Cheap & Easy Last-Minute Thanksgiving Table Ideas

Turkey Day is right around the corner, but between work, shuttling the kid(s) around, getting a leg up on Christmas shopping, and sitting around eating bon-bons you completely forgot that you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner! Eek! Don’t fret. I’ve rounded up some simple and inexpensive projects that you can work on while your significant other watches Monday Night Football.

Last Minute Thanksgiving Table Ideas

Place cards

Before you start cooking tonight’s dinner, get online and order up printable place cards like these modern chevron ones from Designs by Tenisha. For $5 you get the digital file with the fun chevron print and can write in the names yourself, or spend a little more and the designer will do it for you.


The Kiddie Table

Grab some branches from that pile of yard scraps that still hasn’t been cleaned up and spray paint them (or leave them au naturel). Raid your stash of construction paper and markers, then stick the decorated branches in juice glasses filled with dry beans.



Get thee to HomeGoods and snatch up simple linen napkins. With embroidery thread, add a few simple stitches with this tutorial from Design*Sponge. If you’re an overachiever, sew the napkins from scratch with instructions from the same article.


If the mere thought of hand-stitching causes your carpal tunnel syndrome to act up, wrap a ribbon around each napkin, top it with a single pine cone, and call it a day.


Mood Lighting:

All those mini pumpkins left over from Halloween can be turned into gilded glories with this DIY candle holder tutorial from my gal Ana at Bluebird Kisses. If it’s too cold to spray paint in your neck of the woods, try metallic craft paint instead. I would make several of these and line them up down the middle of the table for a simple but dramatic effect.


Your sideboard or kitchen island can be gussied up with nuts and berries (hee-hee!) and leaves from your yard in glass hurricanes or vases:


I’m not hosting Thanksgiving this year, but man – now I wish I was! Off to call the hostess to see if she could use a hand gussying up her table….

Do you have any favorite super-simple decorating tricks for Turkey Day? Share your links in a comment below!


  1. These are great ideas! I particularly love the napkin idea. Those would also be great Christmas gifts… ;) Happy turkey day!

  2. I love all your suggestions and not just because you featured my tutorial :) I love the nuts and berries idea! so lovely

  3. Really good ideas Laura. I love the idea of adding detail to plain napkins with embroidery thread. I don’t think I’ll have time to do it before Thanksgiving but that’s one to store away for one of those inevitable freezing cold, snowy days that we’ll be getting this winter.

  4. Ohhh…those chevron placecards would go well with the navy/tangerine theme that I revealed today!

  5. I’m not hosting a Thanksgiving this year either, but I almost wish I were now. I’m going to have to bookmark these for the future though, because no doubt I’ll be waiting until the last minute to get everything done!

  6. Thanks for featuring my Chevron Place Cards, I really appreciate it!

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