Hosting the biggest dinner of the year can come with a ton of pressure. Especially if it's your first time hosting, you may be feeling the urge to run out and buy brand-new place settings, a table, a larger apartment to put it all in...but, wait! Here are five simple ways to rework things you already own (like those mini pumpkins left over from Halloween—inspiration shot via Casa de Perrin / Poppytalk), or that cost next to nothing, to make the decor as memorable as the meal.
Resist the urge to splurge on...
A New Table
There's no reason to invest in a long table to accommodate all your guests, especially if you don't have the space to store it afterwards. Instead, push together several smaller tables (even rented card tables) to form one long one, as Sunday Suppers did above. If the surfaces aren't at the same height, give the shorter table a boost by placing furniture risers under each leg. Don't try to hide the joints under a giant tablecloth—just place a runner down the center to give it a cohesive look.
A Matching Set of Dishes
If you haven't already heard: Mismatched tableware is in. On Camille Styles, Justine Gilcrease, co-owner of Justine's Brasserie in Austin, reports that the mix-and-match look is on-trend, and her collection above is all the proof we need. If you have two smaller sets of dishes, you can combine them by alternating the pattern at every other place setting. If you have enough pieces to coordinate them by theme or color palette, go right ahead. If not, embrace the mix.
→ More Ideas: Here's How to Make Mix-and-Match Dinnerware Work
A Centerpiece (or Place Cards)
On The Pretty Blog, foraged finds make the most lovely table decorations. Collect leafless branches from your backyard and arrange them down the center of the table for a minimalist look. To punch up the color, try spray painting the branches in one bold autumnal hue. And for place cards? A gourd or a sprig of rosemary with the guests's name attached is beautiful and inexpensive.
A Table Runner or Placemats
Modern table settings don't call for a ton of formal-looking textiles, and letting a nice wood surface go tablecloth-free is totally acceptable. But if you're using an older table or a rented folding table, use a strip of craft paper and paint markers to fashion a customized runner, as Country Living demonstrates, above. Other alternatives: Drape a tartan blanket, or cut a long piece of patterned wrapping paper.
Consider Mother Nature your personal party planner, and all the decorations come for free. To make the statement mobile above, Kinfolk + Sunday Suppers collected colorful fall leaves and hung them from the ceiling using fishing line. Let your fall nature walks inspire your decor choices—leaves, berries, branches, and acorns are all fair game. Fill a glass container with painted or au natural acorns, or wrap the bottom of a white candle with bittersweet before placing in a glass cylinder. Happy hunting and gathering!
Still not feeling ready for the big meal? Try these 3 simple tips for your best Thanksgiving yet.