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Functional Thanksgiving Table

Ah, Thanksgiving. The time of year when one must choose between setting a pretty table or a table guests can actually use. A lot of people leave the food in the kitchen and have everyone dish up there while others load up the table with mounds of food so no one has to go far for seconds. Both methods work, but I'm here to tell you that this year, you don't have to choose! You can have a beautiful AND functional Thanksgiving table! It's all about keeping it simple and selecting beautiful items that all serve a purpose. Less is more in this case and if you follow my tips, setting a gorgeous, usable table will be a breeze!

For starters, I try to buy serving dishes that are all the same style or color. This helps give my table a more upscale and cohesive look with minimal effort. I personally like to go with a neutral color scheme for my dishes. This way, I know they'll look good with any food, any holiday, and any other decor I might be working with. I've included a couple of the dishes I'll be working with on the day of so you can get an idea of what I'm talking about. Things don't match exactly, but they're all in the same style family and work together easily.

Next, I've kept everything fairly low on the table. While I love a good centerpiece, I wanted to make sure guests have no issue when it comes to spending time together. That's what's really important, right? Now no one will have to lean around a large bouquet of flowers or peek over a pile of pumpkins to be included in the conversation.

My "centerpiece" in this setup is a bowl of apples, but for the actual Thanksgiving meal, it will most likely be the turkey.

With such a simple table, I'm relying heavily on color and texture. I've played up the color component via a super fun table runner that reminds me of Indian corn. I've also added plaid, harvest-colored napkins as well as amber votives to tie everything together. It can be easy to go overboard on color with so many patterns and hues, but keeping my dishes neutral helps to balance everything out.

For texture, my table runner is an almost jute material, my napkins linen, and my dishes all have little flourishes or designs on them. If you look closely you can see that my votives are a crackle glass and my drinking glasses are filled with little bubbles. Even though the idea of the table is simple, I've filled it with eye-catching details to dress it up.

I've tried to decorate my table with completely functional items. For instance, my butter is in a pretty little butter crock that matches my dishes. My salt and pepper shakers are seasonal and I've made sure two sets are on the table to accommodate all the added people. Everyone has a little place card (which I think spruces up any gathering). My votives are definitely more decorative than functional, but we'll make a bit of a stretch and say they provide light. Everything serves a purpose and the table isn't so overloaded with decor that we're struggling to eat around.

For the big day, I plan on setting up an additional, buffet-style table to display the desserts as well as a little more fall decor on. I also intend to add a little decor to my dining room itself so the room as a whole will feel all the warmth and coziness that fall brings even though my table is more minimal. I think it's so important to make your home an inviting space, not just in appearance, but in functionality as well.

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