How To Set A Casual Thanksgiving Table

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Hey friends are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? I am and I am SO excited since this will be the first Thanksgiving in our new home!

We have so much to be Thankful for this year and I want to make this Thanksgiving extra special for our family and friends.

How to set a casual Thanksgiving tablescape!

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Fancy or Casual Thanksgiving Table?

But to be honest, I don’t have a lot of time this year to get super fancy and that’s not usually my style anyway. So today I am here to share my tips and tricks on how to set a casual Thanksgiving table!

Our dining room table set for a casual Thanksgiving!

A Thanksgiving Table Runner or Tablecloth?

When setting a table for any holiday or special occasion I always like to start with the tablecloth or runner. This year I opted for a runner. My sister in-law gifted us this beautiful and meaningful black and white This Is Us runner as a housewarming gift. I used it as the foundation and it set the feel for the whole table.

Isn’t it just perfect for Thanksgiving?

THis IS US thanksgiving table runner

When using a table runner it really makes it easy to see where the rest of the items on the table should be placed.

How to set a casul Thanksgiving table for family and friends.

Choosing Colors For Your Table

Whenever I set a table or tablescape I like to have a theme or color scheme. This year the colors were black, white and a yellow/gold. I really like how the gold color feels like Fall. I found these beautiful gold napkins at Home Goods and instantly loved them. They match our velvet IKEA curtains in our family room too so carrying it into our dining room felt very natural.

A casual Thanksgiving table setting full of ideas.

Once we had the napkins I knew I wanted matching velvet ribbon. My mom and I looked at Hobby Lobby, JoAnn and Amazon. The winner was Amazon. I bought this ribbon and this one too.

I love it so much that I am working it into my Christmas décor as well! (Did you spy my Christmas tree in the background in a few of these pictures?)

A casual centerpiece for Thanksgiving.

Here’s How to Set a Casual Thanksgiving Table:

  1. Gather the number of plates to match the number of guests who are joining you. Center your plates in front of the chair and on your table. Paper plates are ok too!
  2. The fork goes to the left of the plate, and if you have a salad fork it goes to the left of the dinner fork.
  3. Next, the knife goes on the right side of the plate. Make sure the serrated edge is facing toward your plate.
  4. Place the dinner spoon to the right of the knife.
  5. Set your glass or wine glass, above the knife just to the right of the plate.
  6. Finally,  add your napkin on your plate or to the left of your plate under your forks . Then add a place card for a personal touch. (free printables ones are the best!) The napkins can be paper or cloth depending on how casual you want to go!
Black, white and golf casual Thanksgiving table.

How Do I Add Casual Décor To My Table?

One of the most asked questions I get with tablescapes is how to add casual décor to a table. I love keeping things meaningful and casual.

  1. My first tip is to find and use free printables. I used my free printable place cards. You can subscribe to my blog and grab them for your table too! I have a variety in my printables library that are also available once you subscribe.
  2. Use natural elements from the outdoors. I used pinecones and leaves from our backyard and they were free!
  3. Use candles and clear glass accents. Both of these can be dressed up or down , they are easy to add to any table and they are also both affordable.
Printable place cards for a casual or fancy table setting.

Meaningful Touches Are Just As Important

While setting this table I was having a conversation with my mom about her recent Bible study group and how they had been studying the book of Mathew. They had been talking about what it means to be the salt and light of the earth. We decided it would be fun to add salt to the bottom of a few of the glass dishes and set a candle in it.

Salt and light at Thanksgiving
 13“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

Matthew 5:13-16
A view of our casual Thanksgiving table!

I can’t wait to tell my family about why we used salt and candles for our table and that it wasn’t just for décor but something much deeper! I think I will write the verse out and have it at the table as well so we can all talk about it.

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How To Set A Casual Table For Thanksgiving

We have so much to be thankful for this year and I think more than ever we are craving finding time to be thankful with our family and friends. I know I am!

And whether you set a fancy table or casual table let us remember it’s not really about the table at all but about those we share it with. My prayer is that you would have a blessed Thanksgiving. And just so you know, there is always a seat for you at my table!



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  1. Your table is beautiful Kelly, and I love the meaning behind the salt in the candle dishes!! Oh, and that table runner really is perfect!

  2. Kelly,
    This Thanksgiving table is STUNNING!
    I loved what you shared, and it’s just perfect in your new home.

    Wishing you a beautiful rest of the weekend.

  3. Your Thanksgiving table is just beautiful!! I love the simplicity and beauty of the glass, pine cones and velvet ribbon! Casual yet elegant!! Well done, friend!! 😘

  4. Kelly, I love the Bible verse and the salt and light on your table. What a wonderful idea, and what a great way to have a meaningful conversation with your guests, even if they are from different faiths. I see why Clay thinks you are terrific!!

    Susan Eastham

    1. Thank you Susan! I am so excited to add that conversation to the table this year…and just so you know I think Clay is terrific too! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  5. This is a beautiful table, Kelly! This Thanksgiving will be so special for you all in your beautiful new home! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  6. Love the runner! Perfect as a house-warming gift.Love the meaning behind the salt and light table decor, too. Such a pretty setting with your tree in the background. So excited for you to host your first holiday in your new home!

  7. Kelly! I love your table! But my favorite part is your salt and light!! Such beautiful symbolism!! And on Thanksgiving… perfection!!! Pinned for later, cause you know I’m gonna need reminded on how to keep my tablescape for Thanksgiving chill haha

  8. Pretty Thanksgiving table. I have to set mine this weekend.

    My home is ready for Christmas and my family is thrilled.

    Thanksgiving table will be full of that holiday though.

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