Inside: An inexpensive last minute Thanksgiving table idea that’s easy to make in minutes using items from the backyard, grocery store, existing dinnerware, and fall decor!
If you’re like me, you don’t want to spend a lot of money or time on Thanksgiving table decorations. This middle child holiday is not as fun and showy as Halloween and Christmas, it only lasts one day, and the food takes center stage.
An easy Thanksgiving table centerpiece idea.
With a trip to the grocery store and a little foraging in the backyard, I was able to put together this beautiful Thanksgiving centerpiece in no time! I still get the natural look of an expensive floral arrangement, but this costs me almost nothing. Plus there’s no need to find a place to store another fall centerpiece.
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Materials for this easy Thanksgiving centerpiece.
- Leafy branches from the yard. I foraged some magnolia branches, oak leaves, and purple heart to fill the table with natural elements.
- Small pumpkins. I picked up some mini pumpkins from the grocery store and added in three slightly larger craft pumpkins that I already had (since the store was sold out of real white pumpkins at this point).
- Dried hydrangeas. I saved mine from a previous year’s Limelight bush to decorate with.
- Brown pheasant feathers. These pheasant feathers aren’t expensive and I always use them somewhere every fall.
- Table runner. I used my neutral, extra-long table runner from Pottery Barn and layered a folded fall plaid tablecloth on top for a little pattern and fall color.
- Candle holders. I pulled out my favorite set of gold candleholders from Target (similar) and filled them with white taper candles.
- Dishes, chargers, and napkins from what you have. I always go with white dishes, but if you already have some in fall colors that’s a bonus!
How to make this easy centerpiece.
Not that there’s a big tutorial to share here, but this is how I put this one together in case you’d like to create something similar!
1. Center the table runner.
First, I laid down this neutral, nubby table runner to fill the center of the dining table. Then I folded a plaid tablecloth in a fall color scheme the width of the runner and centered it on top for more contrast with the darkness and to add some pattern.
2. Spread out the candlesticks.
Next, I placed six gold candle holders (here’s the current version) down the center of the plaid tablecloth.
These and the rest of the elements could really go in any order—this is just how this centerpiece came together.
3. Place the pumpkins.
I laid out mini tiger stripe pumpkins, three white craft pumpkins, and lots of mini orange pumpkins down the table, varying the colors and sizes.
4. Tuck in natural greenery cuttings.
This is where the beauty really comes in! I cut apart pieces of the magnolia stems and laid those out first because they had the largest leaves.
Next, I cut pieces of oak twigs and leaves to really fill out the center of the table. These were just starting to turn brown before I cut them and some even had some acorns still attached (unfortunately most of our fall color here in Texas is brown).
And for a little extra color, I thought purple would look lovely with the orange pumpkins. So I cut pieces of trailing purple heart and stuck a few of those in with the green leaves.
Make sure to check your cuttings from the yard for bugs—no one wants uninvited critters at Thanksgiving dinner!
5. Accent with hydrangeas and feathers.
After all the foraged greenery was in place, I gently tucked in a few dried hydrangeas and poked in some feathers throughout the centerpiece.
The limelight hydrangeas really stand out against all the darker greenery!
6. Set the table.
No dining room table is complete without plates. So I pulled out brown natural rattan chargers and topped them with my parent’s vintage Redcliff grape ironstone plates.
On top of each of the place settings lies an olive green velvet napkin gathered in a vintage brass napkin ring, topped off with another pheasant feather. The utensils and glasses will come later (someday I’d love to have either gold or green goblets and brushed gold utensils for the Thanksgiving table.)
7. Add the candles.
My final touch was these classic white taper candles. I waited until last to put them in so that I wouldn’t knock them over while I was assembling the centerpiece, since there’s a chance these really tall ones will break.
I love that this type of garland centerpiece is low so that you can see over it. The tall candlesticks give it drama and height, but since they are so slim, I feel like they don’t block the sight line too badly.
I think my favorite touch is the pops of orange pumpkins throughout. Plus the pumpkins make this table read instantly fall.
If you’d like some free printable place cards for your Thanksgiving table, you can see them in the post, “A Beautiful Blue Thanksgiving Tablescape with Free Printables“.
More Thanksgiving centerpiece ideas.
Now that you see the jist of creating this kind of easy centerpiece down the center of your table, put on your creative cap for what you can pull from your own house and yard. Here are a few ideas:
- Pine cones
- Any fall leaves
- Wheat bundles
- Fall decor from your stash
- Fruits and vegetables in season this time of year like apples, artichokes, and pears
- Pillar candles in hurricane vases or votives in mason jars
- A rustic wooden bowl full of seasonal items
For elegant, nontraditional color Thanksgiving table inspiration, see the post, “Thanksgiving Table in Green, Silver, and White: Pretty and Peaceful“.
This Thanksgiving, I am so very thankful for you. For supporting me in this little dream of mine. I hope you have a meaningful Thanksgiving meal with the people you love the most!
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