This is our "everyday" table for November. There's nothing fancy going on there, but I love the colorful table cloth, which I purchased at Kohls. I also purchased the red leaf dish with the pears in it at Kohls. The other pieces I already had. This picture really doesn't do the cloth justice; you should click on it to see the detail better. Thus I present: thirteen simple table setting ideas you can use even before you get to Thanksgiving, not necessarily mine because I tweaked a lot of other ideas:
1. You can create a simple yet elegant place setting by arranging pillar candles of different heights on fresh or artificial leaves. Obviously, do not leave lit candles unattended.
2. Use miniature pumpkins as candle holders by carving out a circle on top the same diameter as 10" or 14" taper candles. Stick the candles in, decorate where the candle and pumpkin meet with raffia, tiny vines, berries, etc. Anytime you use fresh fruit or vegetables or berries, be sure to protect your linens and table from stain.
3. Use a raised cake platter on the table to hold fruit (real, artificial and frosted, etc.) Fill in spaces with leaves or berries or flowers. Wind a vine around the stem and the bottom.
4. At each place setting, you could set out tiny decorative metal lanterns with votives or tea lights inside. Be careful not to let the candle aroma compete with the aroma of food.
5. Visit this site for interesting ways to fold napkins.
6. Runners and placemats: Use patterns if your table centerpiece will be fairly simple, such as a few pumpkins or candles. If you will be featuring a lot of items in your centerpiece (leaves, nuts, pine cones, candles, mini-pumpkins), go solid.
7. Tone-on-tone is always elegant, especially in the white/ivory family. Have you noticed the popularity of white pumpkins this year? You could place a white pumpkin on a clear or white cake stand and set it off with a dark green vine, the only color on a table scape of white or ivory.
8. For a really casual, homespun look, place apples and pears of all colors and varieties in a wicker/grapevine bowl. Plug in leaves, berries, nuts in shells. I love buckeyes for their rich, warm color. Tradition has it that if you carry one in your pocket, it will relieve headaches and arthritis.
9. You know those little iridescent man-made rocks that go in the bases of clear jars and vases? You can use fresh cranberries the same way.
10. Chair shawls: Buy enough fabric to go around the backs of your chairs, keeping in mind you'll need extra length to tie a knot at the back and still have some fabric left over to drop down. When you tie the knot, keep the lengths of the draping fabric the same for a more formal look. Use artificial flowers or leaves in a small arrangement to place over the knot. If there is a stem bundle on your arrangement, tie with raffia or coordinating fabric around the stems and sashes, holding them together. You can also thread a flower on wire, pull it through your arrangement and knot, securing it on the other side. It's sort of like a button.
11. For a casually elegant table, you can purchase paint pens and write your guest's name on the goblet. For Christmas, I like to do snowflakes on glasses.
12. Cinnamon sticks-Tie onto the front of a folded napkin or place upright around several candles huddled together. Tie with a ribbon to hold it all together.
13. OK, this one is specifically for the Thanksgiving meal. At this site, you can read about a unique place setting detail involving wrapping 5 unpopped kernels of corn in a 4 x 4 piece of chiffon tied at the top. You would attach a card of explanation, the Legend of the 5 Kernels. The legend basically points out 5 things the Pilgrims were thankful for. You could use their ideas or create your own.
Better yet, you could ask each guest to hold up each of his kernels and tell something he's thankful for with each one. You know, you could vary this theme throughout the year, placing, for instance, five candy hearts in red chiffon and asking the family member to share with everyone five things they love about a person or the whole family or the pet, etc.