Thanksgiving is all about gratitude, but it’s also about family. It’s rarely celebrated outside of that close circle of people we care about the most, and while it’s a pretty fun event, it can also be a bit stressful. There’s simply so much to prepare, especially if you’re the one who’s hosting the whole thing, but luckily we’re here to help. For those who long to make their home more stylish and festive, here are some great decorating ideas and practical tips that will make this year’s Thanksgiving your best one yet!
Welcoming front porch
The best thing about Thanksgiving is that it’s basically an opportunity to step away from everyday stress and walk into a warm, loving home where people you care about are going to embrace you. Every decoration you place can be used to send a message that whoever goes inside is completely welcome, and you can start from the front porch itself by hanging up a nice, decorative wreath. It’s definitely not just a Christmas thing—wreaths are cheerfully inviting and they’re an easy detail to add, and you don’t even have to buy one. Making your own little project could fill you up with a sense of warmth and make sure you create a perfect piece of decoration. You can use anything from wheat stalks and acorns, to crabapples and dahlias to make into a pretty pattern.
The only thing you need to make your own wreath is some floral wire, craft glue, and decorative pieces to weave into a circle. You can use spray paint and glitter if you want some more glamorous details, and you can also color-match everything to fit the interior design of your home. That way you’ll be giving everyone a sneak peek of what it’s like to step inside your cozy empire.
Festive outdoor lighting
Another important step in making your front porch more welcoming is the lighting. While Christmas is all about bright, flashy little lamps and a lot of color, Thanksgiving lighting should be more subdued. For example, a few lanterns can be more than enough, but you can also utilize fairy lights by putting them into big mason jars and hanging them up on the wall. It will give everything a nicely ethereal vibe.
Another idea is to weave your fairy lights into grapevine or to incorporate them into furniture or even your wreath. Play around and find the solution that suits the overall design of your porch.
Here’s yet another idea to make outdoor decoration really shine—flower buckets. People are usually thrilled to see some flowers during the cold months, and your family will enjoy the simple charm of rustic-looking buckets filled with delicate petals. Chrysanthemums, pansies, violas, croton shrubs, and fountain grass are all a good choice, and you can use some leftover Halloween pumpkins to spread around as well. Place either two big buckets by each side of the door, or place several smaller ones along the porch to brighten up the whole place. If you like, you can paint those simple metal buckets with chrome or brass paint to make it all even more vintage and homey.
Welcome home gifts
And now we’re moving on to the things you can prepare inside the home itself. Little welcome-home gifts are a beautiful idea for families who live far apart and don’t get to see each other as much as they’d like, and you really don’t have to give away anything expensive. Grab several small gift bags for each family member, and put them in a big basket near the door so you could hand them out as soon as each guest arrives. As for what goes inside them, you can take your pick: chapsticks, small chocolates, scented soaps, herbal tea mixes, small coffee tins, hand creams, salty treats, cookies, or even small turkey toys for kids.
Do make sure that the gift bag really is small and simple—luxury is not the point here. It’s merely a way to show people that you’ve missed them. Besides, this kind of basket full of goodies can serve as a nice piece of decoration.
The living room is where you’ll be leading all your guests after they come inside, so you’ll probably want to make the room look as cozy as possible. For a real family vibe, it’s a good idea to focus on your mantelpiece. While the fireplace itself can lend the feeling of warmth to the room, what’ll make the whole experience even better are the decorations you can put on top. Place a few of your favorite family photographs for everyone to admire, and feel free to add some framed inspirational quotes into the mix. Words to inspire gratitude and the importance of family relationships can be a nice little touch that will make people smile.
Decorate with fall colors
Once you’ve got your photographs, you can move onto the next step of decorating the living room. Pick one color story to stick through the whole room (or the whole house), and then find elements to match. Earthy brown, sienna, burnt orange, wheat, gold, and russet are great fall colors, and it’s a pretty good idea to pick a warmer color scheme because it will contrast the cold weather outside and make everyone feel much nicer.
Of course, you can simply add store-bought ornaments in these colors, but we recommend a slightly more natural approach to make everything look nice and homey. Make your own flower arrangements with sunflowers, wheat, and pinecones that you can place on the coffee table, and use small pumpkins, gourds, and apples to spread around. These simple elements will bring in a touch of nature indoors, and they’re also likely to wheat everyone’s appetites once they see so much freshness and smell the earthy scent.
Make the dining room pop
The dining room is where you’ll spend a huge part of your Thanksgiving, and it’s important to find the right balance to make the room look inviting, rather than crowded. Bear in mind that the abundance of colorful food will serve as a part of the decoration on its own, so everything else you bring in can be more subtle. Use a similar color scheme to the one you have in living room, and this time you can focus on small table arrangements in form of candle holders and vases.
Alternatively, you can also choose one big centerpiece—the “thankful tree.” Basically all you need are a few thin branches that you can pick up from your back yard or find at the florist shop (curling willow branches are a good choice). Put them in a nice vase, and then start sticking little paper leaves in fall colors all around. Each leaf should have a note about the things you’re thankful for this year, and you can invite family members to join in by sticking their own notes to the branches. This is a very personalized decoration that’s bound to wow everyone who sees it.
Don’t forget the kitchen
After so much cooking, it’s highly unlikely your kitchen will be spic and span, so don’t fret too much about cleaning everything. To decorate, simply bring in fresh fruit and veggies and display them in big bowls, and you can also set a clay jug filled with wheat stalks for some rustic décor. As long as the kitchen is warm and fragrant with the scent of herbs and spices, the family will love spending time in it.
Spruce up your bathroom
Bathrooms are definitely not to be forgotten for Thanksgiving, and you can easily decorate them with small pumpkins, baskets with acorns and cones, and scented candles to make the whole room smell nice. Fresh flowers are also a lovely touch, and decorating a guest bathroom, make sure everything is squeaky clean and that you have fluffy, soft towels spread around everywhere. Leaving a little basket with bath salts, lotions, loofahs, essential oils, and brushes will be a nice touch that can allow your guests to enjoy some at-home spa time.
Cozy bedrooms for all the guests
If you want to make the bedrooms cozier, then lay down some plaid on every bed. It’ll make people imagine snuggling up underneath a warm blanket with a cup of hot cocoa and a good book, and plaid patterns do give off a very familiar, comfy vibe. You can also bring in a few throw pillows and fluffy rugs, and leave sprigs of fresh lavender under the sheets. Make sure to leave a couple of novels by the bedside, and maybe a pair of knit woolen socks in case anyone gets cold during the night.
Entertainment for children
Thanksgiving can often turn a little dull for children if all you do is sit around and eat, so it’s not a bad idea to figure out a few activities that they can enjoy while adults chat among themselves. A craft table could work for this purpose—bring in blank sheets of paper, crayons, glitter glue, stickers, and children’s scissors, and instruct them to try and make Thanksgiving cards for each family member. You can also help them make a “hand turkey” and pin their artwork on the fridge once they’re done.
Bring warm colors into your decorations and make sure that the food you cook is tasty, and you’ll already have a good start on Thanksgiving. Everything else you add is only a bonus.