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decorated fallmantel

Start your Thanksgiving decorating plans early to make the most of the season. Image:

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We love the colors and flavors of Thanksgiving. The highlight of fall is decorating our homes with warm hues while anticipating welcoming guests for Thanksgiving dinner. Whether your holiday will be spent as a couple, with your immediate family or with a large group of friends and relatives, great decorating requires a plan. With so many details to keep track of this season, a guide is helpful. We have your Thanksgiving decorating checklist.

1. Choose Your Theme

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thanksgiving decorating mantel

Use the dramatic colors of late autumn for your Thanksgiving decorating. Image: 

To create your Thanksgiving style, you can decorate elaborately or just add harvest-inspired accents around your home. Before you start buying anything, you’ll want to choose your decor theme so that your decorating is fun and easy.

Here are our favorite Thanksgiving theme inspirations:

  • Harvest – This theme features fruits, gourds and elements of the harvest.
  • Natural – Fabric and ribbons of burlap and linen combine with fall foliage for a natural theme.
  • Rustic – Incorporate antique decor and unfinished wood into your decorating vignettes.
  • Glamorous – If you love metallic or colorful candle holders and elegant dinnerware, this could be your theme.
  • Vineyard-Inspired – Love wine? This theme celebrates the wine harvest with the colors and art of the vineyards.

2. Create a Color Palette

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Thanksgiving decorating

Find your Thanksgiving color palette inspiration in harvest patterns and accessories. Image:

Once you’ve chosen your decorating theme (or have chosen to just do a little bit of decorating), it’s time to choose a color palette. Though it may feel like an unnecessary step, having a simple color palette in place can help you make the right purchases when shopping for decor and accessories.

Choosing color for seasonal decorating is easy because you don’t have to limit yourself to just a few colors. You’ll want to choose three main colors for your decorating plan, then add three accent colors to your palette. There are no must-not-break rules for choosing color for your Thanksgiving decor — just choose the colors that express the vibe you’d like for your home.

3. Gather the Basic Supplies You’ll Need for Thanksgiving Decorating

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Thanksgiving craft ideas

A burlap wreath is a simple Thanksgiving project for your home. Image:

Whether you’re decorating for a big Thanksgiving dinner or for the entire season, your decorating supply list won’t change. Here are the basic supplies for any Thanksgiving decorating project:

  • Burlap
  • Foliage, gourds, pumpkins
  • Candles
  • Serving pieces
  • Tape, wire, glue gun, craft supplies
  • Fabric
  • Ribbon

4. Decorate Your Front Porch for Thanksgiving

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Autumn porch

Create a beautiful welcome with a Thanksgiving wreath and foliage. Image: 

Autumn and front porches are made for each other. You may have already decorated your porch for the fall season or Halloween with lots of orange and gold colors. Whether you’re updating your fall porch decor or starting fresh for Thanksgiving, the right colors will make decorating simple. The colors of Thanksgiving are richer than early fall colors. Plum, russet and ginger all reflect the colors of late autumn beautifully.

5. Welcome Your Thanksgiving Guests with a Decorated Foyer

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Fall foyer decorating

Decorate your foyer with warm fall accessories. Image:

Make a stunning first impression on guests stepping into your home by decorating your foyer or entryway. Your foyer sets the theme for the rest of your home, so don’t be shy about going a little overboard with the Thanksgiving decor. Seasonal foliage and garland can dress up your staircase, door frame or even a mirror — your entire foyer is a palette for the rich colors of the Thanksgiving holiday.

6. Give Your Living Room Thanksgiving Warmth

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autumn living room decorating

A collection of elegant glass pumpkins dress up a simple Thanksgiving coffee table arrangement. Image:

Your living room offers another Thanksgiving decorating palette in your home. Switch out throw pillows to reflect the colors and designs that inspire you for the season. Adding a cozy fall-colored throw on a couch or chair can incorporate your Thanksgiving color palette. If you have a fireplace, your mantel can be the focal point of your living room decorating plan. Foliage, candles and decorative accessories can be displayed on your mantel or, if you don’t have one or just want to mix it up, on a table.

7. Decorating Your Kitchen (Where Everyone Gathers)

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Kitchen Gather Sign

For an easy kitchen Thanksgiving decorating idea, add a charming sign. Image:

With all the care you’ve taken to create a beautiful and welcoming setting for your Thanksgiving guests, they will all end up in your kitchen at some point in the celebration. This is a fact of life when you entertain. On a holiday like Thanksgiving, your kitchen will be a hub of activity – and not necessarily organized. Though you can’t stop your food prep to tidy up, you can still add a few decorative touches in your kitchen. Choose accessories that will not interfere with the flow of your kitchen as you work. Seasonal kitchen towels, mats and wall art provide color and pattern without getting in your way.

8. Your Dining Room can be the Star of Your Thanksgiving Decor

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Thanksgiving Dining Room

Dress up your dining room with a festive chair wrap adorned with fall decor. Image:

Of course, your dining room is the center of your Thanksgiving universe. Buying or bringing out your table linens and serving pieces is the first step to creating a breathtaking Thanksgiving table. When you have a decorating plan and color palette already in mind, it will be easy to see what linens and serving pieces you may need to purchase. Candles and a centerpiece are must-haves for even the most casual tables. The more formal your table design, the taller your candles can be. Votive candles are perfect for a simple table.

9. Don’t Forget to Decorate Your Guest Bathroom

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Autumn Bathroom Accessories

Pretty jars and a soap dispenser are functional and festive for a guest bathroom. Image:

Bring your seasonal decorating into the guest bathroom with just a few simple items. Decorative jars and a soap dispenser are functional and pretty for your guest bath. Seasonal scents like pumpkin and vanilla are perfect for autumn. One or two pretty guest towels in your color palette look festive, but many guests prefer disposable guest towels instead. (There’s nothing worse than a damp guest towel.) Look for paper guest towels in seasonal designs and colors.