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Formal Thanksgiving Ideas

Last year we threw together a couple of Thanksgiving tablescapes on a budget. At the time, we thought it would be a HUGE challenge. There are so many fun things to incorporate in a beautiful tablescape that cost money. Flowers, vases, napkins, napkin rings, plates, chargers, glasses, flatware sets, table cloths, table runners etc. It all adds up and it all adds up really quickly.

This year we decided to try out our challenge again and this time we have come up with two completely NEW Thanksgiving tablescapes that we are LOVE, but these options won’t break the bank. Without much further ado, here is what we came up with.

Tablescape no. 1 – Formal Thanksgiving Tablescapes

Formal Centerpieces on a Budget

Formal Thanksgiving Tablescape on a Budget

Fomal Thanksgiving Tablescape on a Budget

I have to be honest right up front with how we achieved this tablescape under $40. It’s because we had a lot of what we needed already at home. Achieving a formal tablescape any time throughout the year is bound to pricey if you are starting from scratch. Once the initial investment is made (I’m talking about acquiring nice dishes and china) these quality pieces will last you over and over again for years. We kept a detailed account of everything we used, but we also sourced similar items that can help us stay under the $40 budget.

Dishes – My grandmother’s gold and silver rimmed bone china dishes. $20 Budget option similar here.

Flatware – My mom’s silverware set. $14 Budget option – similar here. They may not be real, but the good news is they are pretty and disposable so NO CLEANUP REQUIRED!

Stemware – My mom’s she’s had for 40 years. Completely worth the investment. Budget option – Go to the Dollar Store. Sounds ridiculous, but they have some decent glass stemware for $1 each.

Cloth Napkins – Fabric my mom bought and and embroidered small fruit and buttons on each one. $14 Budget napkins here.

Paper Napkins – We made a quick replacement with these pretty paper napkins to show how elegant paper napkins can look. Here’s where we got our $3 paper napkins.

Formal Thanksgiving Tablescape on a Budget - paper napkins

Table Cloth – $10 From Amazon found here.

Table Runner – $9 From Amazon found here.

Candles – $3 Hobby Lobby found here.

Candle Holders – Old, but $6 similar found here.

Centerpiece decoration – Old, but similar finds: $7 Pumpkin and $3 Mini Gourds.

Tablescape no. 2 – Casual Thanksgiving Tablescapes

Casual Tablescape on a budget

Casual Thanksgiving on a Budget

This grey and white stripe table cloth was a surprising find! We didn’t expect it to pair so well with this colorful fall table runner, which is actually a table cloth we folded up. We had so much of this already on hand, the plates, the chargers, the flatware, the stemware and the flowers so it was a very budget-friendly tablescape for us. Go to our list below to find links on how to recreate this tablescape.

Ceramic Pasta Bowls – Old and originally from Costco. Similar ones $16 found here.

Woven Chargers – Our are old, but these are a great $14 for a set of 6 find here.

Stemware – Again, head to the dollar store. They usually have a bunch in stock.

Flatware – This is our everyday flatware we’ve had for 30 years. Budget-friendly found here.

Cloth Napkins – These are old as well, but $14 Budget napkins here.

Grey Striped Table Cloth – Found this one at Hobby Lobby.

Floral Table Runner/table cloth – It’s technically a table cloth (a couple of years old) we folded, but similar one found here.

Centerpiece Flower arrangement –  Fall mix mum bush and $3 Mini Gourds.


As you can see, if you are starting from scratch your budget may be stretched thinner than what you were anticipating. Hopefully, you already have flatware, glasses, dishes, etc. So that you can use your budget to really get the fun stuff like tablecloths, table runners and centerpieces to really make your Thanksgiving Tablescape on a budget pop. We want to know what you think of these tablescapes and what creative ideas you have come up with. Leave a comment below and tell us all about it! Happy Thanksgiving and have fun decorating for it this year.



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