This post was originally published on DIY Network’s blog Made + Remade in November 2014.
Feeling the pressure this Thanksgiving week? Making a cheery home and table that will ‘wow’ your guests isn’t as hard as you might think. Take a little bit of time, and remember that some of the easiest projects can make a great impact, like cut tree branches reused as coasters, shown below.
Most of these ideas would carry over to any beautiful, rustic table setting you’re assembling any time this holiday season, so remember to pin and bookmark ideas you like.
Seating arrangements are made more personal with place cards. Think outside of the common paper card name tag, and label other seasonally significant items like gourds or colorful leaves using a paint pen. This time of year, as stores transition out of the fall season, you might luck into finding a pack of 12 fake squash like this for just a couple of dollars.
Also, fun cloth napkins are a punchy way to dress up your digs for the big feast. Get creative by sewing your own out of a yard of great fabric or an inexpensive tablecloth, and if you’re in a pinch, remember to check local stores like Marshall’s and Home Goods for packs of 4-6 napkins for <$10.
Bud vases are one of my favorite ways to add impact to a busy table. If you don’t have room for candles or a formal centerpiece in amongst a dozen hot bowls and plates, opt for low bud vases with 1-2 seasonal faux or real blossoms to add color and autumnal cheer.
On a food-centric holiday like Thanksgiving, it doesn’t take long to realize how few trivets you actually have in your kitchen. Get creative, and bundle evenly cut logs on end to create varied tiers to keep the hot dishes off the surface of the table and within easy reach.
Another simple centerpiece idea is to drill holes into a few of those logs to create a little dry vase. Occupy the spaces with faux flowers, twigs, and berries. For other holidays, pine branches are a great seasonal addition to these rustic vases.