Setting Your Harvest Table
The harvest table is normally my favorite to decorate but I admit struggling with it this year. We’ve hosted my parents (and some version of my family) for as long as I can remember and this past year they’ve all moved across the country. Decorating the table without my mom to see it now seemed anti-climactic. And yet, with or without my family present, we’ll celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, feast on the fare, and entertain friends. I still need a dressed table.
So, no mum and da, but… I do have all the odds and ends they left me when they downsized. Tools, furniture, dishes – you name it. The rake looked out of place in here, but the red and white Bavarian dishes I recall from my childhood seemed to blend right into the tablescape. The russet plates are framed by our own simple white and silver china pattern.
Gourds and white pumpkins fill the copper lanterns on the sideboard and a small cake pedestal displays the felt pumpkin variety. The flowers are courtesy of my friend Beth. Though we’ve owned this furniture for some fifteen years, the lamps only joined the party in more recent years. Though the room is certainly bright enough with the overhead chandelier and sconce lighting, these lamps warm the room, in part due to their tan linen-like shades. I solemnly swear by lamp lighting for warmth.
Wait, look.. there’s mom’s vase,.. oh and her french Louis XV cabinet too. I told you – they were desperate to downsize. My parents owned two of these Rococo cabinets, that after months on Craig’s List with no love, I decided to inherit. My husband and I now have grown to love them. The other is hiding in the front hallway.
My teen years saw its share of kilts, monogrammed sweaters and Bermuda bags. It was the time and place – I swear. Plaid, however, has been my faithful friend throughout and I’m ecstatic to now see it being parlayed about on blankets, pillows, and tablecloths. This is an Ikea blanket, which is washable. Wool throws do not make for realistic tablecloths. Just saying, Insta.
Acorn and pinecone garland hung from the chandelier. I have before strung bittersweet through the chandelier and while I love the bright color it provides, it’s a mess. If you’re inclined to use the real stuff, make sure you remove it after you entertain. It cracks as it dries and drops red shell fragments everywhere. Not the gravy flavor you were after.
Mom is all over this harvest table. She gifted me that soup tureen some thousand years ago too. The jute placemats are another Ikea steal. I didn’t want the formality of a charger but did want to offset the plates. The jute provides a natural texture and color that does that nicely.
Do you have these DIY candle holders? I had three sets – one from each of my boys’ grade school classes. They make me happy. Good thing I have six then.
I envy those people who can envision great things with their eyes closed. I am not one of them. I need to see the room, colors, and props before things can take shape. Every table has a disastrous staging area behind it. After assembling various odds and ends, I decided to centerpiece this harvest table with those things harvested in our yard – hydrangeas and pumpkins.
Mood lighting is key in any circumstance. Haven’t we all been there- sipping a cocktail, gathered around someone’s kitchen island, while gazing blindly into the sun? Exposure to the garish light causes you to trip across the room. Not the three cocktails. Set the scene with soft lighting, if not by dimmer than by candlelight. It’s just more soothing; bright lights are for the field.
Funny thing about those Bavarian dishes. My dad brought them back from a trip abroad and my mom never much liked them. When they were packing up, mom tried to toss the fragmented set, but I couldn’t bear the idea. So I took it, only for nostalgia. Paired as only an accent piece or on display in the cabinet, I really rather like it. New love for old stuff.
The amber goblets were another self-doubting purchase a number of years ago from Christmas Tree Shops. The only way I could justify buying an amber set of goblets I’d roll out once a year would be to spend $2-3/ glass. Done. And when they’re not in use on the table they look great on display in the cabinet. You’ll have to trust that.
Though my parents won’t be seated at our harvest table this year, they’ll be present in everything I touch and at the top of my list for those people I’m thankful. I hope your Giving Thanks table is full of people you love this harvest season. If so, I’d say your plate is full.
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