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Turkey Day Decorating Tips

Local home-design bloggers prep your place for the big meal.

Bird and poppy dishes by Prince Design UK are a sweet twist on traditional turkey and fall foliage decorations. Available at princedesignuk.etsy.com.

>> Get our full Thanksgiving Guide 

The logistics of fitting ten extra guests around an already crammed table can be just as mind-boggling as the prospect of cooking for them. Hoping to transform our dining space for minimal cash, we solicited the advice of Washington-based design bloggers Michele Ginnerty of My Notting Hill and Bossy Color Blog’s Annie Elliott. Read on for their Thanksgiving decorating tricks on the cheap.


Michele: “Thanksgiving often means multiple tables pushed together to accommodate everyone. Instead of a tablecloth, buy painter’s drop cloths, which can be an effective neutral background for autumn colors in flowers and table settings.”

Annie: “If you’re hosting out-of-town guests and want to get more than one meal out of your linen napkins, use different colors or embroidered details to distinguish them. Guests will remember whose was whose, and you’ll have one fewer load of laundry.”


Michele: “For a quick and inexpensive centerpiece, fill a decorative glass bowl with fresh fallen leaves gathered from the yard that morning. Supplement them with one type of flower placed in multiple small jars or vases spread out on the table.”


Annie: “Instead of hauling out the fancy china, it can be really fun to used mismatched plates picked up at flea markets, already inside your cupboards, or from secondhand shops. To avoid having your table looking like a rummage sale, limit the hodgepodge look to one element. For example, mismatch the dinner plates, but be consistent with the flatware and glassware.

“If Grandma’s heirloom dishes are a non-negotiable, bring out a dazzling array of dessert plates after the main course is over. Everyone will be feeling festive, and the different plates and bowls will be a huge hit.”

Michele: “When using dishes from more than one set, find a unifying color that can work with all of them. Use that color for the tablecloth and napkins to create a more cohesive look.”


Michele: “Put out a basket filled with board games and family albums in the room you want guests to gather in after dinner.”

>> Want more Annie and Michele? Check out our Blogger Beat interviews with the Washington design nuts. Click here for My Notting Hill and here for Bossy Color Blog.

Sarah is the Editor-in-Chief of Washingtonian Bride & Groom, and writes about weddings, fashion, and shopping. Her work has also appeared in Refinery29, Bethesda Magazine, and Washington City Paper, among others. She is a Georgetown University graduate, lives in Columbia Heights, and you can find her on Instagram at @washbridegroom and @sarahzlot.