7 Table Setting Strategies

The holidays can be fraught, your table setting doesn’t have to be.

Thanksgiving is just a few days away. Here at Design NJ, we are all about gratitude, but we do realize that this holiday can be, shall we say, challenging. You may be up to your elbows in turkey while simultaneously strategizing your Black Friday sale schedule, along with performing complex algorithms in your head to ensure that your quarrelsome cousin sits nowhere near your outspoken uncle.

The table setting though, that’s the easy part. It can be festive, fun, formal, friendly—whatever you want it to be. Here are some ways to set the tone you want for your Thanksgiving gathering.


1. Simplify

A rustic centerpiece surrounded by taupe and white china with minimal linens makes for a no-fuss feast.

Photo: Marisa Pellegrini, Design NJ June/July 2015 | Design: Patricia Turchyn | Architect: Anderson Campanella Architects | Builder: Goodhue Bros. Builders

2. Go formal, but unfussy

Plain white placemats topped by gold-and-silver-rimmed plates are accompanied by straightforward yet stunning crystal glasses. A row of white candles down the center of the table adds to the sophisticated look.

Photo courtesy of Wedgwood

3. Eat exotically

This Moroccan-themed dinnerware is bright, cheerful and a sure conversation starter.

Tabletop design, Juliska

4. Give a little

Place a small gift at each guest’s plate—it could be candy or an assortment of teas. (And perhaps it will distract cantankerous relatives.)

Tablewear by Jonathan Adler

5. Have a black-tie moment

Black and white puts a posh spin on any occasion.

Photo: John Ferrentino, Design NJ August/September 2015 | Interior Design: Tracey Butler

6. Create drama of the non-familial sort.

Add some pops of bright color to your tablescape.

Photo: Peter Rymwid, Design NJ February/March 2015 | Interior Design: Pam Cooper

7. Have some fun!

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Here bright lanterns and feathers in non-traditional colors enliven the room.

Photo: Peter Rymwid, Design NJ December 2014/January 2015 | Interior Design: Kenneth/Davis Inc. Chinese Lanterns, masks