Sunday, November 15, 2015

Creating a Rustic and Elegant Thanksgiving Table

I must confess, I don't plan ahead too much for my holiday tablescapes.  I usually have a hazy idea of what I'll do cooking along in my head a few days ahead of time.  But that's it for any advance planning.  I may use something that I've recently picked up when out and about shopping as a starting point, such as the faux-wood turkey featured in this post, and then after that, I improvise and grab whatever is on hand.  

Tablescapes where rougher, more earthy elements are juxtaposed with elegant silverware, pretty plates, fine heirlooms, and collectibles are interesting and visually exciting, and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to take this approach to setting  your table.  After all, this holiday is all about celebrating and giving thanks for nature's bounty.  You can, with a quick trip outside (and/or to your grocery store's produce section) along with a shopping tour of your own house, quickly throw together a table that is rustic and elegant and highly personalized.

Here is how I pulled it all together for Thanksgiving last year......


The elegant touches....

While I don't exactly pull out Emily Post and slavishly follow the rules for setting out just so the flatware, water glasses, wine glasses, napkins and so on... I still follow the general table setting rules of thumb for place settings; i.e. knife and spoon to the right of the dinner plate (knife tip turned outward), forks to the left, drinking glass and wine glass at top right, salad plate either at top left or sitting on the dinner plate....But after the basic set up, it's anything goes, since we are entertaining family and friends, not the Queen of England.

I started with my pretty brown transferware dinner and bread/salad/dessert (I don't know which they are) plates... well as some other brown transferware serving pieces I've picked up over the years.  I just love this little gravy boat with it's matching dish (see below). For more on collecting brown transferware, click here

Using some clip-art napkin rings I made a few years ago, I showcased rolled up napkins in the center of each place setting.  Easy-peasy; no fancy, complicated napkin-folding trickery here. 

Adding the matching silver flatware from the set my mom gave us for our wedding gift gave the table a more formal feeling and announces that this is a special occasion (not that using mis-matched silverware is bad, not at all-- click here for more on the joys of using multiple patterns).  

And that's about as 'elegant' and formal as we get in my house...


The rustic...

I shopped the produce section of our local grocery store for some wonderful miniature pears, crab apples, chestnuts... and added some acorns and pretty leaves that I've collected over the years (click here for more on how I pulled all this together).  

Mr. Faux-Wood Turkey with his sturdy, textured finish is perfect in the starring role of my center piece and he plays very nicely with the wooden candle holders and wood and wire pedestal piece.

Woven grass chargers made a wonderful, rustic stage that pairs nicely with my transferware plates and silverware.

A twiggy wreath, with sparkly berries and bright-eyed little birdies, hangs from the chandelier overhead and added a woodland touch to our celebration. 

Can't get more rustic than a pig on the dining table...

As I do with every holiday table, I stand back and admire my handiwork (and get some photos) before the mass destruction begins (i.e. family and friends [and dogs] crowding 'round the table and gobbling down way too much food). 

How do you go about creating your Thanksgiving table?

Thanks for visiting!

Linking to the following this week....
Roses of Inspiration Linkup at The Enchanting Rose
Bouquet of Talent at Life on Lakeshore Drive


  1. Very pretty table. I especially love your transferware dishes. Just stopping by from Amaze me Monday to say, Hi!

  2. Your table is really pretty! I love the branches on the chandy too! I'll admit I thought your turkey was made from chocolate, not wood! Heehee

    1. Thank you Angelina! A chocolate turkey centerpiece would work just fine for me!

  3. So pretty!
    I love your dishes and the napkin rings are so pretty!
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

  4. I like your pretty table with the touch of leaves and pretty wooden details. Our table hasn't been planned as yet, but think I'll work on that tomorrow. You are inspiring me!

  5. I love that last shot of your beautiful home and your plates are among my favorites...Tonquin by Royal Staffordshire. I have used them to create many lovely tablescapes. They always catch my eye! Enjoy your Thanksgiving festivities!

    1. Thank you JP. Tonquin is one of my favorites too. Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Melissa,
    Gorgeous tablescape, dear one!!!
    I would l o v e to set a very formal tablescape with my MoMa's China and silver,
    but the men in my family just have fits about cloth napkins and such.
    So~o~o. . .to keep everyone happy, I'll use my everyday white porcelain china!!!
    Paper napkins are a must!!!
    I want my family to "enjoy" the gathering, each other and the meal. . .and to give thanks for our blessings!!!
    Thank you for sharing!!!

    1. Thank you Pat! There is a lot to be said for the practicality of using paper napkins and there are certainly a lot of really pretty paper-ware available. Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. Very pretty and comfortable looking. Somehow, my family gets flumoxed if there is a big deal in the middle of the table. Most successful was a gingerbreadhouse on a pedestal last year, that got stripped before,during and after dinner, LOL. I guess it depends on your family. I love the little napkin rings...just a personal touch...and so easy and inexpensive. And fruit and naturals are always gorgeous, who can improve on an apple, no one, Thanks, Sandi

    1. Thank you Sandi! Most of the pretty stuff on my tables gets moved aside for the big platters of food. That's why I like to enjoy it all as much as I can before everyone sits down to eat.

  8. Beautiful setting, and so welcoming! Just lovely.

  9. What a gorgeous table setting!! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

  10. What a beautiful table! I pretty much do what you do. Not a lot of planning ahead. I just pull from what I have and don't spend any money. My family doesn't like a lot on the table, because they want room for the food. lol! Love your transferware and the turkey arrangement is wonderful! Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for sharing with SYC.

    1. Thanks Jann! We're pretty much the same way. Much of the pretty stuff gets moved aside for all the food.

  11. You may not think too much ahead, but it surely came out amazing! I love your transfer ware -I'd hoard it if I had the room! I"m with you - I kind of wing it, too. Beautiful table!