me of fall and the transision into winter. Then I reuse the pine cones for winter/Christmas decorating.
Congrats, again, on the bun!!
Heather W says
Thanks for the lovely ideas! My fiance is, admittedly, a bit of a Scrooge around the holidays, so decorating for a guy who isn’t big on holiday cheer can be tough.
Your ideas are both holiday-happy, but at the same time aren’t shoving fake turkeys and cornucopias in our faces. :-)
Oh, and congrats on the bun in the oven! It’s finals week here, so I spent all day yesterday grading instead of catching up on my blog reading!
Which reminds me…I have more grammar tests to grade! Thanks again for the great ideas!
Where is the linen table cloth from?
We got it at Target but it’s a dead ringer for a similar (but more expensive one) from Pottery Barn. Hope it helps!
You are sooo good at the art of table decorating! i love the burlap throughout and your table setting w/the faux pine tree in the basket gave me wonderful inspiration for my table this holiday!!
also as much as i don’t like animal decor in my own home, I love the white antler candleholder, where did you get it?
We actually got the antler candle holder at West Elm a while back. We don’t think it’s still available but maybe you’ll have luck finding it (or something similar) on eBay? Happy hunting…
Love your ideas guys! Any suggestions on where I could get a burlap runner similar to the one you have there? Just love that idea. I’m skipping Thanksgiving decor and starting on my holiday decor! Going for a silver and blingy decor on our entrance console table, mixed with some pine cones and maybe some lights intertwined with some garland!
We just snagged a few yards of burlap at a local fabric store- it’s super cheap and can be used to make a bunch of things (placemats, runners, mats for frames, etc). Hope it helps!
In the picture with the floral arrangement – where are the green and yellow bowls from?
Those bowls were actually a gift from a friend but they’re ceramic (actually kiln glazed and fired) so maybe you can find something similar at a craft fair or on etsy? Hope it helps!
Random question: Do you collect your own corks (i.e. from your own wine) or buy them at the craft store? I was shocked when I recently saw bags o’ corks at Michael’s. I started saving my own to make a similar hurricane candle as above… shouldn’t take me long at all :)
We have friends and family members who save them up for us and we also had a lot leftover from our backyard wedding (we DIYed it and purchased a ton of wine).