Apartment Living BlogFood & Entertaining › Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas


Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and you might already be brainstorming recipes to try, friends and family to invite, and decor to arrange. While you may be swooning over the tablescapes created by your favorite home stores or magazines, you don’t need to break the bank on festive table decor. Whether you’re hosting your whole family or some of your best pals as part of a Friends-Giving celebration, you can pull together a Fall tablescape for mere dollars! Read on to see our easy ideas to try at your celebrations this year!


When trying to decorate on a budget, forget the luxe linens and pricey floral arrangements! Instead, turn to paper products and some “investment” decor (i.e., shelf stable) that you can use year after year to keep budget down but style high!


Right now, home/craft stores are filled with supplies to decorate your entire home – it can be easy to find yourself overwhelmed and over budget! However, a quick walk through the “dollar sections” at most stores can yield stunning results!


A recent trip to my local craft and home stores provided a variety of paper, ribbons, tags, letters and more. Watch as they get layered to create a festive and dazzling tablescape!


Table Coverings

Table linens can add up quickly, especially if you’re outfitting lots of tables. Instead, use a roll of brown packing paper (usually just a few dollars for a roll!) to cover your tables. Keep paper in place by using double-stick tape and creasing the paper over table edges.


Rolls of paper can be used for even more! Use coordinating or contrasting wrapping or scrapbook paper to create place mats. Use a scissors to trim paper down to standard placemat size (usually 12-14” x 16-20”) and secure one at each place with more double-stick tape.


Whether you use the same papers across your entire tablescape or mix it up with a variety of patterns, layers of paper give your table whimsy and dimension!


When shopping, keep your eye out for pre-cut shapes that can be used to decorate all over your home. If you can’t find pre-cut shapes in the sizes or colors you want, make some yourself! Search Google for basic Fall shapes (leaves, pumpkins, turkeys, etc); run pretty scrapbook paper through your printer; and then cut out each shape with a scissors!


These shapes can be used to create banners, drink tags, food labels, and place cards. You can also use them decorate your table surfaces, and thicker ones can be used as coasters at each place setting!


Place Settings

When on a budget, one of the best ways to dress up a table is via the place setting. Whether using disposable items or standard dishes, sticking to neutral-colored tableware will allow you to play up colors and themes in other ways!


Cloth napkins may seem out of budget, but with some simple DIY skills, you can whip up a special place setting for all your guests in no time! Used here: white cotton fabric, plaid wired ribbon, and peel-and-stick letters.


Cloth napkins don’t have to cost a fortune or be a complicated DIY project. Buy some basic white cotton at your local craft store (be sure to check for sales and coupons to make this super affordable) and cut them down to 18” squares (yields 4 napkins/yard). Then use a sewing machine (if you have one) or a pinking shears (scissors with a zig-zag edge) to finish off the edges.


Fold your napkins like a paper fan, then wrap it in the wired ribbon. A gold-foil letter sticker transforms the napkin rings into a charming place card!


Even if you don’t want to invest in fabric for cloth napkins, this same concept can be used to dress up thick, white disposable napkins too!



One sure way to bust through your decor budget is to have live flower centerpieces. Not only does using real flowers cause a bit of party-day stress (since you typically can’t prepare them ahead of time), they also can’t be used for other occasions down the road. Use the abundantly available sales and coupons to stock up on faux pumpkins, apples, corn husks and flowers from your local craft store. Use spray paint, glitter and other embellishments to give plain decor more of a festive flair!

Need more table centerpiece ideas? Here are a bunch that can be done last-minute, and here are 5 unique ideas anyone can do!


You don’t have to be a pro to arrange a darling centerpiece. Simply group lots of items down the center of the table, varying heights and colors when you can. Adding candles and even some fresh clippings from the yard can take a faux arrangement from good to glamorous!


With a quick trip to your local dollar, craft, or home store, you can stock up on a variety of supplies that can transform your table into a fun, festive, and stylish display. Layer papers, shapes, ribbons, and stickers; stick to a coordinated color palette; and add in ambience through metallics and candles. Whether you’re hosting the whole family or the whole apartment building, these strategies will result in a fantastic table display than doesn’t break the bank!




Need even more Thanksgiving or Friends-Giving ideas? Check out these 9 must-haves for the best meal ever!

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About :

Hi, I’m Megan…wife to a U.S. Marine and mom to a high-energy baby boy! We are a military family, moving into our 5th home in 8 years! I started this blog as a way to chronicle the various “homes I have made” over the years, as well as to be a resource for ideas, tips, and tricks for making any temporary space a cute, cozy and comfortable home! I hope you’ll stay a minute, take a look around, introduce yourself, and hopefully…find something you like! Have a great day!

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