Just over ten years ago, my husband and I bought a farmhouse that was built in the 1840s.   The previous owners had renovated it, making it much more liveable, but had added a 1990s flavor. (It had mauve bathrooms, green kitchen counters, and terracotta tile floors!)  A few years ago, we did a complete overhaul and recreated some of its original characteristics: barn beams, quarter-sawn hardwood flooring, painted cabinets, and vintage-inspired lighting.  We wanted a simple, comfortable home so we decluttered.  We kept only what was practical, meaningful or interesting.  Even when we decorate for the holidays, we like to keep our decor simple, especially for Thanksgiving which is our calm before the holiday storm.  Here’s how we set our simple, rustic Thanksgiving table. 


Practical Versus Seasonal Dinnerware 

Every year, I’m tempted by the seasonal dinnerware and table decor that floods the stores.  But after spending a year decluttering our house, I can’t bring myself to buy anything that we’ll only use for one or two days out of the year.  Instead, I use this organically shaped dinnerware.  I bought it from Viva Terra many years ago, but you’ll find a similar style in 9 colors at Crate and Barrel.  If you like the rustic farmhouse look, choose a gray, blue or white color.  


Rustic Dinnerware  

My placemats were a gift, but if I didn’t have them I would choose one of these:

1) leaf-shaped placemats

2)  round rattan placemats 

3) vintage wood chargers

All of them have a rustic Thanksgiving mood, but can be used year-round. 


A Rustic Thanksgiving Without Pumpkin(s) 

When we renovated our house, we changed the color scheme to gray, dark blue, and golden yellow.  Here and there, we added splashes of barn red and deep purple.  With this color scheme, the subtle tones of heirloom pumpkins work better than bright orange ones.  I found this cream and green heirloom pumpkin bowl from Pottery Barn which is currently under $16! It’s a little more interesting to me than the typical pumpkin orange and works with my neutral, rustic Thanksgiving tablescape.  

It wasn’t easy to find a table runner that had a fall look but didn’t feature an orange pumpkin.  I finally found two table runners at Williams Sonoma: a subtle gray turkey jacquard and this acorn harvest table runner in gold. 


Williams Sonoma Acord Jacquard Runner



Our Thanksgiving celebration is more about just being together, especially since we celebrate birthdays, Christmas and New Years with so much fanfare.   We watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on TV. We bake pies, roast turkey and squash, and make mashed potatoes. That’s really it.  So our table doesn’t need much of a centerpiece, just space for good food. When the kids were younger, I used to cluster their artwork in the middle: pinecone turkeys, painted pumpkins, and paper towel pilgrims.  Now we have a simple basket of ornamental corn and candles.  


Fall Tablescape Place Setting & Pumpkin Bowl


If we had a lot of guests, I would add some leaf paper place cards but instead, I placed these purple leaves on each plate to add a little color to my neutral table.  


Happy Thanksgiving! 

I know that for some of you, Thanksgiving is a little more of an event with a larger crowd and more events.  I hope though, that in the excitement and ceremony, that you find some time for peace, togetherness, and gratitude.   On that note, I am grateful that you are reading my blog and hope that helps to simplify your holidays a little. For more rustic ideas, I’ve collected a number of decor and table settings ideas on my Dining & Entertaining and Rustic Home Decor Pinterest boards.  

Happy Thanksgiving!  I’ll see you next week to chat about Black Friday Deals!


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