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These simple Thanksgiving decoration ideas won’t look like last-minute additions

Hosting Thanksgiving is a daunting task. Between planning the menu, finding the perfect pumpkin pie recipe, and cooking the turkey, it’s no wonder that decorating might not be top of mind. But having your guests arrive at a celebration devoid of any sort of festive decorations is certainly not ideal. Don’t worry if you haven’t gotten started — it’s not too late. We’re sharing some simple, last-minute ideas to decorate for Thanksgiving that you can pull together using things you likely already have around your house or yard. 

Even if you’ve just decided to host Thanksgiving, you still have time to decorate your home — it’s easier and more affordable than you think!

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Let nature inspire your Thanksgiving decoration

Mini pumpkin and gourd centerpiece

Few things say “autumn harvest” more succinctly than an array of gourds. Try creating a bountiful centerpiece with gourds and mini pumpkins you can pick up at your local grocery store or nursery. For a more sophisticated approach, try an assortment of all-white mini pumpkins placed on a bed of greenery, fresh-cut from your own backyard. 

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Pinecone place settings

Pinecones are another harbinger of the season, and often in bountiful supply in your own yard, neighborhood, or local park. You can leave them in their natural state, especially if you’re really pressed for time, or you can pick up a can of white, orange, or gold spray paint at your local craft store and give the pinecones a quick and festive coat of color. Add place cards purchased at a card shop or party supply store or create your own with some cardboard and a pair of scissors. Not only will your place cards let your guests know exactly where they should sit for dinner, but they also add a nice decorative touch to your table.

A scattering of leaves

Fall leaves should still be at their peak of color at this time of year, so go around and gather the best and most vibrant ones you can find. Scatter them across your dining table or add a sprinkling of color on accent tables in your living room or family room. 

You can even create a leaf wreath, using nothing more than a styrofoam wreath mold and a gathering of vibrant leaves from around your yard. Or, craft something that you can reuse for countless Thanksgivings to come by picking up some fake leaves at your local craft store. 

Branch bouquets

No time to get to the flower shop? As long as you can find some small branches and a can or two of spray paint in shades of gold or copper, you can create a visual display that’s Thanksgiving perfect, all with very little effort. Go for a rustic look, placing branches inside ceramic pitchers, galvanized steel water cans, or oversized mason jars. Twigs and branches have a stark, natural beauty that can certainly enhance your Thanksgiving decor. 

Bowls of seasonal fruit

Nature is ripe with colorful and delicious ways to enhance your Thanksgiving decor. Choose a large bowl or container and fill it with an array of seasonal fruits like apples (both green and red), pomegranates, and bold and bright orange.

For an added dose of texture, not to mention the wonderful scent, create your own pomanders, making decorative designs on oranges by piercing their rinds with fragrant whole cloves. This is the perfect accent piece that is both beautiful and fragrant. 

Pinecone topiary

Follow this step-by-step guide to make a beautiful rustic centerpiece that’s perfect for a buffet table or entryway using nothing more than a pile of scavenged pinecones, some crumpled newspaper, a terra cotta flower pot, and your trusty glue gun. It’s simple, elegant, and perfect for the season. 

Image used with permission by copyright holder

For entertaining, you can never really have too many candles

Decorating is about more than just visuals; it’s also about scent, and the best way to fill your home with seasonal fragrance is with scented candles. Try placing aromatic votives and tea lights around your kitchen, living room, and dining area, and don’t forget to add a scented jar candle to your guest bathroom. Stick with seasonal fragrances of pumpkin spice, cinnamon, apples, and cranberry. The scents you use should complement, not fight with, the fragrances of your holiday cooking. 

Decorating for Thanksgiving is easier than you think. Just look around your backyard, or take a walk in your neighborhood park, and let nature inspire you to create something simple and elegant to enhance your Thanksgiving holiday. You don’t need to spend a lot — of time or money — to get amazing results.

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Kim Renta
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kim has written for Bloomingdales, Movado, and various e-commerce wine sites. When she's not writing about wine and…
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