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In this post: Fall is the time for family, friends, and fall entertaining! Here are some of our favorite fall table decor and centerpiece ideas so you too can have a fall to remember.
When it comes to fall and Thanksgiving decorations, I think the dining room table should steal the show. We’ve decorated many fall tables over the last decade or more. My favorite is all of the layering, the neutral color schemes, and the attention to detail. Here are several fall table decor and centerpiece ideas you can use for your home.
Table of Contents
Fall Dining Table Decor Basics
- A fall table centerpiece
- Mood lighting with candles
- Layers and textures
How to Create a No-Fuss, Pretty Fall Table Setting
The first thing you need to know about creating a no-fuss, pretty table setting is that it doesn’t actually have to take a lot of effort.
There are a few secrets I keep up my sleeve for creating pretty table settings and I’m going to share them with you here.
1. Collect Chargers
Chargers are those ‘things’ that you put under your dinner plates. They can be made of wood, concrete, or just about any material. You can find them at Michaels, Pier 1, Amazon, and more.
I like to collect mine over time. One set here, another there. The ones I’ve used here are from Pier 1 and were a gift from Dean for my 40th birthday. (Yes, I ask for house things as gifts all the time. I’m weird like that.)
My other favorites are wood slices.
If you collect chargers over time, you can take advantage of sales. The reason to keep a few sets of chargers is so that even if you have only one set of dinnerware, you can change up the look by switching out the chargers.
2. Collect Napkins
The other thing I like to collect over time is cloth napkins. Again, switching these out can completely change the look of a table setting and they can be found on sale all the time. Some of my favorite napkin sets are actually from Indigo!
Tip: Make your napkins look fancier by layering them. I like to layer a patterned napkin over a plain-colored napkin and pull them through a napkin ring. This eliminates the need to worry about too much ironing or pressing out wrinkles too!
3. Layer Your Dishes
One of my favorite ways to get a pretty table setting looking fancy with minimal effort is to layer the plates and other dishes.
Here I’ve layered my beaded white dishes with my grandmother’s gold-rimmed china and some fun Rae Dunn pottery.
4. Use a Low Centerpiece
If you can, keep a centerpiece on the table all the time. That’s one way to make a table feel fancy, even on weeknights. If you can’t leave one out all the time, make a simple one by weaving a seasonal garland with some faux fruit, or throw a bunch of grocery store flowers in a vase for whatever occasion you’re celebrating.
Just remember to keep it low, so your guests can see each other. There’s nothing worse than sitting down at the table to enjoy a meal together…and not being able to see who the heck is sitting across the table from you!
How to Decorate Your Fall Table Step-by-Step
1. Decide on a Color Scheme
Choose what colors you’ll be using by looking at Pinterest or Instagram for inspiration. Whether you want to use traditional fall colors or more muted tones, knowing what colors you want to use will help you choose everything else.
2. Create Your Centerpiece
The centerpiece comes first in setting the table because building the rest of your beautiful table setting is easiest when that’s in place.
Tip: Use something long and narrow as a fall table centerpiece base. Or a collection of things to create a long and narrow centerpiece.
3. Add Candles
Candles are where it’s at for almost all seasons, but especially in fall. They just add so much character and warmth to the space.
Tip: Use different types and heights for variety and interest.
4. Layer the Place Settings
This is my favorite part.
- Begin with a placemat or charger at each place.
- Then layer dishes – matching or just coordinating.
- Add folded napkins or napkins with napkin rings.
- Place the glassware.
- Finally, add the flatware.
Tip: Layer in several textures In your placemats, chargers, linens, and place settings for interest.
Fall Table Ideas
As I mentioned, I’ve decorated MANY fall tables over the last decade-plus for the blog. I used to share them all individually, but I decided that I’d combine them here in one post for easy reference.
Super Simple, Basic Fall Table with a Few DIYs
Back when we first started this blog, my style wasn’t fully developed. That first fall on the blog, I made a DIY table runner from drop cloth, hand-lettered the words with a Sharpie, and then layered the table settings with the cheapest items I could find: stenciled Ikea placemats, wood-look chargers, white dinnerware, wood bead napkin rings on cheap white cloth napkins, and baby boo pumpkins.
It was pretty basic, but it worked at the time. Plus I wasn’t worried about the kids – who were small back then – ruining anything.
A New Super Simple Fall Dining Table
Lately, I’ve craved simple tablescapes and decor. So this is an updated version of the decade-old table setting above.
I’ve simply lined up a few brass candlesticks down the center of our wood table and then layered a placemat, charter plates, folded napkin, and a simple bowl at each place with our copper colored flatware.
A Creamy Neutral Fall Table
How do you decorate for a fall – when you love the bold and beautiful colors outside, but you don’t really want to bring those same hues inside? The answer is actually fairly simple. You just use muted versions of those same colors and a lot of creamy whites!
So when I was planning this pretty table as a place to share a meal with friends, I chose mainly shades of white and cream, with just a little peachy orange for accents and a hint of green and brown to ground the arrangement. And as I always do, I mixed in masculine rustic elements like the twig wreath and antlers with some ruffled placemats and soft faux florals.
A variety of tall candle sticks and low mercury glass votives also played into creating a softer look to our rustic wood table. While the pastoral scene chargers, carved wood napkin rings, and white cotton napkins lend an air of French farmhouse flair to the table.
There were a couple of small and simple DIY craft projects for this tablescape as well – the chalkboard-look tag place cards and the glitter-topped baby boo pumpkins.
For the chalkboard-look tag place cards:
- buy black tags or paint some kraft paper tags with chalkboard paint
- use either a white permanent marker or a white chalkboard marker to hand-write each guest’s name
- or if your handwriting isn’t awesome, try using stickers or a label maker to create the names
For the glitter-topped baby boo pumpkins:
- purchase real or faux white baby boo pumpkins
- either brush or pour a small amount of glitter and sequin glue into the flatter area around the stem
- sprinkle with glitter of choice (I used a fine rose-gold glitter) and let dry
- tap off excess before placing it on the table
To get this layered fall table look:
- Place a runner down the center of the table (this can be a purchased one or a DIY stripe version like the one shown)
- Add a fall wreath to the center of the table
- Place a large faux pumpkin into the wreath
- Add one more large faux pumpkin on either side of the wreath
- Place an antler between the wreath and a large pumpkin on each side
- Arrange the candle sticks around those elements, working with the tallest closer to the center and adding shorter ones as you move outward toward the ends of the table.
- Then add the mini baby boos and votives to fill in the spaces
- Layer ruffled placemats and chargers at each place before setting the flatware and napkins
Source list for Creamy White French Farmhouse and Industrial Thanksgiving Table
- Table – Restoration Hardware
- Chairs – Wayfair
- Table runner – World Market (while we were visiting the U.S. this summer)
- Wreaths, faux pumpkins, candle sticks, faux flowers, mason jars, frog lids, candles, votives, ruffled place mats, chargers all Michaels
Neutral Farmhouse Fall Table
To set a table of any kind, you want to start with the centerpiece.
In this case, I’ve woven three garlands of fake leaves, gourds, pine cones, and berries together and then interspersed various sprigs of faux berries and other greenery. I added fake antlers, feathers, mini pumpkin candles, and, of course, our set of turned-wood candlesticks. The centerpiece is a little more full in the middle and then it tapers off before it gets to the ends of the table to leave room for place settings.
For each place, I’ve used some scrolling chargers that my husband, Dean, bought me from Pier 1. Then I layered one of our white dinner plates from Birch Lane/Wayfair and a light green salad plate that I found at Homesense at Easter a few years ago. Topping each setting is a simple linen napkin in ivory in a beaded napkin ring.
The fun part of each place setting is actually the gold-toned flatware. Would you believe it’s plastic?! I know. Not overly classy, but perfectly acceptable in photos and for a large family gathering! I found them at Michaels of all places one fall.
Relaxed Natural Candlelit Fall Table
You can totally create an elegant, beautiful table without spending a lot of time or money.
By using staples collected over time, like white candles, and some inexpensive greenery, in this case, seeded eucalyptus from the local florist, you can create a relaxed, natural candlelit fall table that will elevate your first indoor fall gathering, without stressing you out one bit!
How to Create This Fall Table
1. Clean off the table
Wipe it down with a damp cloth thoroughly. Don’t forget the cracks and those oh-so-sneaky crumbs!
2. Lay out a length of Kraft paper
I found mine at Michaels, but you can try Amazon too.
3. Add some texture and varying heights
Scatter two or three large log slices down the Kraft paper. Add a couple of coaster-size log slices here and there too. No need to be fussy or particular here. (My small log slices are actual coasters flipped upside down!)
4. Add lots of candles
Now start adding candles – pillars, hurricanes, tapers, votives, etc. Keep them all white for cohesion. Vary the heights and sizes for interest, as I’ve done.
5. And greenery
Carefully place seeded eucalyptus branches/sprigs around and between the candles. Be cautious so they aren’t too near to any flames when you light the candles. I think I prefer to place all the eucalyptus sort of going in the same direction, which I didn’t do here. So, you choose which you like better, random or inline.
6. Create a base at each spot
Place simple placemats underneath plain white dishes for each of your guests.
7. And the rest of the goodies!
Add some utensils, cheap water goblets (psst, mine are from the dollar store!), and of course food!
Click here to get the Chalkboard-look Conversation Starter Printables.
Fall Table Decor Centerpiece Ideas
The centerpiece is often the star of the show when it comes to fall table decor. Here are some ideas for what to use in your fall centerpieces, fall tablescapes, and fall decor, in general too:
- glass vases
- pumpkins – white pumpkins, orange pumpkins, cinderella pumpkins, faux or real
- fall leaves or other fall foliage
- twigs and branches
- pillar candles
- taper candles
- votive candles
- regular or tiered trays
- dough bowls
Consider Using Faux Pumpkins, Greens, and Florals in Your Fall Table Decor
Don’t get me wrong. If I had ample money and endless time, I think I’d choose to use real flowers, greenery, and fruit for all my tablescapes!
However, there are a few reasons I like to collect and use faux some of the time:
1. They last longer
As much as I love fresh, sometimes it’s a little disappointing to spend all that money, only for the whole tablescape to wilt in a day. Of course, if I’m planning on only a single special meal, that’s fine. But if I want my centerpiece to last a little longer in the season, for my family to enjoy even after I’ve taken photos, that short lifespan isn’t so fun.
2. They aren’t dependent on seasonal timing
If you don’t create your tablescapes for a magazine or blog, this probably doesn’t matter quite as much to you as it does to me. But since I put vignettes and centerpieces together to share on the blog and in magazines and books, I can’t always depend on seasonal items. For example, this week is the first I’ve seen real pumpkins and such at the store. And even then the selection is limited simply due to climate and harvest times. But I needed to create this tablescape and photograph it last week.
3. They’re ready when the seasonal decorating mood strikes
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only creative person who depends on “moods” to get things done. I do accomplish a lot regularly, but when a mood strikes, it sure makes it easier and faster. Faux items are ready and waiting for just that moment!
4. They can save you money over the long run
This sort of speaks to the longevity point too. Real pumpkins, flowers and greenery obviously only last for a week or so (depending on species). But if you collect GOOD replicas while their on sale, you can amass a lovely collection that can be used again and again for less. (Notice I said GOOD replicas. Just because you’re buying faux, doesn’t mean it has to be ugly!)
In case you’re wondering, I do purge my stash frequently. Just last winter, I went through all my seasonal totes and donated or gave away a LOT of my seasonal decor that I just hadn’t used in years. I don’t hoard things or keep things I won’t actually use! For more about decluttering and purging, check out my book, The Clutter Fix.
Over the years, I’ve created a number of fall centerpieces. Here are a few that I still love.
My Almost-Totally Faux Fall Centerpiece
Short on time or money this fall? Here’s how to make a fall centerpiece you can use year after year with faux pumpkins, plants, and candles collected over time.
One of the tricks to creating a lovely fall centerpiece with faux items is to add a few real things too.
For this table, I used a ruffled linen bed scarf (paid link) as a runner. I added the large pumpkins on top first. Then I layered in the medium and smaller pumpkins next and tucked the faux antlers in between. A few sprigs of faux eucalyptus (paid link) and some thrifted brass candles and voila!
The baby boos are the only real thing on the table!
Very Orange Fall Table Decor
This was one of my first projects that were featured in a magazine. It was very orange but is still one of my favorite centerpieces.
It featured the table box that Dean made me (in its original stained finish), layered with burlap, traditional pumpkins, and berry sprays.
And, of course, I paired it with orange-striped straws in mason jars and bright orange napkins.
Naked Cake Farmhouse Centerpiece
Inspired by the lovely tables created by Jennifer at Dear Lillie, for this take on fall table decor, I baked a box cake and used it as the main star of the dining table.
How to make a naked cake: Bake 3 layers of cake. Cool and set aside the nicest-looking layer, this will be the top layer. Cut the top off the other layers so they are flat. Place the bottom layer onto a cardboard cake circle. Ice the top surface of the bottom layer and add the second layer of cake. Ice the top surface of that layer and add the final layer of cake. Spread icing all over the cake in a very thin layer. Remove excess icing with a spatula. Embellish with berries or other fruit and greenery.
The rest of the centerpiece is actually a ruffled bed scarf, seeded eucalyptus, hydrangeas from our garden, and fruit.
Plus of course some pretty beaded plates and a handful of Rae Dunn mugs. I got the mugs a few years ago at Homesense/Winners so please don’t ask me where to get them now!
Fancy Faux Pumpkins as Fall Table Decor
These are probably the easiest craft I’ve ever made. Seriously. Two steps, three if you choose to use glue. That’s all!
What you’ll need:
How to Make Fancy Faux Pumpkins
1. Remove the fake stem from your faux pumpkins. Go ahead, just give them a yank and pull them out. Poor sad, pumpkins. But not for long!
2. Attach the screw that came with your knobs to the knob (or ones that fit if yours didn’t come with screws) and then push the screw down into the plastic or foam pumpkin where you removed the fake stem. You can adhere with hot glue if you feel it’s needed or desired. Now your pumpkins are happy!
Seriously that’s it. You could hardly count it as a craft because it’s just so darn easy! You could mix and match knobs and pumpkins, large and small, fancy and plain to your heart’s desire. Go ahead, get your craft on, my friend. This is one easy project that anyone can do!
Then just add your faux pumpkins to some candles and florals to make a simple fall centerpiece.
Tips for Beautiful Fall Table Decor
- Re-purpose items that you already own to set a seasonal table that is fun & festive
- Invest in classic table-setting pieces
- Choose natural materials and colors
- Decorate with seasonal foliage
- Layer linens for a warming effect
- Consider scented decor for atmosphere
- Keep the table bare for a rustic look
- Color match your florals with your linen
- Amber glassware will add a warm glow
What can I use for a fall table centerpiece?
You can use just about anything. Fall produce, faux pumpkins, florals, bouquets, candles, you name it.
How do I make my fall table decor look good?
My best advice for fall centerpieces is to layer, layer, layer. Layer colors, shades, and textures.
How can I decorate for fall with no money?
You can use free printable art and fresh clippings from your yard. Twigs, branches, and collected leaves all make great fall decor.
More Fall Decorating and DIY Ideas You Will Love
If you weren’t ready before I hope you found enough inspiration from these tables to know what you want to do with your fall table decor now.
And now that we have talked decor let’s talk food! What is your favorite fall or Thanksgiving dish?