Let’s be real: Few people spend the entire year dreaming about their Thanksgiving tablescapes the same way they do grandma’s sweet potato pie or their aunt’s famous green beans almondine. The food is the obvious star of the show, which means that decor often takes a back seat. But by adding simple touches that you, say, foraged from the garden or repurposed from Halloween, you can give your tabletop a nature-inspired touch that really turns up the sophistication of your presentation.
“I try to make centerpieces more about nature and the elements, so it doesn’t feel like a fancy entertaining day — it’s more about the family and the food,” says interior designer Andrea Bazilus of Scottsdale’s Red Egg Design Group. Here, her tips on how to repurpose items you already have lying around, so that you can decorate your Thanksgiving table for less than $20 without having to add yet another shopping trip to your holiday to-do list.
Keep scrolling for wallet-friendly Thanksgiving table inspiration.
Look to the produce aisle
You’re likely already hitting up the produce aisle to stock up on sweet potatoes and cranberries, so add a few extra fruits and veggies to your list to use as decor. Bazilus suggests grabbing some still-on-the-vine brussle sprouts and popping them into a vase for a dose of living decor. Another option? Line your table with colorful fruits—like open-facing grapefruits, grapes, and halved pomegranates—that you can turn into a giant morning-after fruit salad when you’ve awoken from your tryptophan-induced nap.
Add an herb or two
Bazilus says that sprigs of rosemary and thyme aren’t only solid ingredients in your favorite Thanksgiving recipes—they can work in the dining room, too. Try laying them flat on the table, dropping long stems into a vase with water, or pick up some pre-planted herbs. All work wonders as non-floral centerpieces for your Thanksgiving feast.
Repurpose your pumpkins
Before you kick your leftover Halloween pumpkins to the curb, Bazilus says to give them the chance to celebrate one last holiday. If they’re looking a little worn, try painting them in complementary shades, like blue, white and gold. To add different colors and textures, she says to add a squash or a gourd to the mix, as well.
There’s something extra special about sitting down at a place setting that’s meant specifically for you, and making name tags for your guests is an inexpensive personal touch. Bazilus says to use a gold or silver pen to add a little glitz, and she suggests tying them around your napkins with twigs and twine for a more rustic look.
The only thing better than cheap decor is free decor and you likely don’t have to go far to find it. Bazilus suggests going au natural with items like leaves, pine cones, and twigs, which will give your table a less formal, more family-friendly feeling. Best yet? They’re likely waiting for you in the back yard.
At long last, your succulent collection will really come in handy. Gather all of the mini cacti you have in your bedrooms, bathrooms, and living spaces, and pile them into a wicker cornucopia from your local craft store to help your turkey day table to come into full focus.