We host a big group of family and friends for Thanksgiving dinner every year. Dan is the chef in our family and, despite the chaos he creates, dirtying every pan we own and dripping all sorts of sauces down the front of the cabinets, the meal is always sensational. I will stay as far away from the bedlam in the kitchen as I can and focus my energy on striking gold on the dining room table. This year’s tablescape will pay tribute to an old friend who has come back in vogue: Gold. Find out how you can do the same.

Strike Gold on Thanksgiving


Gold is back! For years, designers have regaled us with shiny silver, sparkling crystal and every color under the rainbow for holiday decorating. Now, they’ve come full circle and are dazzling us with warm, wonderful gold. I’m crazy about featuring gold this year for Thanksgiving, especially when it’s paired with one of today’s splashiest, happiest colors: marigold.

Expecting a Smaller Group? Focus on the Place Settings

Before you even start thinking about how to do up your Thanksgiving table, do a quick headcount. If you’re having eight or fewer guests, my suggestion is to play up each place setting, making them the head-turning focal point of the table.  The good news is, you don’t have to use a zillion dishes to pull off a dramatic look. Instead of quantity, pick just a few pieces that are really striking.

On the table above, we started with simple white platters, used as chargers. Notice that they’re sitting directly on the tabletop. For the sake of simplicity, we opted against using table linens on this gold-filled table. If you’d like your Thanksgiving table to be a bit softer and more lavish, add a tablecloth or placemats.

Next, we layered up with opulent gold china, which is available right now at Nell Hill’s Online and at our stores. (Click here to find out more!) I love how this pattern reinterprets the traditional color combo of gold and cream, giving it a newer, fresher feel. I’m recommending the set to everyone because I think it has lots of staying power and can be used year round, not just during the holidays.

Finally, we topped the dishes with sorbet cups in amber glass. Don’t they just pop? This little addition is at once formal and fun. Who knew those two concepts could come together on one table?

Did you notice that the silverware on the table doesn’t match? If you’re like most of us, you have an odd assortment of silver, with partial sets handed down from grandmothers and great aunts through the years. By all means, use these little works on art on your table, mixing all the patterns together.

I really, really, really like an assortment of interesting glasses on my table. Aren’t these three dissimilar glasses perfect together? We went for different heights and styles, mixing classic and contemporary, yet kept them similar enough so they felt like they belong together. (Check out these beautiful glasses that area available from Nell Hill’s Online right now — just click here!)

Entertaining a Crowd? Dazzle with a Dramatic Centerpiece


If your party will be larger than eight people, you will need to keep your individual place settings simple, using a minimal number of dishes, because there just won’t be room on the table for more.  Your goal in this instance is to make your centerpiece the star of the show. But still, my advice is to keep it simple.

For our lovely gold, marigold and cream table, we called on the no-fail power of fresh flowers to create a knockout centerpiece. First, we placed an assortment of marigold-colored contemporary ceramic vases down the center of the table. Then, we filled them with white flowers. Fresh flowers are a fail-safe solution for just about every occasion. On this table, they soften the hard shiny surfaces and make the presentation more sumptuous.

If you want a more traditional Thanksgiving feel for your table, try this Nell Hill’s trick: Get an assortment of gourds and pumpkins, then mist or coat them with gold spray paint. Hunt in your yard or a park for fallen acorns or twigs clinging to fall leaves, and mist them too. Place three urns down the center of your Thanksgiving table and top each one with a gold pumpkin. Fill in around the urns with a spattering of gold toned votive cups holding battery operated tea lights. Then, sprinkle in your spray painted fallen twigs and acorns.

Start the Day off Right with a Breakfast Table Treat


If you’re lucky enough to be going to someone else’s home for Thanksgiving dinner, you can still make your table festive at home. Treat yourself to a beautiful Thanksgiving breakfast on a kitchen table decked out for the season.

To give this darling breakfast nook a quick seasonal makeover, we tossed a fall-colored accent pillow into each chair, added fall napkins to the place settings and tucked in a little bouquet of fresh flowers in some favorite fall colors. Done!

Next Week … If you want to create spectacular displays for the holiday season, you’ve got to start with gorgeous greens. I’ll show you how next week.

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19 Responses to “Enjoy Golden Moments at Your Thanksgiving Table”

  1. Maureen Says:

    Great ideas! Do you have a photo of the urns/pumpkins on the dining table? A visual would be great…

  2. Karen Says:

    Thank you for the inspiration…the simplicity is beautiful and just what a day like Thanksgiving could use! Lovin’ it in San DIego!

  3. Paula Says:

    As always, I can’t wait to see your gorgeous booth at the Holiday Mart this weekend! It’s always so fun and inspirational.

  4. Suzy Says:

    Great ideas, just wish more products were on your shopping online website for those of us who no longer live in KC.

    I clicked on the link in the article to find the glassware, but it appears it is not on your website. The china was on the site, but not the same stemware.

  5. Pat Handly Says:

    Have you changed the color of your dining room from the dark blue to a much lighter color? What is the color or that room and the breakfast room green that you show? I always love your blogs and visiting both stores. Keep making the KC area beautiful.

  6. Mari Says:

    Pat, above, took the words right out of my mouth: have you had your dining room repainted? I loved the dark blue, with white below the chair railing, and after months of contemplation have decided to have my pale yellow-and-ivory striped wallpaper removed and painted in your — I guess — former color scheme. I have no dark-painted walls, so this dark, dreamy and moody color inspired me…I was going to have it glazed. Now I’m having second thoughts.

  7. Rose Palchesko Says:

    I just love the gold “gourd-shaped” vases. Do you carry those at Nell Hill’s on-line?

  8. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Suzy—We are adding to our online shopping all the time, however, if you see something on the website, facebook or blog that is not on the online shopping please do not hesitate to call @877-746-4320. We are always happy to ship from the store if we have the item in the stores.

  9. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Pat—No, I have not changed my dining room paint color at home from the Twilight blue—that picture was photographed in the store–it is the ‘Farmhouse White’. The breakfast nook in the blog is our ‘Missouri Bluffs’ paint color located at a friends home.

  10. Mary Carol Says:

    No Mari—No need to have second thoughts–see my above comment to Pat.

  11. Mary Carol Says:

    Rose—Those vases at the moment, are not located on the online shopping, however, feel free to call the store @877-746-4320 to have one shipped.

  12. Jennifer Crawford Says:

    What fun! I love the mix of the flatware and the gold accents. I , too, like the vases. Thank you for all the great photos and for the link for the dinnerware.

  13. kevin munsterman Says:

    Hi Mary Carol!, Great inspiration, simplistic and greedless tone! Brilliant! Love working for you and Ethel! Praise you to all customers, neighbors and Nell Hills family…Keep up the good work! Not sure how you do it and keep your sanity! You have put atchison on map for so many and makes me proud to have been born here! THANK YOU!

  14. Dolores Wright-Holton Says:

    Love hearing from you—and love shopping in your Atchison
    store for many, many years!!! Happy 30th!!
    Dolores Wright –Holton, Ks.

  15. Jeanne Young Says:

    I love your attitude about using different pieces. For the first time we will have a very small family gathering so I am going to keep it simple and elegant, focusing on a few fabulous dishes.

  16. Mary Carol Says:

    Have a great weekend everyone. Hard to believe it is only two weeks until Thanksgiving–it sounds like all your creative juices are going to town. Hope to see you in the stores the next few weeks, and especially in Atchison next weekend Nov. 18th and 19th for my 30th Anniversary Celebration.

  17. Mary Carol Says:

    One correction Pat—the breakfast nook is the ‘Picnic Basket’ paint color.

  18. sandy mc kenzie Says:

    30 years? I think of you often and with great pleasure. It is not surprising that you are an institution in Atchison. Your work ethic and talent have given elegance back to the town and your respect for people is reflected in all you do. We still get comments on the green wicker coffee table we bought in the “early” days and finally had to give up the patterned sisel rug you found for us. And each night we drop into the bed you discovered for us. Thanks for the early memories on that corner, for all your hard work and the thousand ways you have given back to your people.
    sandy mc kenzie

  19. ann Says:

    Your blog is beautiful,Happy to be a follower.

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