Creating a Traditional Thanksgiving Table with Kelley Nan

Blogger Kelley Nan Lopez understands that while the Thanksgiving turkey may get all the attention, the table upon which it is set truly the star!  Known for her beautiful takes on “traditional with a twist”, we asked Kelley to create a tablescape that encompassed the reality of how most people decorate – in layers.  Rarely does anyone buy an entirely new dish set for the holidays.  Using the white plate as  her foundation, Kelley layered in pattern, texture a touch of metallic into her traditional tablescape.  In Kelley‘s own words, this is a table that she wanted to feel “bountiful”, “warm”, and “tradition”. To see what products Kelley used, hover the photo for a complete list!

Tips and photos by Kelley Nan Lopez

With classic entertaining staples (such as the PB brass candle holders, gold flatware, and napkins), it is easy to mix and match for the holiday by incorporating a few seasonal additions (such as the pumpkin salad plates. I like to truly customize the look by shopping at my local grocery store. In achieving a “plentiful harvest” centerpiece, nothing is off limits in the produce aisle!


I used the large gold serving bowl (which works beautifully with the brass candle holders) in the center of the table as a planter. I set three small mums inside, filled it with water, and then incorporated a few additional stems and cascading eucalyptus. A few fruits and veggies were also added. Instead of a standard runner down the length of the table, I used a golden and olive scarf.


When we host Thanksgiving, we pre-fill the water glasses before placing them at each setting. Having a special, statement pitcher on hand like the gold pitcher doubles as function and décor.

Another practice in our home is to serve the meal buffet style in the kitchen to allow more room for guests and a beautiful centerpiece. The day before the dinner, we always set out the serving pieces – bowls, platters, serving spoons – to plan ahead which dish will go where. This helps in the day-of preparation madness.

For special holidays, I always use place cards at each setting; this helps with the musical chairs and makes the most special dinner of the year feel like an “event”. The pumpkin place card holders are so easy, and, each guest can take their pumpkin home as a favor at the end of the day.


If you are expecting a lot of guests, it can be easy to go for the plastic cups/disposable plates. However, if everyone has a place to sit, try to resist. You don’t have to use formal china but even starting a collection of basic, white buffet plates will enhance your dinner party display which your guests will appreciate.

In our family, the same few are typically in charge of preparing and hosting the dinner, but my mom taught me that guests like to feel helpful. We don’t ask family members to bring dishes, but we usually try to assign everyone a small role. Uncle Jack always mans the Bloody Mary bar, my brother fills water glasses, my husband carves the turkey, someone asks the blessing, etc. I don’t put my guests to work but giving everyone a “role” has become tradition.

Do you know your Thanksgiving style?  Check out our video to help you set the perfect Thanksgiving table!

Thanks so much for sharing Kelley Nan’s styling with us! This table is jus t beautiful….it’s simple elegance is perfect for Thanksgiving.

This is stunning! Always love Kelley Nan’s work and I could certainly see myself at this table for Thanksgiving!! Now, I’m off to order that gold pitcher:) xoxo

Absolutely stunning and inviting! I love that she involves her guests with dinner prep & serving, what a great way to have a ‘true’ Thanksgiving day & dinner. Kelley Nan always inspires me!

Beautiful table Kelley! I like the way you mixed the taper candles and the pillars. Candles on the table are a must! How many do you usually host? I usually have 10 – 15 and I find it a challenge to set a large, beautiful table where the guests don’t start moving everything so they can see and talk to each other. My tips are keep the center piece minimum and let the food and beautiful dishes be the centerpiece with the candles. Once everyone is seated at the table I am much calmer, and after the Blessing, and I love to hear everyone passing the plates arounds until everyone’s plate is full. Happy Thanksgiving!

What an absolutely stunning table. The colors and layers are all so rich, Kelley is such an inspiration, her tables are always so inspiring! I want that gorgeous flatware, it brings the table to life! Fabulous work Kel!!

Yes, it is gorgeous, yes it is colorful, but… the center piece and table decor is so big, tall and heavy that the people seated on one side cannot see to converse with the people on the other side. The table is designed not to include the guests. Sorry I am in the minority..but it just doesn’t work for me.

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