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Thanksgiving Outdoor Decorations for a Small Patio Table Setting

This Thanksgiving, let's take the celebration outside and turn that small patio into an inviting and cozy table for Thanksgiving dinner! In this blog post, we're all about making the most of your outdoor table with stunning outdoor Thanksgiving table decorations. So, let's get started as I share the transformation of our small patio into a festive dining room for a small gathering of friends and family.

Small patio outdoor Thanksgiving table decoration ideas

This year, while planning the Thanksgiving tablescape, I thought it would be fun to create a table for a small gathering. We live in a warmer climate but with the temperatures cooler, I imagined an outdoor setting, so let's start by setting the scene for this outdoor Thanksgiving table decorations idea.

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Thanksgiving Outdoor Table Decor on a Small Patio

Setting the Scene: A Cozy Thanksgiving on a Small Patio

As autumn's crisp air sets in, the idea of hosting Thanksgiving dinner outdoors takes on a unique charm. Imagine a small back patio transformed into a warm, inviting space where family and friends come to share the season's bounty at an unforgettable Thanksgiving gathering.

The Allure of Outdoor Dining

There's an undeniable allure to dining outdoors, especially during a holiday as special as Thanksgiving. It's a chance to celebrate the beauty of nature and the warmth of togetherness.

Why Small Patios Deserve a Beautiful Thanksgiving Setup

Small patios may lack space, but they certainly don't lack potential. This article explores how to turn your cozy outdoor area into a stunning backdrop for a Thanksgiving feast. And this post will work great for apartment balconies, too.

Outdoor Thanksgiving Table Setting

1. Preparing the Space: Clearing & Cleaning

The first step to a perfect setting, before you begin decorating, is to clear away any clutter and give your small patio a good cleaning. A fresh, tidy space is the perfect canvas for your outdoor Thanksgiving masterpiece.

2. DIY Farmhouse Table and French Style Bistro Folding Chairs

Next, you will need a table, chairs and if you have room, a serving table. We made our farmhouse table, but any small table will do. You can even use two sawhorses and place plywood on top for a small table.

Crafting your own farmhouse table can be a rewarding DIY project. But if you're short on time, you can also repurpose a small dining room table or remember you can improvise with sawhorses and plywood.

For the chairs, we used these French-style bistro folding chairs a friend found on Facebook Marketplace. But you don't need fancy outdoor furniture; any chair, even your indoor dining room chairs, can work. It's all about creating a cozy atmosphere.

French style bistro chairs nested under a farmhouse table for Thanksgiving

And for a serving table, we brought a narrow chest of drawers from the guest bathroom which didn't take up much room but gave us a great place to act as a buffet.

Choosing the Perfect Umbrella

When it comes to outdoor dining, shade is your best friend so it is important to select some form of shading if your small patio, balcony or deck has no covering. We choose this umbrella to give our space style and character but because I didn't want to drill a hole in my table, I found a clever way to attach this great addition to the table.

Here are more details.

Amazon Fringed Umbrella: We opted for a stunning white fringed umbrella from Amazon, which not only provided ample shade but also added a touch of elegance to our setup.

Amazon Umbrella Table Clip: To attach it to our small farmhouse table, we used a clever clip, also found on Amazon. This clip slides onto the table's edge and secures the umbrella in place, allowing it to drape gracefully over the table. The best part is that you don't need a hole in your table and it won't damage your table.

Outdoor Thanksgiving dinner table decorations ideas

Now that the furniture is set and we are about to embark on the centerpiece let's create the backdrop for our table with a simple table runner. We used a neutral-colored pattern runner in off-white and light grey tones. It softens the table to build a centerpiece.

For more ideas, check out this ultimate guide to Thanksgiving table runner ideas.

Creating a Stunning Centerpiece

A centerpiece is the heart of your table, and making your own adds a personal touch to your outdoor decor. Consider this DIY easy Thanksgiving centerpiece in fall colors starting with a mini leaf wreath, like the one we found in Joanna Gaines' Hearth and Hand collection at Target last year.

This wreath is no longer in stock, but I found a similar look with this mini fall wreath that is even more beautiful.

Place the wreath in the center of your table and arrange three gourds around it, starting with one in the center and two on the opposite sides. Next, nestle mini white pumpkins around the gourds and trail more along the center of the table for a rustic feel.

Outdoor Thanksgiving table centerpiece of gourds, fall leaves and mini pumpkins,

Then last, add a couple of small battery-powered candles for a warm, inviting glow.

Warm glowing lighting is a must for creating a cozy atmosphere, so don't forget to add battery powered or real candles to your tablescape and fairy lights if possible.

We added a few small battery-powered candles to the centerpiece and complemented them with fairy lights wound around the umbrella pole with a complimenting leaf garland for a festive feel.

Battery powered lights in centerpiece

Setting the Table

Now that the centerpiece is in place, it is time to dress the place settings. Begin with a classic white dinner plate. You don't have to spend a great deal of money on dishware, and this table is a great example because these white plates came from the dollar store. Place one dinner plate in front of each chair.

Next, use a cloth dinner napkin folded neatly and set it on the dinner plate. For a touch of elegance, we added these Pottery Barn plaid napkins in autumnal colors to the plates that perfectly match the color scheme and layered them with beautiful thrifted white and brown patterned salad plates. These plaid cloth napkins come in a lovely table runner, too.

Here are Thanksgiving table runner ideas if you need more help selecting a runner.

Thanksgiving place setting using white Dollar Tree dishes, thrifted pattern plates in brown and white, pottery barn napkins

Now that the dishes are set let's finish your place settings with the appropriate flatware and glassware, elevating the dining experience. We used our everyday silverware for this table, and because space is limited on this small table, we used stemless champagne flutes. They're a great way to add an elegant touch that doesn't take up much space.

Silverware idea for an outdoor Thanksgiving table decoration

Small Dresser Buffet with Autumn Decor

Next, let's talk about the buffet setup. Ensure easy access to food and drinks by using a small buffet from inside your home or a narrow chest of drawers. We repurposed a little chest of drawers for this purpose.

Dress used as buffet for outdoor Thanksgiving dinner

When decorating your Thanksgiving event, don't forget to add decorations to your buffet. Decorate the buffet area with autumn leaves and mini pumpkins, and consider adding candles and vases for a touch of seasonal flair if you have room.

Drink dispenser sitting on cake stand with pumpkins and leaves as decoration

Because space is limited on a small buffet, think upward by adding cake stands to elevate food and drink items like this drink dispenser. This is an elegant way to allow you an easy way to decorate under it or even place food under it, making the counter space more spacious. Think fall florals and natural elements for a cohesive look.

Ambient Lighting

It is essential to include ambient lighting like Edison lights, fairy lights, and candles because it brings charm and character to any table.

Using candles is an enchanting way to set the mood. Battery-powered candles are a great option to ad ambience without a mess. We added a couple of small battery-powered candles to the centerpiece.

Battery powered lights in centerpiece

And enhance the dreamy atmosphere with LED string lights or fairy lights, which add a soft, romantic glow to the space. We added battery powered fairy light around the pole of the umbrella, which is where we added a leave garland, too, for a rustic look. You're ready to host an unforgettable Thanksgiving meal.

Fall leaf garland and fairy lights around the pole of a umbrella Thanksgiving table decorations outdoors

Music and Entertainment

Just like ambient lighting, music or entertainment sets the mood for your party and bring joy to your guest.

Consider creating the perfect playlist to set the right mood. Curate a playlist that suits your gathering. Use a bluetooth radio to play the music like this one from Hearth & Hand at Target. The vintage design would fit in as another decoration element adding the perfect final touch.

Also, consider outdoor games and activities. Keep your guest entertained with outdoor games like cornhole and horseshoes, or look for fun game ideas on Etsy. We have many fun games in our Etsy shop that you can download and play. Simply search for games to find them all.

Adapting to Weather

It's always a good idea to be prepared for unpredictable weather. Have a plan to move your table indoors or to a screened area if needed, or consider tents or canopies for added protection.

While your umbrella provides some protection, if rain is in the forecast, it's always wise to have a backup plan. Other options are tents and canopies.

For those chilly evenings, have outdoor heaters and blankets on hand. Your guests will appreciate the warmth and comfort. Young people especially love the blankets.


Hosting a Thanksgiving dinner on a small patio can be an extraordinary experience. The beautiful Thanksgiving table, cozy ambiance, the fresh air, and the joy of being close to nature make it a celebration to remember for you and your dinner guests.

As your outdoor Thanksgiving comes to a close, take a moment to reflect on the wonderful memories you've created. And, as you look forward to next year, remember that your small patio can be a canvas for countless beautiful celebrations to come.

Here are more outdoor party ideas and Thanksgiving table ideas:

Thank you for stopping by to get ideas for your Thanksgiving feast! I hope you have enjoyed these ideas and have a great Thanksgiving day.

Happy Decorating!