31 Ideas for Natural Thanksgiving Decor From the Garden
With a garden full of produce, foliage, and flowers, your Thanksgiving décor is taken care of this year. Gardening expert Madison Moulton shows you 31 ways you can turn elements of your garden into effortless and environmentally friendly home décor.
Hosting on Thanksgiving is inherently stressful, and you don’t want to compound the stress by fussing about your decorations. Instead, let your garden do most of the work by using what you grow in the garden as natural Thanksgiving décor.
The classics, like pumpkins and pinecones, are always welcome. But there are some more intricate crafts or creative displays that you can play with, depending on what you have in your garden.
The cornerstone of Thanksgiving décor (and any fall décor, really) is gourds. Dotting a few pumpkins around your home or stacking them in empty spaces adds to the fall feel and gives you an excellent way to use your extra produce.
To follow a more muted color scheme like this table setting, warm oranges or reds won’t quite fit. Instead, you can combine monochrome pumpkin species like ‘Casperita’ with orange pumpkins painted in a color of your choice.
Use spray paint for single colors or acrylic paint and a brush to create any pattern you choose.
To truly welcome your guests on Thanksgiving, you can’t neglect your front door décor. But you don’t have to go all out – use your plants to your advantage. A few fall or winter annuals in large pots will create an impact that lasts well beyond Thanksgiving weekend.
To match your other Thanksgiving décor, choose flowers with warm fall tones that will be in full flower in November. Gorgeous potted mums are beautiful on the porch but also make a lovely entry display for guests as they arrive.
If you haven’t grown any pumpkins this year, you can still bring the fall flavor by making your own. Gather a few malleable twigs from the garden and bend them into a pumpkin shape, using strong wiring to hold the branches in place. Don’t forget to add a stalk to complete the look.
To help create the perfect shape, harvest woody herbs like rosemary or lavender, strip the leaves, and allow them to dry in the pumpkin shape.
Sometimes, regular or even sprayed pumpkins aren’t enough for your Thanksgiving décor plans. Pull out the glitter from your crafts drawer and dust some sparkle on pre-painted pumpkins to really stand out.
You can also dip the bottom half in paint and glitter. Or, to keep it simple, paint glitter on the stalk only.
No room for an elaborate Thanksgiving display? Use straw bales to highlight fall decorations in your garden near your front entrance. Straw bales are iconic fall staples, and as a bonus, you can use the straw as natural winter mulch when you’re done.
If you don’t want to break them down, you can also turn whole straw bales into planting beds once Thanksgiving is over.
Pinecones are a holiday décor must-have. With interesting texture and neutral color, pinecones fit seamlessly into any décor plan. Use them in wreaths, in vases and bowls, or dot them around your home near other décor vignettes.
To match a particular color scheme, spray paint your pinecones as you would with pumpkins.
Pinecones pair well with pumpkins in any decorations, especially on Thanksgiving. To turn your tiny pumpkins and pinecones into fall centerpieces fit for your Thanksgiving table, pop them in a glass vase rather than simply leaving them on the table.
You’ll need a large and wide-necked vase, along with a small species of pumpkin like ‘Jack Be Little.’ These tiny pumpkins are cheery autumnal delights and look great in decor.
Dried Leaf Runners
Sticking with table décor, simplify your setting by using leaves from the garden as your table runner. Hang them upside down in a dry and dark room to preserve them for the holidays. This adds a natural feel to the décor and saves you from buying pricey fabric runners at the store.
Choose leaves with fall-inspired colors like orange, red, or purple to add to the Thanksgiving feel. Remember that decorations are just one way to repurpose your fall leaves. They make great mulch to cover tender plants over the winter, too!
Dried Flower Bouquets
The muted tones and vintage look of dried flowers make great decorative features at the center of your Thanksgiving table. Either dry your summer flowers at the end of the season or dry your fall flowers a few weeks before Thanksgiving.
Combine dried flowers like these proteas with some dried foliage for a well-balanced bouquet.
Bring the beauty of fall foliage indoors by trimming a few branches from your trees and placing them in a vase. This is one of the most effortless ways to decorate for Thanksgiving, especially if you have an almost unlimited supply of fall foliage outdoors.
If you don’t want to deal with fallen leaves on your countertops, you can also gather fall foliage and place it in a bowl or vase to display.
You don’t have to be restricted to dried flowers and foliage, even if you want long-lasting décor. Succulents are incredibly resilient and bring a stunning geometric look to Thanksgiving décor. Keep them in full sun until ready to use them to prevent the plant from etiolating and stretching towards nearby light sources.
Choose succulents with warm tones to match classic Thanksgiving colors. Genera like Sedum and Graptosedum have a few bright species that turn a warm orange in fall.
Artsy gardeners can take their décor to the next level with a structural hanging centerpiece above your Thanksgiving table. This not only keeps space on the table clear for your feast but adds a luxurious feel to your dining room using a few things from your garden.
This piece uses structural branches as a base, with leaves and berries to add color. Get creative with the supplies you can bring in from your backyard.
Another way to make use of hanging space is with small hanging vases. You can use glasses of any shape or size, like these bulb vases, as long as you can hang them securely. Keep them out of high-traffic areas where they may be bumped to prevent accidental spills.
Fill your vases with flowers or fall foliage from the garden that matches your other Thanksgiving décor.
Last Seasonal Flowers
For those in warmer areas where summer blooms extend into fall, you can also use your late summer and early fall blooms for an abundant natural display. This arrangement combines warm-toned flowers with dried foliage, complemented by matching candles and glassware.
Get creative with floral combinations and textures to add more visual interest to your Thanksgiving tablescape.
Apple Candle Holders
Turn eye-catching red apples into natural candleholders in just a few minutes with this easy DIY. Using a sharp knife, cut a hole in the top of the apple the size of a tea candle. Drop the candle in and light to create an instant Thanksgiving ambiance.
You can do the same thing with citrus if you have any oranges on hand. Just make sure they can stand on their own and cannot roll or get knocked over to avoid any fire mishaps.
While apple candleholders have a certain flair, they’re not the only use for apples on your Thanksgiving table. A simple fruit bowl or plate piled with classic red apples provides fabulous natural décor that is as useful as it is decorative.
Pair the apple pile with a few holiday herbs and spices for an aromatic and fresh display.
If you have citrus trees like kumquats or sweet clementines in your garden, November is one of the best months for harvesting. For those with more fruits than they know what to do with, dry a few slices in the oven or a dehydrator and hang them along a string to use as a garland.
You can hang these around your dining table, on your stairs, or near your front entrance. Don’t forget to save them to use on your tree once December rolls around.
Another fruit that makes wonderful Thanksgiving décor is the humble pear. Their unique shape and color contribute to an elegant table setting without overwhelming the space. A couple of pairs dotted around the table are all you need for a sophisticated table setting.
If you have any leftover pears, poach a few in some red wine with cinnamon and star anise, topped with cream for a rich and delicious Thanksgiving dessert.
Pomegranates are the subjects of many dramatic still-life paintings, and for good reason. The fruits have such a captivating and intricate look when opened, ideal for displaying around your home.
To make use of your fruits in the kitchen, try using the seeds in a sweet and tart pomegranate sauce rather than the classic cranberry.
Corn has excellent ornamental value, especially when you choose colorful varieties like ‘Glass Gem’ and ‘Strawberry Popcorn.’ Remove or pull back the husks and hang them to dry to make eye-catching décor to dot around your home.
You can also use dried corn cobs as placeholders for your Thanksgiving table with the help of a marker. If you leave some of the dried husk on the end of the ear of corn, write names on the husk to indicate your guests’ seating placement.
Wreaths are a fall décor essential, easy to customize to suit your Thanksgiving decoration needs. This long-lasting wreath uses dried ornamental grasses and grains, along with a few berries and flowers, for a stunning natural look suitable for minimalist interiors.
You can use wire as a base for your wreath or malleable twigs from around the garden, provided that they can withstand the weight of the foliage and flowers you attach.
Some may not appreciate the simplicity of a grass wreath or may want something that really stands out. To take it a step up, consider going with a giant wreath packed with fall pumpkins. Use pumpkins of different sizes and colors to create interest, pairing them with branches or foliage from the garden to complete the look.
Pumpkin wreaths are incredibly heavy, so start with a sturdy base. This project takes some creativity, as you must develop a reliable way to support the pumpkins! Also, be careful when hanging – you don’t want this wreath crashing to the floor and leaving a mess.
Pumpkin Floral Arrangement
Bring back the spirit of Halloween pumpkin carving around Thanksgiving by creating your own vases. Hollow out larger pumpkins and dry them as a natural vase on your table or around your home. You can also spray them to improve color or match your chosen flowers.
To keep the flowers upright and moist without filling a pumpkin with water, place the stems in floral foam in your chosen configuration before placing them wrapped inside the pumpkin vase.
Pumpkin Succulent Pot
Turn your pumpkins into pots following the same system as you would for creating a vase. Since watering is difficult, succulents are ideal for planting in these makeshift containers, ready to move into other pots once Thanksgiving is over.
For party hosts, you can also use these small pumpkin pots as party favors.
Front Door Décor
You may not have a dedicated front entrance, but you can still make a splash by framing your door with fall foliage and flowers. Use wire mesh as a base, using string or floral tape to attach your garden goodies to the structure.
To make your display shine at night, consider incorporating some battery-powered string lights that can hang along the sides of your door, along with some fall leaves.
Leaf garlands are simple to craft but make a big impact once they’re hung up. This is a wonderful way to reuse your fall leaves, hanging near your Thanksgiving displays to bring the outdoors in.
Turn it into a family activity by enlisting help in leaf collection. The prettier the leaves you and your family choose, the prettier the garland will be. To make them last longer, dip the leaves in melted wax and let them dry. Then, use a needle and thread to string them together.
Spruce up deliciously-scented candles with natural candle wraps, bringing aesthetic and aromatic value. Cinnamon sticks are easy to use and last long, emitting a wonderful holiday scent. Just make sure the sticks are all the same height for maximum impact.
If you’re willing to make your wraps the day before or the day of, sage is also a great option – if you keep the leaves away from the flames.
Acorn Table Setting
Adorable acorns have several uses in Thanksgiving décor. Tie the ends to your place settings for a unique look, or sprinkle a few acorns around the table. If you have enough, filling a jar with acorns and placing them on the kitchen table makes quite an impact.
Although the natural colors of acorns pair well with almost any scheme, they look particularly pretty when paired with natural beige and bronze or gold tones.
Thanksgiving décor is usually short-lived, but it doesn’t have to be when you use houseplants as your decorations. Many houseplants have warm tones suited to the season and continue to add aesthetic appeal to your home long after Thanksgiving.
Crotons sport a range of fall colors, or you can look for cultivars of easier-to-grow plants like the Philodendron ‘Prince of Orange.’
Berry branches combine the structural with the soft, creating a well-balanced centerpiece with a pop of Thanksgiving color. Choose your vase carefully to balance larger branches and prevent them from popping out while allowing the contents to shine.
Berry displays look stunning around Christmas time, especially when paired with green foliage to match the classic Christmas color palette.
There is no need to spend a fortune on Thanksgiving décor that only gets packed away once the holiday is over. Instead, use what you have from your garden and get creative.