Thanksgiving Decorating Using Fall Finds

acorn branch in container with oranges
Celebrate Thanksgiving's bounty with these colorful decorating touches borrowed from Mother Nature.

Simple Acorn Votive

These fall-inspired votive candle displays can be put together in minutes. Place a small candle in the center of a plastic cup. Gather some acorns and layer them in the cup around the candle. Make as many as desired for a shining fall centerpiece.

Tabletop 'Mumkins'

Mum's the word when dressing up a pumpkin. To make these bright orbs, cut a lid and remove the seeds and pulp. Using a drill or nail, make holes just wide enough for the flower stems to poke through and insert the flowers.

Apothecary Arrangements

Display harvest flowers and other fall finds inside clear apothecary jars, appropriate for the whole autumn season -- September through Thanksgiving.

Captivating Cattails

Anchor cattails with nuts in tall brown vases for vertical interest and rich, earthy tones.

Repurposed Rakes

These rake heads easily double as shelves for fall gourds, providing fun decorating space while reusing old materials. Plus, versatile gourds can remain on display from Halloween to Thanksgiving.

Rustic Setting

For this textured container, individual pinecone petals were layered onto a basic round tin. Filled with gourds, it becomes a bountiful Thanksgiving centerpiece. Swap the gourds for ornaments and sprigs of greenery for Christmas.

Painted Pumpkins

This year, instead of carving pumpkins, paint them with colorful, harvest-inspired designs that will last all season.

Water Feature

Bright gold and crimson leaves shimmer beneath a tide of water in this easy-to-make centerpiece. Simply fill a shallow bowl with water and add a few freshly fallen leaves. Complete the look with floating candles.

Editor's Tip: Replace water and/or leaves as needed to keep the centerpiece looking fresh.

Natural Table Touches

Autumn touches of bittersweet, leaves, and gourds grace this pretty Thanksgiving table. Start by arranging fall-color pillar candles on a wooden plank in the center of the table, then encircle them with gourds, berries, and vines. Let Mother Nature carry through to the place settings of golden yellow dishes by wrapping linen napkins in ribbon and dried leaves.

Name That Seed

Surround plain name tags with tidbits from nature, such as nut-decorated candies (for dessert), acorns, or leaves.

Seasonal Addition

Adding touches of fall to an existing display makes decorating for Thanksgiving a snap. Fill favorite bowls and urns with leaves, berries, and small gourds. Once the holiday is over, simply toss the faded natural elements -- no packing or storing of seasonal items required.

Nature's Neutrals

While nature has plenty of color to offer during the fall season, its classic neutrals also serve well for Thanksgiving decorating. Cattails, wheat, and ornamental grasses combine to create a tactile accent.

Pining Away

Thanksgiving marks the passing of fall into winter. Add pinecones to your decorating repertoire for an element that spans both seasons. For this arrangement, fill a large glass vase with pinecones and clear glass ball ornaments. Stand sturdy branches in the vase. Hot-glue loops of clear fishing line to the tops of pinecones and hang them from the branches.

Editor's Tip: For Thanksgiving, insert fall leaves into the glass ornaments. Once December arrives, replace the leaves with evergreen sprigs and add snowflake ornaments to the branches.

Eclectic by Nature

The natural look often is best left untamed and offbeat. This bouquet mixes faux greenery, ornamental grasses, and pheasant feathers with birdseed as filler.

Editor's Tip: Rather than filling the entire vase with birdseed, arrange the tall elements in a smaller vase and set inside a larger vase. Then fill the space between the two vases with birdseed.

Keep It Simple

Flowers and berries in fall hues are stunning in simple glass jars filled with water. For an easy Thanksgiving centerpiece, line up an assortment of vases along the center of the dining table.

All About Nature

Rustic baskets built from natural finds look beautiful on a living room table. Filling them with fall's bounty helps extend the warmth of Thanksgiving to your decor.

Harvest Vignette

Pay homage to autumn by creating a tabletop vignette for guests to admire. Simply arrange branches with colorful leaves in textured containers to create a relaxed, homey atmosphere.

Simplicity Reigns

Dress up a side table for Thanksgiving with a simple arrangement of tall pheasant feathers in a ceramic urn. Surround with small gourds, pinecones, and loose feathers.

Proper Place

Such a lush arrangement of fall leaves would be overwhelming on a dining table. But oversize branches make a bold Thanksgiving decorating statement. Fill a tall bucket with large fallen branches. Place the arrangement on a table near the front door to set the harvest mood as soon as guests arrive. Simple containers of small gourds and mini pumpkins add additional color without distracting from the main event.

Wreath Alternative

Tie a few branches together with a bright satin bow and hang on your front door for a new take on wreaths. Lay sticks flat and arrange in a fan shape, crisscrossing the ends. Tie them together with wire, winding it around the branches as needed to keep them stable. Tie a ribbon over the wire, or simply attach a bow with wire or hot glue. Change the ribbon color to transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Copper Shimmer

Copper pipe fittings can add subtle shimmer to a Thanksgiving table. Gather ornamental grasses in a bunch and cut the ends flush. Slip a copper fitting around the bouquet to create a Thanksgiving centerpiece. Arrange sprigs of grass in smaller pipe fittings and add a name tag to make place cards.

Editor's Tip: If your bouquet will not stand, slip another copper fitting over the cut end of the arrangement to add weight and stability.

Personalized Touch

A pear-and-berries cluster secured with satin ribbon makes an enchanting chair-back place card for the Thanksgiving feast.

Grow Your Designs

A bit of yellowing grapevine playfully tucked into a green vase gives the all-white dining room a sense of outdoor connection.

Lily Vase

White pumpkins make striking vases for fall flowers. Here, orange lilies and preserved fall leaves fill the front container, with cattails and berries behind in a second vase.

Magnolia & Pinecones

Wide bowls (or even trays or platters) can make creating a Thanksgiving centerpiece an easy task. Line the bottom with greenery, then fill with larger items, such as pinecones or ornaments. Finally, garnish with a different texture. We used magnolia leaves, golden pinecones, matte gold ornaments, and a sprinkling of red berries.

Pretty Plates

Rustic name tags are beautiful when paired with bright berries. Write each guest's name on a rectangle of handmade paper (available with scrapbooking supplies), punch a hole in the top, and tie to a berry sprig or greenery branch using raffia.

Nesting Instincts

Bird's nests bought from the crafts store make lovely decorative containers for a collection of green acorns, tiny pinecones, or other interesting seed pods. Place the nests on decorative plates and group them together on an entry table to bring the feel of fall trees indoors.

Naturally Yours

Scout the backyard for some shapely branches with character to create a charming tabletop arrangement. Fill a large glass vase halfway with oranges and water to hold the branches in place.

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