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3 Ways to Elevate Your Thanksgiving Table Decor on a Budget

Finding exciting ways to elevate your Thanksgiving table decor can be especially difficult on a budget. We can make this Thanksgiving stand out with small visual elements that will elevate the event and make it stand out from the rest while staying on a budget.

We want every holiday to be extra special for our friends and family. Each year I try to decide what details to include to make this one better than the last or to create some memory that makes this one feel a little different than last year. As our family has now grown to five, budget is always on our mind. Prices continue to go through the roof and that can impact your Thanksgiving dinner and especially your table decor.

elegant and relaxed thankgiving tablescape comfy cozy home

I find the key to any successful dinner or event is in the details. Memories are often associated with the details because they are formed through the intricate connections in our brains. When we experience an event or situation, our brains process and store various sensory information, including sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile sensations. These details become intertwined and encoded in our memory. Overall, memories are not just about the main events but also the smaller, nuanced details that make up our experiences. These details give depth and richness to our memories and help us relive and make sense of past moments in our lives.

Florals Can Be Key to Budget-Friendly Design

pampas grass decorating for thanksgiving fall decor

Pampas grass and dried grasses in general are still a thing for fall decor. This is great news because they are easily accessible to you. Chances are you have seen pampas grass at your local park or even alongside the road. Go cut it! You can arrange pampas grass by itself for a dramatic centerpiece or pair it with other natural grasses found locally. Great examples include cattails, reed grass, and bunny tails. All of which can usually be sourced locally and look great on a Thanksgiving table. Bonus: you get in your steps for the day. You can use aerosol hairspray or lacquer to preserve the cattails and pampas grass to keep things clean. Your arrangements don't need to be large and dramatic to make an impact. Consider just a few bud vases with one cattail and two reed grass stems per vase across your table for impact and pop without hurting your budget! Even a small arrangement of sunflowers can make a table more inviting. Don't have vases? Check out these at Dollar Tree for $1.25 each.

Fall table decor on a budget sunflowers

Place Cards Make a Difference at Thanksgiving (and all holidays) and Are a Budget-Friendly Table Decor

Even at a family event, there can be that awkward moment when people head to the table and don't know where to sit. Part of a great event is the conversation and believe it or not, you can control that at your Thanksgiving dinner. Make a place card for each guest and place them on the table before guests arrive. You don't have to spend any money and you don't have to be an artist or Pinterest wiz. If you have kids, this is a great time to get them involved. Take a look at these examples from Meri Cherry. They are perfect for a holiday get-together. They are light, and bright and bring a sentimental element that will be remembered and are easy on your budget.

Creative, kid friendly, table decor place cards for Thanksgiving

For an added touch, put what you are thankful about that person on the inside of the card.

handmade kids thanksgiving place cards

If you want something a little more refined and interesting you can add a black and white photo of each guest to their seat. You can edit any photo to black and white and have it printed in a 4x4 version at your local Walgreens or Walmart. Most of the time, Walgreens has a 50% code on their website for photos. Finish off the look by grabbing some small easels or business card holders to prop up your photo. You can keep it simple with an acrylic easel or dress things up a bit with a wooden or gold place card holder. All in you are under $20. For an added touch, place a piece of the reed grass or grab some baby's breath across the bottom of the photo.

Lighting Changes Everything at Your Table

If there was only one thing on this list I did, it would be candles or lighting. There is nothing more important (other than who is at your table). Candles and warm, ambient lighting can set a cozy and inviting atmosphere for your Thanksgiving gathering. This doesn't have to cost a fortune. Remember those vases from the Dollar Tree? Here is another use for them. Use those as candle holders to create more light and a more dramatic effect on your home and your Thanksgiving table. You can also stop by your local thrift store and pick up mismatched candlesticks. This will create a higher visual appeal to your table. As far as the actual candles, I will ALWAYS prefer the real deal but you can also get (safer) flameless candles from Amazon for around $12-$15 for 24. Tapers are going to be cheaper than the pillars or 2x3 pillar style or 1.5x2.25 that you would want to use for the glass vases. Do not use scented candles on your dinner table, but they are great for setting the mood in your entryway or living room.

Thankgiving table decor with candlesticks

Prepare Ahead of Time

Lastly, don't wait to set your table and decorate your space until the day of. Set your table at least a day before. Then you can come back, look it over, and make edits. It also takes one more thing off your plate for a busy day of host. Make it fun. It isn't supposed to be perfect. It is supposed to be memorable. Enjoy!

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