Set the Harvest Table

As the leaves transition to shades of crimson, amber and maize, it’s time to prepare your home for the holidays. Although it may be tempting to fast forward straight to Christmas décor, a holiday in which we give thanks and celebrate the season’s bounty deserves its own day in the spotlight. Here are some ways to make your Thanksgiving dining table a showstopper:

Sunflowers dress up a woven wine jug on the buffet.
Sunflowers dress up a woven wine jug on the buffet.

• Start with a neutral or solid color runner or table cover, then pile on the pumpkins, plates and glassware. The neutral background will help to avoid a busy look. Use white plates and serving pieces to allow your beloved family recipes to take center stage.

• Play with color. Reds, golds and browns are fall’s quintessential colors – give them an update by mixing in a complementary hue such as turquoise, green or purple. Using colored goblets, chargers or napkins is a good way to incorporate the additional color.

• Get personal. Pull those heirloom pieces out of storage and put them on display. Nothing evokes family memories like grandma’s china, vintage linens or wedding-gift crystal.

Vary heights of objects in your centerpiece to create a soft flow.
Vary heights of objects in your centerpiece to create a soft flow.

• Look to nature for inspiration. Include a little of the outdoors into your centerpiece. Branches, bittersweet, berries, pinecones and leaves will bring an earthiness to your table. Faux versions are just as beautiful and will last throughout the whole season, not to mention can be stored for years to come.

• Generate movement by varying the heights of objects in your display. Stay away from any items that block guests from seeing each other across the table.

• Get creative with place cards. A myriad of premade tags and cards are available at craft stores and are ready to personalize. Dress up your linens with extra silk flowers or branches by wrapping the stems around napkins.

The addition of green complements traditional fall colors.
The addition of green complements traditional fall colors.

• And finally, set the mood – dim the chandelier and light some candles. The soft glow will create a warm and calming atmosphere for a relaxing meal, one where your guests will want to linger a little longer and savor the occasion.

Jennifer Ruple is the author of the blog somedaycowgirl.blogspot.com.