The Best Thanksgiving Table Decor, According to Style Pros

Autumn ushers a host of seasonal flavors to our tables, and it’s also a chance to reimagine the Thanksgiving tablescape. If you’re entertaining this year and your table is in need of a refresh—or if you just want to make your dining table feel a little more special—we’ve gathered the very best pieces of tabletop decor. These include everything from chic candlesticks and woven placemats to serving spoons and the dishes themselves. Interior designers, stylists, chefs and authors reveal their favorite picks for a festive fall table made easy. 

Sculptural candles

Several of the experts we spoke with suggested unique taper candles as a relatively inexpensive way to refresh the look of your table. Julia Sherman, a Los Angeles-based artist and author of “Arty Parties,” likes thick, twisted designs, and notes that “beeswax candles smell incredible.” Los Angeles-based prop stylist Scott Horne often opts for cone-shaped tapers. We like these stylish spirals from Hay, which come in a pack of six in rich, warm colors perfect for holiday table settings.

Ceramic candle holders

Oh My Home US

Candle Stick Holder

Sherman says she loves a candelabra, “but I tend to serve family style and need all the table real estate I can get.” Her pick: March SF splatterware candle holders. “Splatterware is so classic, and I love that these have a handle,” she adds. For similar candlesticks, look to Etsy, where you can find eye-catching, nice-price ceramics.

Multi-purpose placemats

Seagrass mats look great with any style, from modern to traditional, and add texture to the table, especially with autumnal flowers and grasses,” says New York City-based designer Tricia Foley, the author of “Entertaining By The Sea.” Plus, she notes, “they also can be used for chargers or trivets on the table or buffet.”

Playful place settings

Blue Pheasant

Teigan Floral Abaca Placemats, Set of 4

Interior designer Amanda Reynal, author of “Designing Rooms with Joie de Vivre,” seconds the choice of natural-fiber woven placemats, but opts for a dyed, more decorative option. “These deep green woven placemats create a sophisticated base that can be dressed up or down,” says Reynal, who is based in Des Moines, Iowa. The green color is also conveniently appropriate for Christmas, Easter or even year-round use.

Richly hued linen napkins

Hawkins New York

Stonewashed Linen Napkins, Set of 4

Multiple experts we interviewed called colorful linen napkins a must for the Thanksgiving table. Foley revealed that she keeps “a wardrobe of linen napkins” on deck for entertaining. Brooklyn, N.Y.-based interior stylist and author of “Nomad at Home” Hilary Robertson especially likes the linen napkins from Hawkins New York, which come in 15 colors and are piece-dyed and stonewashed. 

Luxe napkin rings 

Blue Pheasant

Avery Bamboo Napkin Rings, Set of 4

Elevate the linens you already own with gold-toned bamboo napkins rings, which Reynal promises “adorn the table with a warm glow” on both a formal table or in a more relaxed buffet setting.

Chic serving spoons


Fantasia Serving Set, 7 Pieces

When big meals roll around, hosts inevitably come up short on servingware. Sherman suggests picking up a few pieces from Mepra, noting, “These come in the full spectrum of colors, so they work for any color scheme you might be building on.” You can shop this full set, or individual items, like a serving spoon or gravy ladle. 

Vintage-inspired glassware


Vintage Etched Goblets, Set of 8

Several pros sang the praises of colorful glassware, including antique and vintage finds, to enliven a table setting. If you don’t have time to source gorgeous vintage glassware, Reynal suggests these etched goblets that she describes as both “elegant and affordable.” Plus, unlike heirlooms, these are dishwasher safe.

Elevated water glasses

Soho Home

Bennett Water Glass, Set of 4

Horne notes that a special water glass is especially nice for non-drinkers like himself, who often miss out on the fun stemware. He likes the two-tone Bennett Water Glass from SoHo Home for its chic textured stem and in a sepia hue. 

A serving board for just about everything

Lulu and Georgia

Farmtable Plank

Foley says she loves “using wood boards in all sizes for serving, trivets [and] trays.” For the Thanksgiving table, she suggests a long, narrow board for cheeses, a spread of hors d’oeuvres, an array of condiments and sauces, or even dessert. This one from Lulu and Georgia is made from reclaimed wood and comes in two sizes. 

Versatile carafes

West Elm

Glass Decanter with Wood Stopper

“A glass carafe can be used not only for wine, but water on a bar or on the table,” says Foley, who prefers a model with a wooden ball for a stopper, like this one from West Elm, which comes in models designed for wine and whiskey. “I also like to use a few carafes with different juices on the bar, so guests can mix their own with sparkling wine, vodka or just have it on its own.” 

A plan for all that pie

“It’s always a good idea to have a few pie servers for the Thanksgiving desserts,” says Foley, who loves a luxe pewter model from March SF, though Year & Day makes a similar matte black version at a nice price point that’s worth considering.

A festive tablecloth

Heather Taylor Home

SOHO Nutmeg Tablecloth

“Guests know it’s going to be a special evening when a tablecloth comes out: It’s a sign of something festive and celebratory,” says Horne, who likes the preppy vibe of this Heather Taylor Home tablecloth that features an “updated more modern [and] earthy nutmeg color.” The 100% cotton tablecloth comes in two sizes: small (63 by 72 inches) and large (63 by 120 inches), and can be machine-washed and laid flat to dry. 

French country dishes


French Countryside Dinnerware Set, 16 Pieces

New York City-based interior designer Matthew Kowles has a soft spot for Mikasa’s classic French Countryside pattern, which he says mixes well with vintage dishes. He describes the cream-hued plates with scalloped edges as “everyday French elegance.” The set comes with dinner plates, salad plates, cereal bowls and mugs for four, all of which are microwave and dishwasher safe. 

A seriously chic serving dish


Moon Resin Platter

If you’re going to splurge on one thing, consider a serving bowl or platter to anchor the buffet. Roberston loves Dinosaur Designs’ unique resin platters for their “dreamy colors,” and we’re fans of this one’s neutral marbled design with an indentation for dips or oils. Use the statement-making platter for cheese and crackers, hummus and veggies or desserts. 

A place of honor for bread

Williams Sonoma

Light Woven Oval Tray

“Gluten has such a bad rap these days, the least we can do is serve it in style,” says Horne. He describes a woven basket as “a lovely upgrade to a plain old bowl or platter.” This one from Williams Sonoma is neutral enough to blend with other holiday decor, has plenty of room for rolls or loaves and even has side handles for easy carrying to and from the table. 

The advice, recommendations or rankings expressed in this article are those of the Buy Side from WSJ editorial team, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by our commercial partners.