How did this happen? How did we get here? Thanksgiving is next week in the US (!!!) and it all came so fast, it feels like we skipped right over Halloween—and my yearly Halloweentown marathon—and now I’m frantically searching Pinterest for turkey brining techniques and recipes. But alas, denial won’t set my table come next Thursday. In fact, being the first time I host in my home, I’m actually VERY excited to pull out my candle holders, table runner, napkins. I don’t have “fancy” plates stashed away in some china cabinet, just my everyday white and light gray set from Crate & Barrel, but I started digging through our EHD archive of “set” tables for inspiration and thought “wait, maybe other people need this, too.” So here we are with today’s post.
Some of the shots are seasonally approproiate, others (as you’ll see) are far more spring-y, but regardless, plenty of table eye candy to get the styling juices flowing. I likely won’t do anything too elaborate, but just seeing how Emily and (style) team have placed napkins and centerpieces over the years is enlightening and so helpful. Let’s take a look.
Table Formula: Tablecloth + Placemat + Napkin + Silverware + Dinner Plate + Salad Plate + Glass
This table is in the home of Orlando’s parents (affectionately known around here as Casa Soria). Here, Orlando went with a pretty casual set up which is nice if you’re having a lunch-time Thanksgiving meal or don’t want to get too fussy. The tablecloth makes it feel a bit more special, I think, but it could easily also have been lovely without it. For a meal where real people are sitting down, you probably don’t want to go with really tall florals or greenery like he did here for the photoshoot, but I like the idea of two vases off to one side, leaving the center open for the main attraction: the food. (Also, quick side note: I see that Orlando paired the knife with the forks, which, technically is not proper table setting etiquette, but we’re living in a time where we make our own rules, so…::shrug::.)
Table Formula: Table Runner + Charger + Plate (salad, dessert, dinner…) + Napkin Under Plate + Silverware + Beverage Glass + Wine/Champagne Glass
In writing, it looks like a lot, but visually, it actually feels pretty pared down, which is nice being that the center of the table is more decorative. The “folded, draping napkin under the plate” is an EHD signature, and you’ll see it a lot in the tables to come. I’m pretty fond of the extra wider runner in this one, which leaves more room for the pretty stuff if you’re into the flash and flare of tablescaping. Also, I’m pretty sure that’s a charger and not a dinner plate, but I COULD be wrong and my eyeballs are just messing up the scale because that’s a dessert plate (hence smaller than a salad plate).
Table Formula: Tablerunner + Dinner Plate + Soup Plate (or salad/dessert plate) + Napkin Under Plate + Silverware + Beverage Glass + Champagne Coupe + Wine Glass
This table is very similar to the set up of the table above just with more glassware (champagne coup, wine glass, drinking glass)…and a soup plate. As for the napkin, this one goes a little over the top edge of the dinner plate, so for any sticklers out there who will try to exactly recreate one of these tables, just note that as long as it hangs over the table 4-6 inches, you’re solid.
Table Formula: Plate Mat + Dinner Plate + Salad Plate + Soup Bowl + Napkin Under Plate + Silverware + Glass
Here’s a plate triple threat situation, which is great if you plan on having a 4-course meal (dessert plates not included). Note that the napkin is always on top of the bottom plate (i.e. not under the bowl in this instance), which is a good rule to follow if you’re going the hanging napkin route.
Table Formula: Tablecloth + Table Runner + Stacked Salad & Dinner Plate + Folded Napkin + Silverware + Drinking Glass + Wine Goblet
There’s something about this table that I LOVE and I might just have to copy it. From the staggered small vases and varied height candlesticks to the explosion of linen (and the little dessert spoon up top) it’s fancy but still relaxed somehow. While I really do like the hanging napkin look, I think there’s a lot of linen happening here, so folding it neatly works better than having it draped from the plate (which would just layer against the tablecloth and feel a little heavy-handed).
Table Formula: Tablerunner + Dinner Plate + Salad Plate + Napkin Under Plate + Silverware + Decorative Place Card
I know this set up is very similar to at least two previous, but I wanted to include it as inspiration for place cards. I’m sorry, but HOW CUTE is this little wood nametag attached to the ornament? It’s probably a touch too early to go the ornament route, but I think the same vibes can come across with say…a small pinecone or a little cranberry wreath or maybe even a pretty little gourd or turkey figurine (brass?!?).
Table Formula: Tablerunner | Stack of Plates | Food/Dessert | Loose Silverware
And finally, I thought an “unset” table would be good to show you because I know not everyone has a formal sit-down dinner (my family NEVER did, it was always a big get together where people just grabbed from a buffet and sat wherever there was an open seat around the house). This photo is more of a dessert table, but there are some lessons to be learned here: Set out plates, napkins, a pile of silverware for people to grab, and set out some food. While I DO love the idea of a proper sweets table, you could easily also set out hot dishes here, or maybe even do something like this for apps pre-meal. A fun table runner and just a few decor pieces makes it feel super festive.
And there you have it! I’d love to hear from you all how you approach Thanksgiving tables (or holiday tables in general). Are you a proper sit-down meal type family, or more like mine was where you end up balancing a plate of stuffing on your knee on the steps by the pool outside? Oh, and if you have any other pretty saved inspo, please share links, too! My eyeballs love a good tablescape.