Decorating experts Bugsy Drake and Kim Seybert reveal how to set the perfect Thanksgiving table

Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away. 

And while the American holiday won’t be like it was in years past, that doesn’t mean you can’t uphold tradition with a beautifully set table.

From choosing a color palette to designing the perfect centerpiece, home decor designer Kim Seybert and Below Deck’s ‘Queen of Theme’ Bugsy Drake reveal how to create the perfect tablescape. 

Give thanks: From choosing a color palette to designing the perfect centerpiece, home decor designer Kim Seybert and Below Deck's 'Queen of Theme' Bugsy Drake reveal how to create the perfect tablescape

Give thanks: From choosing a color palette to designing the perfect centerpiece, home decor designer Kim Seybert and Below Deck’s ‘Queen of Theme’ Bugsy Drake reveal how to create the perfect tablescape

Create a color palette 

There are no rules for the Thanksgiving table according to Bugsy. 

‘Think outside the box,’ says the self-proclaimed Queen of Theme. ‘What colors or items inspire you when you think about the people or things you are grateful for?

‘Not only is it a great talking point for guests but it also sparks feelings of gratefulness and love. Your table should really have a lot of meaning and ultimately tell some sort of story,’ she advises. 

Kim Seybert will be creating her table around her brand’s festive Gobble Turkey Napkin rings. 

‘The color scheme will be autumnal gold, rust and browns,’ said the home decor designer. 

‘To incorporate these colors I’ll be using our beautiful Dip Dyed Napkins in Cranberry & Orange or Brown and Gold.’

Main detail: Kim Seybert will be creating her table around her brand's festive Gobble Turkey Napkin rings

Main detail: Kim Seybert will be creating her table around her brand’s festive Gobble Turkey Napkin rings

Pebble placemat by Kim Seybert

Kim Seybert

Left: Pebble placemat, set of 4 $140; kimseybert.com. Pictured right: designer Kim Seybert

‘A beautiful tablescape sets the mood and atmosphere around a meal with friends and loved ones, said Bugsy.

‘This is important to keep in mind when you begin to gather items for your table.’

While you can play it safe and go the traditional route of using warm fall colors and tones, ‘you can do something completely against the grain and incorporate pinks, blues, purples or greens,’ she revealed. 

‘Don’t be afraid to mix colors… as long as you have a central color scheme that ties it all together, you can really get creative with it. Incorporate metallics to add that extra bit of sparkle.’

Special: 'A beautiful tablescape sets the mood and atmosphere around a meal with friends and loved ones, said Bugsy

Special: ‘A beautiful tablescape sets the mood and atmosphere around a meal with friends and loved ones, said Bugsy

Think outside the box: 'Don’t be afraid to mix colors… as long as you have a central color scheme that ties it all together, you can really get creative with it'

Think outside the box: ‘Don’t be afraid to mix colors… as long as you have a central color scheme that ties it all together, you can really get creative with it’

Add decorative elegant touches

‘I’m a big believer that cloth napkins are a must for a table. Using them makes the occasion feel festive and special,’ said Kim.

Bugsy recommends learning a fun napkin fold. 

Kim believes placemats act as a foundation and are great at anchoring a design.

‘You could use two or even three different types of placemats within the color scheme of your table and place them at alternate settings,’ suggests Bugsy.  

While so many things are needed on the table, the “Chief Stewardes”  reveals that she doesn’t really believe in an exact “recipe” to setting a table, but breaks down her key “ingredients” into two categories: meal essentials and  experience essentials.

Meal essentials include things like cutlery and condiments, while her experience essentials are a tablecloth, runner and mini pumpkins to name a few. 

Bugsy believes candles are great for evening to add atmosphere, but Kim warns that scented candles should never be used at the table.

'I’m a big believer that cloth napkins are a must for a table. Using them makes the occasion feel festive and special,' said Kim.

‘I’m a big believer that cloth napkins are a must for a table. Using them makes the occasion feel festive and special,’ said Kim.

Dimension: 'Play with the use of different angles or offset different items to leave a clear visual for eye contact around the table,' said Bugsy. Pictured: tablescape by Novella Royale

Dimension: ‘Play with the use of different angles or offset different items to leave a clear visual for eye contact around the table,’ said Bugsy. Pictured: tablescape by Novella Royale

Build a non obstructed view centerpiece

 ‘I always design a centerpiece to add drama to the table. Whether it’s candles, flowers or an accessory to create a theme,’ Kim said.

The Plume Runner is one of the designer’s most spectacular centerpiece offerings this season.

‘It’s inspired by the feathers of a bird and uses a unique combination of beads, sequins and gemstones to create a rich, festive interpretation of fall,’ she explained. 

This Thanksgiving Kim will be using softly colored pumpkins, gourdes, squash, root vegetables, pinecones and decorative candles to create an arrangement down the center of the table. 

Focal point: The Plume Runner (pictured) is one of the designer's most spectacular centerpiece offerings this season

Focal point: The Plume Runner (pictured) is one of the designer’s most spectacular centerpiece offerings this season

‘The centerpiece is a vital visual to creating your Thanksgiving meal story,’ explained Bugsy.

She suggests introducing personal touches like a bunch of Polaroid pictures of your friends, family and pets, or going a more traditional route with pumpkins.

‘Try a real pumpkin or get adventurous and substitute the pumpkin out for a colorful glass or straw pumpkin.’

While items should be below eye level, ‘Height is a massive part of my formula when creating the perfect table,’ she said.

‘I personally love to use different heights, but it must be done correctly and strategically. 

‘Play with the use of different angles or offset different items to leave a clear visual for eye contact around the table. There is nothing worse than having a massive flower arrangement blocking your view of the person sitting opposite you at a meal.’ 

To do this, she suggests using flat objects, round objects, square and angular objects to create the illusion of different heights, and then actually sitting down at the table to make sure there is a clear view from every direction.   

Foundation: When creating a minimal tablescape (without the bells and whistles) a dynamic tablecloth can pull it all together. Pictured: Autumn Medley Table Linen Collection, $18.74; bedbathandbeyond.com

Foundation: When creating a minimal tablescape (without the bells and whistles) a dynamic tablecloth can pull it all together. Pictured: Autumn Medley Table Linen Collection, $18.74; bedbathandbeyond.com

Nude glass from Neiman Marcus

Baccarat from Neiman Marcus

Left: Stem Zero Stemware Ion Shielding White Wine Glass by Nude, $45; neimanmarcus.com. Right: Diamant American Water Glass by Baccarat, $220; neimanmarcus.com

Simple but effective additions 

When creating a minimal tablescape (without the bells and whistles) a dynamic tablecloth can pull it all together. 

‘I love using a beautiful tablecloth to add layers and pattern to the table,’ shared Kim. ‘It should add warmth and richness while enforcing the overall color scheme.’ 

Bugsy suggests playing with light and texture.

‘Whether you add battery operated fairy lights, candles, metals or glass beads. The gleam of the flickering candlelight or the sparkle off of something metallic or reflect off of glass.’

Tots: Kim designs a kid's table when the guest list is over 12 people

Tots: Kim designs a kid’s table when the guest list is over 12 people

Don’t forget about the little guys 

Kim designs a kid’s table when the guest list is over 12 people. 

‘With a larger group, I will set a kids table and add more whimsical elements. In smaller groups, I love having kids at the table and creating a design both the adults and kids will enjoy.’

Bugsy believes it is important to put time and thought into a kids table.  

‘The kids table doesn’t need to be as “elevated” with pieces of sophistication like the adults table, but it deserves the same amount of attention and creativity,’ she said.

‘Engage the kids with lots of colors and fun objects, maybe a fun game incorporated into the table to keep them entertained. 

‘I love setting the kids table because it channels the kid in all of us. Think about fun things you would love you to see on the table if you were a kid again!’ 

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