October 26th, 2018 • York, Maine
Written by: Suzanne Lee, Photo Stylist
Creating a beautiful and inviting tablescape for the holidays need not be a daunting task. In fact, setting the table has always been one of my favorite moments when preparing for a day to be shared with family or friends. I usually start planning the look of my table a couple of weeks in advance in case there are any new elements that I’ll need to source. I usually can’t help myself but to jump into setting the table the night before the event, in this case, Thanksgiving. I find this to be a nice break from the hustle of cooking and cleaning. I can visualize my loved ones gathered around the table the following day, which smothers any stress with excitement. I recommend taking these quiet moments to slow down and relish in the meaning of the season; to be thankful for the abundance in your life.
Cost does not need to be a determining factor in whether or not you’re able to pull together a holiday tablescape. There are many ways to do it cost-effectively, particularly if you’re willing to get creative and work with what you have on hand. I created most of this tablescape using found materials. Let me walk you through the elements of the table and ways you can achieve this look in your own home...
I wanted the overall feel of the table to be indicative of the season, so I pulled earth tones and natural elements like wood, twine, metal, and dried flowers that are representative of autumn. A simple linen tablecloth with a burnt orange runner starts the table, ready for adding place settings. The base of each setting is comprised of simple white plates – an entrée plate layered by a starter plate, which are accompanied by a bread plate to the left. To finish the look, I topped each setting with a patterned napkin that I crimped with a piece of twine. I then added some dried wheat for additional texture and interest.
Many of us don’t have full sets of flatware, especially for large gatherings; don’t be afraid to mix and match your pieces. For the best aesthetic, try to find pieces that have a similar finish – brushed metal, freshly polished, or tarnished vintage are all appropriate, but will look best when kept to one style.
I like to offer each guest multiple choices of glassware. I always include a water glass, but if you’re feeling ambitious you can add both red and white wine glasses for each guest, and then pull whichever isn’t used before serving the meal. For simplicity on this table, I’ve added a single champagne flute to be used at a toast before the meal, and a water glass.
I chose a rustic piece of found barn wood for the center platform, which is the focal point of the table. Bringing in a wood element gives a statement which, for me, is reminiscent of New England farmhouses and old lobster shacks. My goal was to keep the centerpiece narrow so I could still fit serving bowls throughout the table. Have you ever sat down at a table and had your view of another person obstructed by oversized flowers? To avoid this, I created humble arrangements that are beautiful enough to grab the attention of guests, but short enough not to interrupt conversation. The floral arrangements were placed in tin cans. If you don’t have access to a specialty store that might sell these, you can create your own by cutting a chowder can and using sandpaper to dull the shine. I added a simple piece of twine to add character. The greenery is a blend of fresh herbs and dried flowers from a local farm; inexpensive, delicate, and seasonally appropriate. Candles are always a special touch which add warmth and environment to any table. Again, I chose low pillars to avoid disruption.
These elements combine to create a rustic yet elegant table that will be inviting to your guests as you welcome them to your Thanksgiving feast. To finish the look in classic Stonewall Kitchen style, don’t forget to add some New England Cranberry Relish to your table! I hope you’ve found some inspiration, and would love to see how you incorporate these ideas into your own home. Share your look with us by tagging #mystonewallkitchen.
Suzanne has been the Photo Stylist for Stonewall Kitchen for almost three years. She enjoys sourcing vintage items, hosting gatherings, and spending time with her dog, rabbit, and three chickens. Suzanne’s favorite SWK product is the Fire Roasted Salsa.