Tablecloths, Placemats or Runners? Creating a Pretty Thanksgiving Table


With Thanksgiving just one week away, and my dining room undergoing a mini-redo, I’ve been thinking about what I want to do for the table this year.


You might remember my Thanksgiving table from last year:

brown and gold Thanksgiving tablescape

Thanksgiving placecards

Thanksgiving tablescape

I loved this one, but where’s the fun in repeating the same thing?


While I was looking around for new inspiration, I started by thinking about the first layer.  Tablecloth or no tablecloth? These are the important questions that keep me up at night.




But seriously, it is the first thing you have to think about when creating a pretty table.  Here are some options I found with variations of tablecloths, runners, and placemats in the mix: 

This clean but rustic table used an extra-wide runner (probably a tablecloth folded in half), and I like how the plates are half on the runner.  This setting works beautifully because the gourds and vines match the washed pine finish of the table itself.

Here’s another I love using sort of an extra-wide runner:

Martha Stewart Thanksgiving tableMartha Stewart

 (Does a centerpiece get any easier than this one? But lovely!)


Next there’s this simple setting using a runner and placemats:

centsational girl thanksgiving table


I’ve always wondered why we cover up our beautifully finished dining room tables with tablecloths, but sometimes a tablecloth is so pretty I don’t mind.  Like this one:

So fall, but a little unexpected with the pop of pretty blue glassware.


Then there’s this simple and rustic setting using a thin throw folded in half:


I also love the brown transferware plates, pewter candlesticks and the bittersweet — my favorite.


Last, there’s this more modern table setting with no linens at all, just chargers:

source unknown

Perfect for a glass table, and while it wouldn’t work for my dining room, the uber-simple centerpiece could be easily replicated with tiny orange pumpkins and any long, narrow vessel on any table.


So if you’re thinking about your Thanksgiving table, start with the linen choice and build from there.  I decided to go with a tablecloth this year because we’re having at least 10 at the table, and 10 placemats gets crowded.  Here’s a peek:

Thanksgiving place setting

I wanted to change up my usual browns a bit, so when I found these yellow ikat napkins, I decided to build a table from there.

Just the tablecloth seemed a little plain, so I added a smaller tablecloth folded in half across the middle of the table.

Homecrush Thanksgiving Table 2013

I also used my square wicker chargers, gold crackle chargers, some faux bittersweet vines, velvet, real & wicker pumpkins, and a few gold acorns scattered down the middle of the table.

Homecrush Thanksgiving table centerpiece

And I’m loving my new brassy geometric candlesticks from CB2 . . .

Homecrush Thanksgiving table CB2 candlesticks

. . . . a little touch of modern to go with the napkins.

It all goes along with a grouping of fall things I’d already put together on the buffet:

Homecrush fall vignette

This fall has been so beautiful here, I’m sad to see it go.  But I am looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving, and welcoming the Christmas season.  Hope you are too.


Happy Thanksgiving!



Sharing at Between Naps on the Porch Tablescape Thursday


I want to know what you’re crushing on. I love your comments and try to reply to them all, so keep ‘em coming!

  • Kellee November 22, 2013, 2:04 pm

    I already have my table set, Kerry, but would love to add some of those cute golden acorns. Can you tell me where you got them? I have a pear on the napkin on each plate just like the one you showed. Fun!

    • Kerry November 22, 2013, 2:46 pm

      Of course Kellee! They were from Pottery Barn. If they don’t have them anymore I have plenty and could bring you some to borrow!!

  • Moni ~ Zu Haus at Home November 26, 2013, 9:45 am

    Beautiful Thanksgiving table setting! Love the warm colors – browns, yellows and touches of gold, so pretty.
    Happy Thanksgiving!