Thanksgiving: dining room accessories, decoration

You are having a Thanksgiving reunion for the extended family. You want to set a table that is refined and elegant, but not too fussy. A table that makes loved ones happy and comfortable. “Go for maximum impact with minimum effort, keep shapes and forms simple,” says Susan Spungen, author of “What’s a Hostess to Do? and culinary consultant for films such as “Julie & Julia” and “It is complicated. ”

Photos: Dress up your dining room table

Get expert advice with our Q&A with designer Tricia Huntley
Sculptural and versatile decanters, vases and trays can all serve as centerpieces. (Even better, they’ll last until Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Years.) Then add some natural elements to create an authentic vibe. “When it comes to Thanksgiving, I use all kinds of fruit and squash to decorate, because it was like that before,” explains Camille Saum, an interior designer in Bethesda. Using well-made, durable pieces with natural elements is also a way to honor an American tradition four centuries after the first Thanksgiving.

So set your table, then say thank you.

“My first thing to tell people to give as a gift is the Oval Oak Carafe ($ 38, for wine, ”says Daphne Olive, co-owner of Tabletop DC at Dupont Circle. “It’s so modern and so classic at the same time. There isn’t a house where it wouldn’t go.

To create a short-term centerpiece, “stack beautiful, seasonal produce on plinths,” says Susan Spungen, author of “”What’s a hostess to do?”(Artisan, 2013). Spungen recommends Tower Where Square pedestal trays by Serena & Lily ($ 78- $ 198, “These pedestals make instant centerpieces easy – just stack them with beautiful, seasonal fruits or vegetables.”

For a cocktail that impresses guests, Spungen recommends in his book a champagne cocktail, made by putting a piece of sugar at the bottom of a champagne glass, dipping it with two dashes of Bitters of Angostura, then pour in chilled champagne. For a chic bottle, Spungen likes the Camden Champagne Flute ($ 14,

“Gold can be really fantastic as a charger under a plate or a napkin ring,” says Spungen. “The festive notes add a bit of formality to the holidays.” Try the Paramount Dish Charger (set of four, $ 79.80, under a patterned or rustic-style plate for a neat and trendy look.

“Glass containers are wonderful,” says Olive. “You can put herbs and flowers in it – seashells, stones or leaves. You can put candles there on another day. You can even fill them with Christmas decorations. Crate & Barrel Baird Covered Server ($ 59.95, www.crateand will also keep cakes, fruit and cheese cool for a cocktail or buffet meal.

In Spungen’s book on entertainment, she writes, “If you’re entertaining a crowd or serving drinks outside, stemless glasses are great because they aren’t as delicate as stemmed glasses and you can. put a lot of it in the dishwasher at the end. of the party without fear of breaking them. Try the Color-Drop stemless wine glass ($ 14,; the subtle touch of gold at the bottom is warm enough for a fall meal and festive enough for a glitzy holiday gathering.

“The best way to set a table is to have some really fun pieces to put in the center,” says Olive, who admits that vases are her personal obsession. When not in use for its initial use, the Billy Cotton White Stoneware Pitcher ($ 39, www. can serve as a centerpiece and a vase.

For a fresh take on Thanksgiving, skip the turkey – at least in your dinnerware. Williams-Sonoma Pewter Pheasant Place Card Holder ($ 99.95 for a set of four, could be more authentic: Historians say pilgrims had poultry on that first Thanksgiving in the 1600s, but it’s unclear if turkey was on the menu.

Natural Color China Blue Natural Tablecloth ($ 72- $ 100, www.color brings a subtle autumnal touch to the table with its yellow and wheat color pattern. If you are using uneven card tables or rough plywood for additional dining space, Spungen recommends laying down a layer of foam or table cushions first. “It makes the surface smoother to put your glasses on,” she says.

For a table you prefer to showcase, use placemats or table runners. Sferra’s Dusty Hemstitch table runner is available in 10 soft shades ($ 47, to suit all styles. Spungen likes to take a few runners and place them in rows on the table for a striped look.

Baroque oval serving tray from Sur la Table ($ 39.95 – $ 49.95, can dress more than the turkey. This would make a perfect canvas for Spungen’s favorite centerpieces: seasonal finds from the Farmers’ Market. She turns to unexpected plant heroes such as Romanesco cauliflower and broccoli for texture and a crunchy chartreuse green color.

Olive advises hosts and hostesses with small spaces (and little room for elaborate centerpieces) to find beauty in functionality. Even practical pieces such as an ornate carving set – try the two-piece Japanese bird carving set by Ricci Silversmiths ($ 85, – add to the mood.

Saam likes silver and pewter platters for their versatility, including Juliska’s pewter stoneware turkey platter ($ 248, “It can be used for a party, even at Christmas, and really be a multi-use item,” she says. “I always get extra greens with my trees and just make sure they get washed and use them at Christmas to decorate my platters. “

“It’s nice to have little metallic touches,” Spungen says, though she warns not to overdo it. “Gold cutlery can be really fantastic. Or a charger under a plate or napkin ring. Chilewich napkin rings in various colors ($ 9, deliver both the shine of stainless steel and the texture of vinyl in a basket weave pattern.

Photos: Dress up your dining room table

Get expert advice with our Q&A with designer Tricia Huntley

Roberts is a freelance writer. It can be found at

Dora W. Clawson

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