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Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

Setting The Table For Thanksgiving

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TheĀ  tabletop is one of the first things I notice when I sit down at a restaurant or dining-room table.

To me, every detail on your tabletop is an opportunity to showcase your personal style, set the mood for the meal, and make guests feel warm and welcome.

Think of it as decorating a space for a few hours.

Here are some of my tips to help you set your Thanksgiving table:

How to Set a Formal Dinner Table

Setting The Table 101

From the plates, silverware, and glassware to table linens and floral arrangements -- every detail matters...

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Here is the proper place setting that you will arrange on your dining room table for a formal dinner like Thanksgiving.

1 Here is the proper place setting that you will arrange on your dining room table for a formal dinner like Thanksgiving.

Purely for decoration, a charger is a plate meant to serve as a placeholder until the main course is served on the dinner plate (which gets switched in for the charger). For a less formal option, put out the dinner plate. Use the bottom of the plate or charger as a guide for lining up the flate-ware.

2 Purely for decoration, a charger is a plate meant to serve as a placeholder until the main course is served on the dinner plate (which gets switched in for the charger). For a less formal option, put out the dinner plate. Use the bottom of the plate or charger as a guide for lining up the flate-ware.

On the left is the bread plate and butter knife. At the top is the saltcellar, which can be set anywhere above the dessert utensils. And on the right is the dessert spoon and fork (the spoon is set above the fork in the opposite direction of the fork).

3 On the left is the bread plate and butter knife. At the top is the saltcellar, which can be set anywhere above the dessert utensils. And on the right is the dessert spoon and fork (the spoon is set above the fork in the opposite direction of the fork).

From left to right: salad fork, fish fork, dinner fork.

4 From left to right: salad fork, fish fork, dinner fork.

From left to right: dinner knife, fish knife, soup spoon.

5 From left to right: dinner knife, fish knife, soup spoon.

Clockwise from the top: Red wine glass, white wine glass, and water glass.

6 Clockwise from the top: Red wine glass, white wine glass, and water glass.

From left to right: White wine, dessert wine, champagne, brandy, red wine, and water glasses.

7 From left to right: White wine, dessert wine, champagne, brandy, red wine, and water glasses.

Here is a detailed look at how your table's dessert plate setting should look like.

8 Here is a detailed look at how your table's dessert plate setting should look like.

Here is the proper setting of what you will see if your guests are still eating.

9 Here is the proper setting of what you will see if your guests are still eating.

And here is the proper setting you will see if your guests have finished their meal.

10 And here is the proper setting you will see if your guests have finished their meal.

The following pieces of china are what you will need for a formal place setting: dinner plate, salad plate, cup, saucer, bread-and-butter place, charger, dessert plate, and soup bowl.

11 The following pieces of china are what you will need for a formal place setting: dinner plate, salad plate, cup, saucer, bread-and-butter place, charger, dessert plate, and soup bowl.

For a formal table setting, you will need the following pieces of silverware: salad fork, dinner fork, dinner knife, soupspoon, teaspoon, butter knife, fish fork, fish knife, and dessert fork.

12 For a formal table setting, you will need the following pieces of silverware: salad fork, dinner fork, dinner knife, soupspoon, teaspoon, butter knife, fish fork, fish knife, and dessert fork.

Creating a mix-and-match table from your collections of china, glassware, and silverware is appropriate on many occasions -- and has the benefit of providing you with a unique table setting for each event.

13 Creating a mix-and-match table from your collections of china, glassware, and silverware is appropriate on many occasions -- and has the benefit of providing you with a unique table setting for each event.

A homemade centerpiece is a great way to bring color and texture to the table...

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Using fruit as your centerpiece and as your placecard holder is a gorgeous and creative idea.

1 Using fruit as your centerpiece and as your placecard holder is a gorgeous and creative idea.

I love how these candles and flowers are wrapped in the same material.

2 I love how these candles and flowers are wrapped in the same material.

I love displaying different arrangements in silver or Julep cups -- I recently had my rose arrangments for a dinner party placed in my favorite Julep cups.

3 I love displaying different arrangements in silver or Julep cups -- I recently had my rose arrangments for a dinner party placed in my favorite Julep cups.

I love the gold turkeys and the long gorgeous candle sticks used on this table top.

4 I love the gold turkeys and the long gorgeous candle sticks used on this table top.

A simple way to create a centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table is using different foods you have gathered around. A large bowl of pears or different nuts is a simple and flavorful arrangment.

5 A simple way to create a centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table is using different foods you have gathered around. A large bowl of pears or different nuts is a simple and flavorful arrangment.

I love this fall basket centerpiece for a Thanksgiving dinner table.

6 I love this fall basket centerpiece for a Thanksgiving dinner table.

I recently used different roses in arrangements for a dinner party I threw at my apartment -- roses can be used for any holiday!

7 I recently used different roses in arrangements for a dinner party I threw at my apartment -- roses can be used for any holiday!

This alluring shade of red makes the autumn season come alive at your table.

8 This alluring shade of red makes the autumn season come alive at your table.

Another beautiful shade of red used in a centerpiece -- this arrangement would look gorgeous on your dining table or on a buffet table.

9 Another beautiful shade of red used in a centerpiece -- this arrangement would look gorgeous on your dining table or on a buffet table.

I love the assortment of flowers and all of the different shades of reds and oranges.

10 I love the assortment of flowers and all of the different shades of reds and oranges.

A shorter centerpiece is the way to go for a dining table -- so all of your guests are able to see and talk over it.

11 A shorter centerpiece is the way to go for a dining table -- so all of your guests are able to see and talk over it.

I love orchids -- creating a smaller centerpiece will fit perfectly on a dinner table.

12 I love orchids -- creating a smaller centerpiece will fit perfectly on a dinner table.

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Comments (1)

  • Lovely post, as usual Kevin. As a child, I was taught not only the correct way to use my utensils but how to place them once I've completed my meal. This was engrained upon me.
    It blows my mind when I see a person having an elegant meal, beautifully dressed and then proceed to hack away at their food.

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