Traditional vs Modern Thanksgiving Decorating

Posted by kathy stanton on

Thanksgiving decorating


Whether you’re hosting a full house this year or an intimate gathering, remind everyone to celebrate and give thanks by setting the perfect table and mood. Thanksgiving is about being thankful for all we have, and the decor on your Thanksgiving table should display your gratitude and abundance. Traditionally this has meant a table full of lovingly home cooked food with a turkey as the grand centerpiece. While gratitude has always been the theme of this annual feast, for many of us that meant a quick prayer and then “dig in!”  More recently there’s been a greater focus on thinking and talking about all we have to be grateful for. Today, decorating the Thanksgiving table conveys that feeling so your guests can enjoy a beautiful visual display to remind them of the good year it has been. We share some decorating tips that will keep the focus on the things that are truly important, while still allowing everyone to enjoy this special meal.

Traditional Elegance 

Traditional just never goes out of style. It brings back fond childhood memories which adds a sense of nostalgia for each guest. When decorating traditionally this year, the only pitfall to look out for is overdoing it. With so many elements to choose from, you might just want to add them all, leaving the table cluttered. Keep it organized, by choosing a few key elements that can be accented with your runner, greenery, candles, etc. 

You can add natural elements like small pumpkins, gourds, corn and other produce to the table, as this was what the original Pilgrims and Indians were thankful for. You can also add a horn of cornucopia, for a very traditional feel. Layer the produce inside it, to round off the display. Incorporate rich, deep colors to your decor and a warm atmosphere is guaranteed.

For some, a traditional table must incorporate family china and heirloom pieces, while others prefer gold trim or silverware. These more elegant settings can be updated as well. Giving this a more modern feel could be something as simple as adding a little greenery and candles as a centerpiece. Be sure to look after these special pieces when not in use. Our large customizable storage boxes are perfect for those precious pieces. Keeping them safe until the next celebration.

We simply love this traditional table setting by Home Is Where The Boat Is. Add your own heirloom dinnerware as feature pieces this Thanksgiving or treat yourself to a new dinner set for the occasion. 

Thankgiving decor idea

Help your guests feel welcome, by adding a warm Thanksgiving wreath to your front door. A traditional wreath includes rustic colors, dried flowers, fruits, foliage, and wheat stalks. The benefit of a Thanksgiving wreath is that you can keep it up all the way through fall! 

Try this easy tutorial by Artsy Chicks Rule to create your own DIY wreath. We love the warm colors, and homemade dried oranges in her stunning ensemble. 


Thanksgiving Decoration wreath


On the subject of the turkey, to be or not to be on the table… The choice is completely up to you, but opting to have a separate table for serving leaves the dinner table neat and the focus stays on the conversation and the people around the table.

Need more inspiration for traditional Thanksgiving decorations? You can get so many great ideas just looking around the internet or at the magazine stand. We adore this Thanksgiving sign by Loralee Lewis made from a vintage framed board. If you have your own frame, this could be an easy DIY project, with just some black chalk paint and a piece of plywood.

Thanksgiving Decoration sign


Modern Twist

When opting for a modern look, the idea is to decorate minimally with fresh colors. Here you truly have to be careful of overdoing it. It’s also the perfect place to decorate using the things you are grateful for, perhaps some beautiful in-season flowers, accentuated with a new vase, or adding an element of fall on top of your napkins. Focus on keeping the table clean, with your best on display. You can also change your colors up, choose any color you like and give the traditional elements a modern twist by painting them in your chosen color. Some colors that stand out this year are beautiful metals, rustic greens and pastels

Color explosion - use your color scheme to your advantage. Oh Happy Day got it absolutely right with their pastel pumpkin Thanksgiving centerpiece. Use this idea with any fall element to add a modern touch.

Thanksgiving Decorating Modern

We also love this beautiful Friendsgiving setting from The Effortless Chic. Friendsgiving is a modern twist on the traditional Thanksgiving celebration, focusing on our friends.

Modern Thanksgiving Decor

A modern Thanksgiving wreath will also set the atmosphere as guests arrive. Where the traditional Thanksgiving wreath is usually busy and warm, a modern wreath should match your interior and less is more. Cool colors are quite trendy this year and we love this design by Love, Create, Celebrate - incorporating white gold and pastel greens, with a modern geometric design.


Modern Thanksgiving Wreath decoration


Consider using Thanksgiving signs to spread the message of Thanksgiving throughout your modern table setting. These can be small, individually placed cards with words and phrases synonymous with Thanksgiving, such as family, give thanks, feast, and blessing.

Whichever you choose for your Thanksgiving table decor, remember to “spark joy”. Decluttering doesn’t have to be just for your cupboards. If something on the table just doesn’t give you that feeling of joy, remove it. If you like a mix of modern and traditional, go for it. Be thankful for the opportunity to spend time with your loved ones, to be grateful, to give back, and the rest will “fall” into place.


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