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3 Tips For Creating Your Holiday Tablescape

Do you have anything your Mom taught you that you thought you would never use?  And even though you thought you would never use that skill or knowledge she was teaching you, you did it anyway because you were a smart kid and wanted to live to see the next day, all the while thinking, “This is such a waste of time.”

Well, one of those things for me was etiquette.  My Mom is a big believer in etiquette.  I even remember her green Emily Post etiquette book.  As I’m writing this post, I’m going to have to ask her if she still has that book; she probably does.

One of those things she taught us was table settings and just entertaining as a whole.  I guess I thought I’d just live off of pizza and potato chips, who knows, but what she has taught us was invaluable and of course, I don’t remember everything, but one of the few things I did like was setting a table.

I LOVE a beautiful tablescape!  They can completely transform a room and since Thanksgiving is next week (where did the time go) I thought I’d share tips for creating a beautiful tablescape.

In my article, How to Plan and Prepare For Your Holiday Gathering, on page 60, I talk about the four senses of home decor and your tablescape alone can cover all four!

Tip #1: Making your tablescape an extension of your theme

When I am creating my tablescape for Thanksgiving or any other holiday, I think about how my tablescape will fit into my theme.  This year, as I often do, I chose to use bright and vibrant colors along with scarecrows, lots of pumpkins, leaves, and flowers.

So my first tip is how to incorporate the theme you’ve chosen into your tablescape.  You’ve only got so much space so don’t think that you have to add everything to your tablescape.  With the theme that I shared above, I decided to use vibrant colors, pumpkins, scarecrows, and leaves.

When deciding what to add, ask yourself,

  • What will have the biggest impact?
  • What can take the least space?
  • Can I go up?

What will have the biggest impact and what can take the least space?

Since you’ve got a small amount of space, you want to choose decor that will give you the biggest bang.  I knew I wanted to add scarecrows and pumpkins and leaves.  Since I have but so much space, I didn’t want to have several containers of items and what made the most sense was to find something where I could have everything together.  My large dough bowl was the perfect solution to hold all three if I wanted.

If you’ve got several decor pieces that you want to add to your tablescape, how can you put them together to save space?

It may also be that due to the size of your table, you may only be able to add one decor item and that’s okay, just make sure it encompasses your theme.

This is one of those times when it comes to home decor where less is better.

Fall tablescape ideas

Can I go up?

It may seem odd to say this, but I believe in going up when it comes to your tablescape if you can.  My light fixture is directly above my dining table.  When I take a step back to look at the room, it seemed not quite complete because when you looked at the light fixture, it was bare and it seemed a bit odd.  This year I decided to go up and began to include my light fixture in my tablescape planning.

It brought everything together and I love it!

Another great thing about going up with your tablescape area is that if you’ve got a smaller table and have to take the actual tablescape off of the table or have to downsize so there is enough room for everyone to sit at the table, you still have decor and the room is festive!

Tip #2: Keep it simple

You’re going to eat at the table so don’t think that you have to have a grandiose tablescape.  A table runner, a few candles, and some greenery can go a long way!  If you’re on a budget, don’t let that stop you, and don’t think you can’t have a beautiful tablescape.  Y’all, nature has a plethora of things you can turn into home decor!

My most favorite is pinecones.  Pinecones are so versatile and can be used in many ways.  Here are a couple of ways you can use pinecones as a part of your tablescape.

Using nature for your tablescape


Go outside and grab enough pinecones to fill a decorative bowl.  Take some newspaper and lay the pine cones in a single layer.  Take a can of spray glue and sprinkle cinnamon and or nutmeg onto the pinecones.  Let dry for about 30 minutes, turn over and repeat.  Place your newly scented pinecones into the bowl and place them in the center of your table.  How’s that for easy and it smells so good?!

Use pinecones as your place cards.  Go outside and grab enough pinecones to have one for each guest and you’ll also need string and paper.  Cut your paper into square or rectangular shapes.  Punch a hole in the top right or left corner of the paper.  Loop your string through the hole and then tie it to your pinecone. It’s a fun and easy way to let your guests know where they will sit!

Tip #3: Place settings

Setting your table doesn’t have to be complicated.  I remember when we first started entertaining, I was so happy and stressed because I hadn’t set a formal table in quite a while, but My Mom and the movie Pretty Woman were a big help!

I’m sure you’re wondering how Pretty Woman helped me then and even helps me to remember now how to set a table.  There is a scene in the movie where the hotel manager is teaching Julia Roberts when to use what fork.  It’s funny what can help you remember something, isn’t it?  I always remember outside and coming in.  The fork closest to the plate is for dinner.  Yes, I learned to simplify it that much!

So when setting the table, the forks are the easiest, and then I’ve simply learned and remember over the years, where to place what.

Fall tablescape

Rather than fully setting each sitting, I go around the table piece, by piece.  So I lay all of the placemats down, then I lay the chargers, until the entire table is done.  I don’t know why I do it that way.  Maybe it’s because I can adjust as I go with each piece and it’s easier to catch a change rather than having to do the whole thing all over again.

So those are my 3 simple tips!  Y’all know I like to keep things simple and your holiday should be focused on friends and family, not stressing over how to make a pretty table.  Remember, less is more!

How do you set your table for the holidays?  Share your tips below!

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