Having a second set of eyes take a fresh look at options for table settings leads to unexpected and delightful new combinations. I corraled Becky one evening to help me identify options for plates, bowls, flatware, napkins, napkin rings, glasses, placemats — and all the rest of the items needed for Thanksgiving place setting ideas. We had great fun and she helped me see new twists on the use of what I had on hand. The message here is EXPERIMENT!
The Thanksgiving place setting pictured above features a dark woven placemat, square gold charger plate, a brown square plate oriented to a diamond shape, orange napkin and orange glass, iridescent brown stone napkin ring, harvest gold soup bowl, multi-colored leaf bread and butter plate, wood-topped flatware, and a rich jewel tone centerpiece. The turkey in the bowl was a whimsical last minute addition.
Same wood-coated flatware, but this table setting features an orange placemat, rattan charger, rich green plate, shallow pumpkin bowl, short amber-colored glass, bronze napkin, turkey napkin ring.
Twig placemat. Burlap posy napkin ring. White dinner plate. Turkey-shaped salad plate. Short amber glass. Deep rust-colored napkin with tiny brass-colored metal beads around the edges.
Dark placemat. White ironstone plate. Adorable individual soup tureen with its own Majolica-like saucer underneath. Orange napkin, deep brown dragonfly napkin ring.
Here, we swapped out the white plate for a deep purple one, put it on a rattan charger, and folded a deep yellow napkin lengthwise to use without a napkin ring. A stemmed purple and clear goblet actually was much closer in color to the dinner plate than the picture might lead you to believe.
For something completely different, we went the sunflower route. Sunflower napkin ring and centerpiece. Dark green plate. Bronze napkin (which went well with the amber-colored glass). Sunflower placemat.
I confess. I did not like this one at all. Yes, I see that turkey has red on its head and its wattle (is that really the word?), but a red napkin and red charger plate just seemed wrong to me for Thanksgiving, depiste the turkey plate and the gold plate in the shape of a leaf. Just couldn’t go there, but you never know what’s going to work and what isn’t without some testing.
I grab leaf-shaped plates, particularly the ceramic, rather than glass, ones, every time I can. Over the years, I have amassed enough to populate a table for 8. As the meal begins, the small one on top will be moved into bread and butter plate position, but it certainly looks lovely stacked on top as guests enter the dining room. This is the same basic table setting as one of the others above with the gold charger and brown square plate. What’s different is the two leaf-shaped plates.
No placemat, no tablecloth. The sequened table runner is given prominence and the simple plating and short glass go along for the ride. The napkin is inserted in such a way that the tail feathers of the turkey can be seen at the top.
The difference here is the napkin ring. Yes, this one would be acceptable, but the dragonfly napkin ring used in the earlier picture looks much better.
This one pairs the turkey plate with an interesting white square dinner plate, the twig placemat, the amber glass. Ask yourself, with the burlap flower napkin ring and the other elements you see here, what color napkin would YOU choose? Brown would keep it all neutral, as would bronze. Deep harvest yellow or orange/rust would work, but they would command too much attention. White would be beyond boring. Cream would clash with the plate color. I would choose a dark green to add a subtle pop of color, trying to hit the shade of green in the tail feathers, if possible.
If your placemat is small, as mine was, having a silverware holder to neatly bundle up the flatware in a decorative fashion is a nice touch.