34 DIY Thanksgiving Decor Ideas to Make the Most of This Holiday Season
15 Mins Read
January 17th, 2024
The yummy turkey season is here. The tempting aroma of the delicious feast you cook at home, preparations to host your people, grocery shopping, sending your A-team to get gifts and decor items, balancing food prep and decor and cleaning — a lot of work for you to make your place look like an uncomparable fine dining spot.
You’re ready to go the extra mile, but time constraints and the work involved are weighing you down. We understand how you feel, and that’s why this year, we bring you simple decor tips for Thanksgiving that can take a major worry off your mind, while effectively knitting your family together on this warm and lovely occasion.
Jump ahead to:
While it’s still the fall season, there’s a stark difference between the early fall and late fall temperature, ambiance, and mood. Thanksgiving falls in the late half of the season, and it needs a cozy and inviting tone for your guests to relax, enjoy delightful company, good food, and laughter, and spend quality time basking in the warmth of love.
Before you finalize Thanksgiving decorating ideas, you will need to decide which approach you’re going to take.
With the group you’re inviting this year, choose whether you want to:
Once you decide which approach you want to take, next narrow down on the intention you want to set:
When you make these two important choices, you can shortlist your decor and celebration ideas easily. Here are 34 tips to personalize your decor, and inject your personality into your home all while making your guests feel special.
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The fall is a beautiful season for so many reasons and one of the first things has to be the bountiful flowers it brings. What better way to thank nature for its bounties than by ingesting the refreshing aesthetics and fragrance of fresh flowers?
It’s the fall season, and you’re probably sweeping dry leaves, pine cones, and twigs from your yard every day. This week, retrieve some from your pile and bring them home. You can use them afresh or paint them and crank up your decor instantly.
If you’re inviting new friends, old friends who have now become family, and your own close kin, you’d have to decide on table decor ideas and plan seating arrangements ahead of time. It’s always a good idea to keep place cards on the Thanksgiving table. We suggest you insert a small, loving note about the person and what you’re grateful for for them in the card. When guests reach for the card and find their note, they will love the gesture you made. The Thanksgiving meal can turn out to be a heartwarming memory-sharing event as well.
Your guests can really savor the beauty of Thanksgiving when they can ingest the theme through all 5 senses. Sight being the primary sense, your choice of color is paramount. Go for rich, deep Thanksgiving colors like burgundy, and country greens resembling greenery with a mellow undertone, broody moody colors, mustard yellow, burnt orange, brown, aubergine, magenta, or paprika. If you want a feisty atmosphere, you can also go in for brighter colors – bright creams, oatmeal colors accented with mood tones and brass colors. These colors when paired with low lighting and a warm ambiance can make your guests not want to leave your place.
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Elevate the sense of touch by bringing in thoughtful, cozy textures. Wood is a brilliant choice, as works well for any color palette you choose, and also adds that natural touch to your place. Add twigs, sprigs, acorns, feathers, antlers, and other pieces that resemble fall. Spread a burlap table runner on the dining table. Satin also works great for Thanksgiving and late fall holiday decorations.
Place candles near the holiday table for a glorious Thanksgiving dinner. You can also light small, scented candles in the living room, and anywhere your guests are likely to spend time together. If you don’t want the mess of wax leaking from candles, or the risk of fire, you can use tall candlesticks on the dining tables and other areas, or buy flameless candles that stay still till you put them out.
With all the delicious cooking that’s going on during Thanksgiving, your place will have a great aroma in it. Add more flavor to the fragrance by placing apples, pears, cinnamon, and nutmeg in different forms and shapes.
Think about the emotions you want to evoke in your guests during the Thanksgiving celebration. Pick a rug that evokes those very emotions in you. Go for area rugs with deep colors and place them in the kitchen, bathroom, entryway, and most importantly the dining room. If you have zones in your open-concept living room, get a unique rug for each zone.
One of the things we tend to forget while going full-on on interior decorations is the welcome mat. Get a fun mat that makes your guests smile even before they enter your place.
Buy pillows of crochet, fur, or wool to elevate the coziness of the occasion. Place them on the loveseat, sofa, chairs, or bed – anywhere people lean in for comfort. If your porch has a daybed, make sure to disinfect the mattress, and get new warm pillows.
Decorating the gate shows you are serious about your Thanksgiving decor and want your guests to bask in the festivity the moment after their arrival. Hang ribbons, garlands, or Thanksgiving wreaths at the front gate.
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This is indeed the pumpkin season, so, why not include the highlight of seasonal decor? Carve smiley faces on pumpkins and add them generously to your Thanksgiving interior design – near the scarecrow (yes, we’ll come to it in a minute), in your entrance, on the compound walls, in your living room, kitchen – anywhere you deem fit.
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Turkey is the star of Thanksgiving dinners. Certainly an obvious choice, but turkey-themed items sure look wonderful as part of the occasion’s decor. Get a turkey-colored pillow, placeholder, kitchen counter, and a few turkey-shaped china. If you have a repeating turkey pattern around the house, pumpkins, gourds, and dried corn also make for good placeholders.
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If you swear by faux garlands, you’re going to love this. Buy 5-15 sets of the same colored garlands, preferably with aspen leaves, pinecones, or acorn garlands that you can use everywhere in your home. You can do the same with real garlands as well, but it’s going to cost you every year. You can spread the garland out on the dining table, stuff another on a flower vase, and place it in the bathroom. Hang a few on your entry door, to the backs of chairs, etc. So many places to have colorful and sweet-smelling garlands. You can also add beautiful white lights to the garlands to add a touch of charm to them.
They are an aesthetic item to add to your interior design and can be scaled up or down depending on the look you’re aiming for. You can add feathers, and cashmere birds in the wreaths to give a mystical look to them. Get custom wreaths made of grapevine, or think oak limbs or sunflowers, decorated with wooden beads, or miniature pumpkins.
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Cloth napkins on the dining table setting with apt napkin rings around them exude style and elegance. Your one-time investment in bright tableware will come in handy all year round. So swap your paper napkins for cloth napkins with beautiful napkin rings. They come in different styles and materials – spring three coil, irregular round, Q-shaped, and made of alloys, stainless steel, iron, and grid copper.
Take time to bring down your fancy china from the attic, and pick out plates with beautiful Thanksgiving patterns, color schemes, and designs on them. Cranberry-colored square plates are a delight to see and feast on. If you have sufficient time on your hands, you can pick out colors that match your wall color.
Decorate your fireplace mantle with garlands, wreaths, and pictures of loved ones. The fireplace is a great conversation spot, so, take your time to make it extra special.
If you want to enjoy Thanksgiving by being one with nature, take the family outside to your yard, reignite your fire pit, and cook alongside them. Always be mindful of the open space around you, and keep the fire extinguisher ready, just in case.
When you spend time, money, and effort on making the entire house look amazing, don’t leave out small areas that go unnoticed. There’s a chance your guests may enter these spaces and feel like you haven’t put a lot of thought into them. Discard old items in the powder room and restock soaps, hand towels, and flowers. You can also place an old vase with a garland in it.
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The porch is where your guests wait until the meal is done, the kids play, or people relax after the meal, before sundown. Dot the front porch with hay bales, scarecrows, and pumpkins. Pull up that unused bench in your yard, place it on the porch, add a few fresh pillows, and spread a nice, warm blanket on it.
If your family and kids have given you handmade toys or gifts over the years, now’s the best time to thank them for giving you heartwarming gifts and show off. Insert these artifacts on mirror charges, and add fairy lights to them. Nothing like watching them swoon over your love for their gifts and reminisce about beautiful times together on a warm Thanksgiving evening.
Get simple strings, write heartfelt thank you notes, or famous quotes on gratitude, and tie them to the garlands you’ve placed all over the house. Each time your guests pass by them, they will be tempted to read those cute little messages.
Matching your decor color and design with the wall color is essential. To choose the color of china, towels, spread, dinnerware, and other dining items, start with the wall color. In the earlier section on choosing colors, if you have chosen a vibrant theme and you want to go with a feisty look, pick out items that go with the same predominant color in your home. If not, pick the color that’s the polar opposite of your predominant color on the color wheel.
For example, if you have a red dining room and you want a high-energy atmosphere, you can go for a deep red spread, red plates, and patterns with bright red spots on them. If you want a mellow look, go for deep green, saturated, darker jewel tones with a deep green or navy blue tablecloth and use red as accent pieces.
If you have an all-white, minimalist tablescape, you can stick to the same color by having white lights, a white tablecloth, and a few accents of black or brown. Similarly, if you want a contrast, for the same white Thanksgiving tablescape, you can have a black velvet tablecloth, black dishes, and matt gold decor with a few white flowers as accent pieces.
Create a photo wall by making a beautiful collage with pictures of your friends and family attending the Thanksgiving feast that day. Pick up fall leaves and pinecones from your yard, wash them well, and spray paint them in rich autumnal colors to exude a rustic farmhouse look. You can then stick these silk fall leaves behind the photo frames. If there are extras lying around, you can certainly attach them to tabletops, and behind guest towel stands as well.
Take out textiles from your linen closet, and layer up fabrics on windows and table settings. Conceal light as much as possible, so that as the sun comes down and the candle lights glow, the home turns cozy, inviting, and heartwarming as ever.
Bring furniture lying around the house to create conversation spots for your guests to get to know each other or have heart-to-heart conversations. Use the sofa on a diagonal, make use of the loveseat on the dining table, and put together two standalone sofas, with a small coffee table in between with a rich area rug underneath. Stack pillows on the sofas for the guests to grab a drink, find a nook, and a comfortable seat, and talk to each other.
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Grab a few baskets made of bamboo or any natural material, and stack them with apples and fruits. You can set up a small bistro table and leave the fruit basket on it, or leave them on the corner of the dining room on the top of the sideboard.
Tie fall ribbons to the back of dining chairs, added with pillows, and guest towels. This way, you make each person’s seating area special, which gives off a positive vibe and shows them you take them seriously.
Short, sweet, and positive messages on the bathroom mirrors bring a smile to anyone using it. Even when everyone’s busy talking to each other or resting after the feast, anyone who happens to pass by the mirror will witness a warm interaction when they read the sweet notes you left in the bathroom mirror.
If table centerpiece choices are turning out to be headscratchers, we have a solution for you – make a bouquet of fresh vegetables. Get a bunch of fresh nuts, and vegetables delivered to you fresh in the morning and stack them in the centerpiece on brass or silver bowls.
Collect a number of dried corn stalks, and tie them to the mid-section to make a tepee-shaped bunching and make your fodder shock. This can be a good project for those not involved in cooking to take up and have fun.
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This is an absolute delight for you to make on your own before the occasion or to make one with family. Make a cross with two sticks, join them firmly, and dress the sticks. Add socks and a hat, and use an old pillowcase for the head. Fill the structure with papers or rags, draw on the face bind everything together to make a scarecrow, and leave it on the porch next to the hay bale.
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If you have an iconic heirloom piece, say a piano, an artifact, or a rare piece of clothing, keep it on display. It can be a great decor item and a conversation starter.
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Consider incorporating cultural elements or themes from different regions to add diversity. For instance, using textiles or patterns inspired by Native American or international traditions can bring a unique touch.
Opt for dried or artificial elements that last longer, such as faux foliage or dried flowers. Store delicate items properly, and consider repurposing certain decor elements for other seasonal celebrations, like transitioning pumpkins into winter displays.
Introduce subtle winter elements like evergreen accents, metallic touches, or versatile décor items that can complement both Thanksgiving and Christmas themes.
Opt for unbreakable décor items, incorporate playful elements like DIY paper crafts or themed table settings, and consider interactive activities like pumpkin decorating.
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