Let's take it back to the pioneer period with these easy Thanksgiving table decorations. This fall Thanksgiving tablescape is simple to make using items you probably have lying around your house like mini pumpkins and old books. It is perfect for Friendsgiving and a pilgrim Halloween dinner too.
When my girls were growing up we used to love pretending we were pioneers and eating dinner by chamber oil lamps. We would turn off the lights and light the lanterns and each by the fire.
This was such a great memory until I thought it would be fun to create easy Thanksgiving table decorations in a Cottagecore pioneer spirit.
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Easy Thanksgiving Table Decorations
Whenever I create a table for an event I usually decorate the day. It takes one less thing off your list the day of the event. So let's grab some supplies and get started.
Thanksgiving Table Settings Supplies
I love to shop my own home when working on table decorations so try shopping your home, your mom's, aunts, sister, brothers, or anyone who loves sharing their decor.
- Plaid blanket (Target)
- Drop cloth table runner
- Wooden table runner
- White plates (Dollar Tree)
- Wood plates (I found mine at TJ Maxx but Crate and Barrel has them)
- Mini apple pies (Walmart) or mini pumpkins
- White flour sack kitchen towels to wrap mini apple pies
- Moscow Mule Mugs
- Pillows for bench if you have one
- Chamber oil lamps
- DIY fall paper decoration leaf garland
- Old books or neutral colored books
- Brass candlestick and white taper candles
Here are a few notes about the supply list. I show two options for the place setting decorations so read till the end to decide if you want the mini pies or small pumpkin. Also, most of my items came from thrift stores, dollar stores, and my house. I will explain more later.
Fall Tablescape with a Pioneer Pilgrim Vibe
Have you figured out yet that I love decorating the table for Thanksgiving day more than cooking the food? LOL! We leave the food prep to my hubby who does an amazing job.
Now let's begin on the bottom layer of this table with a blanket. Yes, you heard me right. We are going to use a blanket for a table cloth. I love using blankets, sheets, or anything large enough to fit over a table. I used a knit blanket one time in this hygge beautiful Thanksgiving table setting and I used a chambray blanket with fringe on this outdoor farmhouse Thanksgiving dinner table.
I think you get the picture. Grab a plaid blanket and lay it along the center of your table.
Now take a runner and lay it across your table in the opposite direction. This neutral-colored table runner is homemade from a dropcloth. I have directions on how to sew a ruffled table runner if you would like to make one too.
Next grab a piece of white painted wood and lay it over the table runner. I have used that piece of wood on so many tables. It is handy to keep around. It also comes in handy on a coffee table, buffet, or anywhere you want to elevate your decorations.
Now that we have the table linens set let's move on to decorations.
DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece
This easy centerpiece revolves around chamber oil lamps. You can find them in thrift stores and online like Amazon and Walmart. First, sit two or three neutral-colored books in the center of the table. This will elevate the middle oil lamps.
Now place three oil lamps on the wooden runner and books. Space them apart so you can lay a fall garland in the middle. (You will notice I don't have the books on the table here. I didn't add the book until later but make sure to add your books here)
Fall Garland Gorgeous Centerpiece
Next, grab your fall garland or make an autumn paper leaf garland from Dollar Tree and grocery store items as I did. You can find all the details in this DIY paper leaf garland post.
Weave your fall foliage from one end of the table and around the glass lamps to the other end. The fall leaves warm up this beautiful centerpiece but we are not quite finished.
I added the books at this point.
Next place your brass candlesticks and white candles nestling them into the leaf shape garland. One on one side and the other on the other side.
I love making easy Thanksgiving centerpieces. This perfect centerpiece looks complicated but it is actually only layers. Give this DIY Thanksgiving centerpiece a try. Now let's work on the place settings.
Thanksgiving Place Settings
To me, the place setting is another place to create a centerpiece but this center piece is more personal to each of your guests or family members which I why I always like to give them a little gift or treat here.
One of my favorite tables — hygge Thanksgiving table I mentioned earlier I used mini pies. Looking back this was my all-time favorite place setting Thanksgiving decorations. However, if you want other ideas consider mini pumpkins or pine cones would be cute too.
But before we dive too far into the place setting decoration let's build your place setting dishes.
Start with a simple white plate. I bought mine at the Dollar Tree but you can find them at any dollar store. Sit each white plate on the table in front of each chair.
It helps me when placing the plates to make sure the chairs are pushed in and in their right position so I can sit a place center in front of the chair and pulled to the edge of the table.
Next place a wooden plate on the white plate. Using a wooden plate helps bring another pioneer pilgrim element. I can imagine the early pilgrims probably made most of their utensils out of wood they carved so a wooden plate fit in perfectly.
Glassware and Silverware
Follow by placing the silverware and then a Moscow mule cup or mug. I am not sure what exactly our forefathers drank out of but my guess is they brought some sort of cup with them over on the Mayflower. I just happened to have these Moscow mules in my husband's mom's cedar chest so they were a perfect fit.
I also loved how the copper color matched the color in the plaid blanket table cloth.
Homemade Mini Pies or Mini Pumpkin Fall Place Setting Centerpiece
Next, you need something to sit in the middle of the wood plate as a place setting decorations. We have two different ways to style this — mini pies or mini white pumpkins. Here is a photo of the small pumpkins.
You can use faux pumpkins or real pumpkins. Both look amazing!
If you like to homemade pie look then grab your miniature pies. Traditional pies to use are pumpkin pie, apple pie, or pecan pie. Walmart had all but the pumpkin pie option at my store but I wouldn't put it past them to offer the pumpkin pie too.
Now take a pair of scissors and cut into the flour sack dish towels. Then tear the rest down to the other end. If the seam stops you from tearing use your scissors to cut into it. Also, if it doesn't seem to tear easily or nicely turn the fabric around and try again from the other side.
When tearing fabric you have to be tearing it with the grain and not against it. You may need to try it from several directions.
Now tie one piece of fabric around the tiny pie and tie it into a sailor's knot. You can add a name card under the tie if you want to include a place card.
Then set it in the center of the wooden plate.
Yay! Now you are all finished with your table setting. Last toss some pillows on your bench. This is optional for comfort and looks but if you having kids come I would pass on the pillows.
Now that your beautiful table is done make sure to light your hurricane lamps about five minutes before guests arrive. Turn the wick down very low almost where you cannot see it but not too low because then it will fall down into the oil. The lower the wick the lower the light.
Also, lowering the wick will help with the smoke emitted from the chamber lamp. If your glass cover is dirty I find putting them in the dishwasher makes it sparkle.
Well, we have finished these easy elegant Thanksgiving table decorations and it is time to party. Here are more final shots of the table. I hope you have a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving.
This table is also great for a fall or autumn party. Invite friends over and sit by lamplight. You could even do it for Halloween and call it a pilgrim costume party. Everyone has to wear pilgrim-style clothes and come eat an old-fashioned pioneer dinner.
Now that you have a table decoration for this holiday season my friend Mel has Thanksgiving meal recipes to finish your dinner at Adventures of Mel. And for more fall inspiration try these Thanksgiving table decoration ideas.
I hope you have fun creating this table and a wonderful Thanksgiving.
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