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5 top tips for a stunning seasonal tablescape

Image of tablescape from a bird's eye view with pumpkins, gourds, and festively laid out placemats

Planning an intimate dinner for Thanksgiving? Just want to make your home feel more festive this season? There are several simple ways to create a beautiful, thoughtful tablescape to highlight holiday cheer. 

I’ve rounded up and put into play five top tips for easily putting together seasonal designs. Bonus: They’re for every home and every budget. Ready to get festive?

1: Conceptualize your tablescape theme

Start by deciding what you want for the overall vibe. Before you start picking up items to decorate with, it’s essential to plan your vision. Is your style more rustic or classic? Modern or glam? Have a think about what suits you and your home first.

Rustic: Grab squash, gourds, or wild grasses and really lean into natural elements and neutral-to-warm items.

Glamorous: If you’re feeling a bit more glamorous, go for gold accents and surfaces that will reflect light to liven and brighten. 

Minimal: For a minimal, modern look, focus on a monochromatic color palette, clean edges, and simple ways to express. 

Classic: For a more traditional tablescape, utilize rich colors and textures resulting in an elegant, festive table.

Hot tip: Need inspiration? Browse gorgeous photos and portfolios from the Yelp pages of local interior designer, like Decorist in San Francisco. In addition to getting artistic inspiration, you might pick up some additional ideas for the home.

2: Choose a color palette for your tablescape

Having a cohesive palette keeps things super simple without compromising on your theme. Keep things easy by staying within three colors, or sticking entirely to one. What’s your color?

Rustic: Go for warm, neutral colors. Think: small bowls of walnuts offset by gourds, clementines, and a few colorful leaves gathered from the yard. 

Glamorous: Focus on golds, sparkles, and creams for a glam tablescape. Bring in a few pieces of greenery tucked in for visual interest. 

Minimal: Stick to simple shades of white and silver to keep things absolutely minimalist and clean. 

Classic: Dive into burgundys, rich oranges, and shades of golden yellow. Use seasonal colors that play off of each other in a traditional way.

Places to get inspiration: Get outdoors! Take a walk in your local park, go downtown and check out some storefronts and window displays—you’ll not only get inspiration but some all important fresh air too.

3: Incorporate some texture

Bring in elements that play off of each other to add visual interest to your tablescape. This creates a richness that looks sophisticated, even if it’s taken minimal effort. Most importantly, it’ll give your tablescape some dynamics.

Rustic: An inexpensive roll of burlap can serve as a table runner or easy napkin rings. It can even be wrapped around a mason jar to make a one-of-a-kind vase. 

Glamorous: Try incorporating a bit of sparkle by wrapping a wired strand of metallic beads from the craft store around plain napkin rings.

Minimal: Grab a can of silver spray paint and transform a few foraged twigs. These can become delicate, shimmering centerpieces on top of your clean, white linens. 

Classic: Layering is really helpful for texture. Consider pairing a lace or patterned tablecloth with a lace table runner and a trivet or placemat to subtly create additional texture.

Local places to pick up decorative items: 

4: Add natural elements to your tablescape

No tablescape would be complete without a few natural elements to bring life and vibrancy to the party. Local farmers markets are fantastic for picking up interesting and unique seasonal produce and plants. They look great on the table and you can cook with them at a later date.

Rustic: Pomegranates, fragrant clementines, bowls of cranberries, and plump persimmons are great options for a rustic, seasonal table. 

Glamorous: Popping flowers, grasses, and twigs into a special teacup or jug makes the arrangement all the more personal and unique.

Minimal: Flowers are beautiful but can add up. Consider sticking to a single bloom from a local market. Incorporate a fun mix of greenery and twigs. 

Classic: You can also do amazing things with potted herbs—think rosemary, sage, thyme. Bonus: these herbs can be planted and reused annually! 

Hot tip: To anchor your flower arrangement, mix up a simple dough of flour and water—and voilà—your masterpiece will stay in place all day.

5: Bring in a little lighting

Candles make all the difference when it comes to creating a festive tablescape. There are plenty of other options too, however, if you’re not a fan of flames. The most important thing is to focus on creating a mood. As a result, you’ll bring instant warmth to the setup.

Rustic: Stick to a single color so they don’t take center stage. Opt for hand-dipped tapers or a textured finish for visual interest. 

Glamorous: Play with widths, lengths, and grouping them together in groups of three—clustering items together gives a soft, effortless vibe. 

Minimal: Place a single votive candle in a small dish of cranberries at each place setting to keep things modern, clean, and simple. 

Classic: Petit strands of LED lights are a great option. They can also be woven into decorative elements or gathered into glass jars and bowls.

Hot tip: Do you want to go all out with lighting this year? You can find pros that specialize in holiday decorating services on Yelp.

Be sure to check out the updated Health & Safety measurements on Yelp pages for mask requirements and other measures.

Most important tip of all…

While it’s important to have a game plan by following these tips, a little freestyling can also go a long way. For instance, don’t be afraid to move things around or make tweaks and adjustments along the way to get to your dream tablescape.

With all of these tips in hand, there’s one more element that might just be the most important: enjoy yourself! Creating something with joy makes it all the more beautiful and special, and is what this season is all about.