Thanksgiving Ideas and Tablescape Decor with Sabrina Soto

By  November 26, 2013

sabrina soto thanksgiving tipsThough the turkey and stuffing tend to take center billing for Thanksgiving, it’s essential to keep in mind that there would be no holiday table without a decorative spread. In preparation for the culinary holiday,Glam chatted with Sabrina Soto, Target’s style home expert, about everything from tablescapes to floral arrangements to simple DIYs for those who are creatively inclined and those who are less so. As we give thanks for family, friends, and good food, Soto’s made it possible to offer up a word of thanks for well designed home decor also.

What are your top entertaining must-haves for Thanksgiving?

With the turkey as the centerpiece of many Thanksgiving tables, you want to have a beautiful platter on which to serve it, such as this platter which comes in a classic gray and a cool teal. I love these platters, because they can be used all year long!

Thanksgiving is also a great time to incorporate autumnal colors like oranges and oxbloods. Think about using some of these colors in your dinnerware sets and serving dishes to really make the food pop in contrast.

Consider rounding out your table with wood items, which add such great heft and beautiful texture to any table, such as this 3-tier serving tray and this serving bowl.

How can we make our Thanksgiving tablescape festive but not over-the-top or tacky?

To make your Thanksgiving tablescape tastefully festive, it’s all about adding little details. Tiny pumpkins or squash can be used as place cards, vases or labels for food, and can make a tablescape look polished, but still fun and festive. You can also do the same with tent cards decorated with sprigs of rosemary, seasonal cuttings or brightly colored autumn leaves.

Also consider serving a buffet-style meal, which keeps a Thanksgiving get together informal and encourages guests to mix and mingle while also preventing clutter at the table.

What are the best flowers to use in an arrangement for the center of the table?

For a floral Thanksgiving centerpiece, flowers in vibrant oranges and yellows are always beautiful and perfect for the season. And don’t feel like you need an expensive bouquet for your centerpiece. Something as simple as ears of Indian corn or acorns from your backyard are inexpensive and look beautiful in styled on a table.

Fill a clear vase with acorns collected from your backyard or decorate a space with white pumpkins (painted or natural). These items can be mixed with beautiful candles and votives to make a Thanksgiving get-together feel special. Just remember not to use anything over 6″ tall. You want people to see each other across the table!

What’s a simple DIY project that’ll really impress our guests?

A popcorn bar is a really simple but fun DIY project that will wow guests. Not to mention, it’s a great way to keep kids entertained with their own special food station. You can even get them involved by having them decorate their own paper-bag turkey and stuffing with popcorn for a festive serving bowlSurround the popcorn bar with an assortment of spices and candies – pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, M&Ms, truffle salt, salted caramel—and let your guests create treats to suit their tastes.

Is it okay to use our everyday dishware on Thanksgiving? What can we do to revamp what we already have in our kitchen cabinets?

Absolutely! Just because it is Thanksgiving doesn’t mean it has to be formal. I go into this a little more on A Bullseye View, but, I’m into casual entertaining, and I think guests appreciate it too. I recommend mixing and matching materials and colors to make the table distinctly your own. A few new serving platters or bowls can transform the look of your table completely.  Consider accessorizing these pieces in odd numbers to break up the symmetry of the table and make a space more visually appealing.

If you don’t have enough plates or glassware for all your guests, that’s fine as well! Create a pattern with what you do have – it doesn’t have to match.

Aside from the tablescape, how can we decorate the surrounding areas of our house to make it feel warm and cozy like the holidays should?

Make sure there is ample seating for your guests, especially if you anticipate having a lot of people over. Adding a pouf and pulling up chairs from the kitchen encourage your guests to relax while reducing the formality of a living room, to make it cozier. Sprinkle chunky knit throws, pillows and other soft textures in autumnal colors, like deep red or teal, around the room by simply adding in a couple of new pieces, you give your room a subtle makeover that softens and warms the space.

Fill your room with candles to make it festive. Place them on top of or next to mirror and other mixed metal pieces to add some sparkle and magic to the room.

I also love having a seasonal drink like hot spiced cider at the ready, not only does it give off a great scent, it’s an added element to get guests in the holiday spirit!

How can we keep things organized if we’re having 20+ people over for dinner?

Hosting a large number of people for a holiday meal can be demanding and exhausting. Trust me, I’ve done it!  I like to set up food stations around the kitchen and living room so guests can help themselves. It allows for more space at the dining room table. Additionally, it eliminates the need to orchestrate a big sit down dinner, so you can spend more time socializing with your guests.

Set up cocktails on a buffet table, place cheese and crackers or other before-dinner snacks on a table in the living room, and let guests help themselves. It’s a good idea to put all your snacks in the living room to keep guests out of the kitchen so that the host can focus on final touches to the food.