Libby offers ways to decorate for the holidays using found items from home and easy-to-find treasures from the Farmer's market.
Give your holiday centerpiece a modern look by filling large clear vessels with groups of fruit and petite produce in rich fall colors.
Simple, inexpensive white votive candles add the magic of candlelight to any tablescape.
Don't wait until Christmas to decorate your mantel—dress it for Thanksgiving with a combination of white pumpkins and gourds and a variety of white candles.
Love these ideas? You'll can see more great decorating tips from Libby Langdon on her HGTV show Small Space Big Style and on The Rachael Ray Show.
Easy, Elegant and Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving Décor
Beautiful, budget-saving decorating ideas from interior design expert Libby Langdon.
- by Libby Langdon
With today’s tough economic conditions this Thanksgiving many people will be watching their purse strings more than ever. That doesn’t mean you have to compromise on the décor of your home for the holiday! Here are some simple, inexpensive (and eco-friendly) décor ideas using items you probably already have in your home, backyard or can easily find at a local farm stand. Infusing natural elements with these style tips will help you take your Thanksgiving from ordinary to extraordinary.
Modern Fall Table Décor
Arrange several tall glass cylinders or vases down the center of your dining table. Fill some with pillar candles, then fill the rest with different seasonal produce: one with persimmons, one with kumquats, one with tangerines, one with baby artichokes and one with small pears. Fill the remaining containers with fall leaves, baby pinecones and tall twigs.
“Thankful” Stone Place Cards and Centerpiece
Gather smooth creamy river rocks from a lake, pond or beach or buy a bag of them at your local garden center. Write each guest’s name with a black sharpie pen on a stone and rest them on napkins at each place setting on the table. Fill a large glass bowl with the remaining river stones and a glass of black sharpie pens on a buffet. When guests arrive ask them to write what they are thankful for in one word on a stone. Decorate your dining table with a bamboo or cork table runner and arrange patches of moss on top of the runner. Ask guests to place their “thankful stones” down the center of the table in and around the moss; then complete the table setting by adding little white votive candles in clear glass holders to create a warn glow. This is a fun idea because the stones double as place cards and it’s also a conversation starter.
Gather delicate brown twigs from your yard and attach the twigs to the outside of a cylindrical vase or hurricane using a small amount of hot glue. Attach them so the thickest part of the twig is at the base and the smaller, finer top of the branches point upward to the top of the cylinder. Arrange them sparingly around the entire cylinder, then finish the look by tying twine around them at the base of the cylinder and then add another tie about halfway up.
Bucket of Branches
This is a great way to add beautiful fall color to your dining room or living room: simply cut several tree branches that still have fall foliage on them (about 25”-30” high) and place them in a bucket or glass vase. It adds height and scale to a room as well as adding an elegant, autumn mood.
Acorn Candle Hurricanes
This works with any clear vase, pitcher or hurricane container you have. Place a fat cream-colored pillar candle in the glass container and surround the base of the candle (about 4” up) with acorns. If the squirrels have already gotten all the acorns, this also works with a few brightly colored fall leaves
Slate Cheese/Chalk Board
The fall is the perfect time for a cheese plate and you can easily make your own by using a piece of dark slate from a home improvement store. Set leaves (faux or real) on the slate and set the different cheeses you’re serving on top of the leaves. Use chalk directly on the slate to label the different cheeses, and wipe clean when finished. Set a rubber mat or potholder under the slate to keep from scratching your table surface.
Bobbing Apple Votives
Fill large earthenware bowls or galvanized buckets with water and float a bunch of apples to see how they balance in water (each one will float differently); then mark their topsides with a dot. Place a tea light over the dot and trace around the tea light with a pen. Using a good utility knife or pairing knife, cut into the apple vertically as deep as the tea light is tall. Insert the tea light and float bunches of apples in the bowl or bucket. These are a wonderful way to greet your guests as they enter your house for the holidays!
Bittersweet Berry Votives
Tie a couple of small twigs of bittersweet berries around clear glass votives with twine or narrow rust-colored satin ribbon. This is so fast and easy—yet it’s little touches like this that take your table from ordinary to extraordinary.
Silverware Ribbon Ties
This is a simple, elegant way to dress up your place settings. Group the fork, knife and spoon together and tie them together at the top of the handles with double-faced satin ribbon. In the tie also include an herb sprig (rosemary, thyme or sage), a fall leaf or a cluster of dried lavender. Choose the ribbon in a fall color that will coordinate with your table linens and dishes—such as chocolate brown, olive green, rusty orange or a deep russet red. Set the table with the dinner plates, a simple rectangular folded napkin on top of the plate and rest the ribbon-tied silverware on top of the napkin. You can add an extra touch by handwriting place cards and tucking them into each bunch of herbs.
Seasonal Place Card Holders
Hot glue clusters of acorns together, then rest a place card in between one or two of the acorns at each place setting. Or, collect pinecones from your yard and place a single small card with each guest’s name on it at their place resting on a folded napkin. These are fun, fast solutions that add that extra special something!
Fall Cocktail Napkins
Dress up plain paper cocktail napkins by stamping them using a large leaf stamp and a gold stamp pad.
Get Creative with Candles
Here are several simple ways to spruce up your space with candlelight:
Snip the top 1 ½’’ off a green or purple artichoke, trim the sharp pointed edges of the outer leaves and cut the base stem so the artichoke will sit on the table. Open the leaves at the top with a fork and nestle a votive candle inside, leaving about ¾” of the candle sticking out on top of the artichoke. Place several of these down the center of the table for a centerpiece or incorporate them with another centerpiece. The next day you can cook the artichokes so they don’t go to waste!
Cinnamon Stick Candle
Take a low pillar candle and stick two rows of clear double stick tape around it. Then surround the candle with whole cinnamon sticks placed vertically side-by-side (The tape will keep them in place just long enough for you to secure them with a ribbon). Tie a rust or orange satin ribbon around the candle to secure the cinnamon sticks and nestle in a sprig of fresh rosemary at the knot of the ribbon. This fragrant candle is wonderful for your dining table or on a side table in the living room or entryway. You can also substitute small twigs instead of cinnamon sticks or brightly colored fall leaves.
Ribbon Pillar Candles
A fast way to dress up plain pillar candles is to wrap the candle with a wide (3”) ribbon—look for a solid satin or grosgrain ribbon or a plaid ribbon with rich fall colors. Then atop the wider ribbon, place a narrow ¼” ribbon and tie with a single knot. Finally, nestle in a sprig of wheat or dried grass at the knot.
These take a little more work but are still pretty easy and definitely worth the effort!
White Pumpkin Centerpiece over a Woven Ribbon Cloth Cover
Place a table protector or mat on your dining table and set your tablecloth over it. Buy rolls of ribbon in various widths and in a variety of rich fall colors. Cut several long pieces of ribbon the same width and length of your tablecloth. Lay out the ribbons one at a time across the length and width of your table—spaced apart on the tablecloth about 5”-7”. You will basically be weaving the ribbons over and under each other until you have a large woven ribbon pattern that goes on top of your tablecloth. Secure the ribbons at the edge of the table by pushing straight pins (with the small colored heads), through the ribbon, through the tablecloth and into the table protector or mat. For your centerpiece, set out all white pumpkins and gourds in various sizes, and weave in pepper berry vines. Finish by adding lots of glass white votives in and around all the pumpkins. They will reflect add glowing white candlelight and be a wonderful contrast to the bright woven ribbon runner tablecloth.
Fall Feather Swags and Centerpiece
Group together magnolia leaves, pepper berries and pinecones, they can be wired together or you can simply arrange them together on the table in three places; one large grouping in the center and two smaller “swags” on either end. Once they are arranged on the table insert some brown, and tan feathers—in long and medium lengths—into the groupings. You can also add in sprigs of dried wheat or sea grass. The feathers add texture and visual interest as well as a modern element.