Thanksgiving Entertaining Ideas: How to Throw a No Fuss Fall Dinner

Article Posted By: Lindsay Jackman

Thanksgiving Entertaining Ideas: How to Throw a No Fuss Fall Dinner

Fall and holiday entertaining is supposed to be fun. And it is! But being a great host can become overwhelming without a few tricks. Lindsay Jackman, author of The White Buffalo Styling Co., has some terrific Thanksgiving entertaining ideas for us in the form of a fall entertaining guide. She has the game plan for you, along with some great fall decorating ideas and a simple DIY candelabra.

This is her contribution to our Halloween and Harvest Style Challenge. We’ve sent some of the best lifestyle bloggers on the web some Home Depot fall decorations and let the bloggers work their magic, creating practical decorating ideas and projects.

Take a look at Lindsay’s entertaining tips, and you’ll be ready to throw a great dinner party with a minimum of fuss, leaving more time for you to actually enjoy yourself.

Fall is finally here! Pumpkins fill the stores, the air is finally crisp (if only at night in the south), and pumpkin baked goods are all I can think about! Everything feels festive and something about the season just makes me want to entertain.

I love throwing a dinner party and setting a beautiful table for friends to gather round. But so often, it becomes a huge production and I end up wishing I hadn’t thrown the party to begin with!

Follow my simple fall entertaining guide filled with the tips I’ve learned to make fall entertaining easy and fun not only for your guests, but for you!


Prepare in Advance

Plan out your meal and buy everything you can a day or so in advance. That’s the best thing about fall entertaining, simple comfort food is a must! Stick to soups and cozy foods that are crowd-pleasers, but easy to prepare.

Get the house ready several days out.

Fall Decorating Ideas

Fall Decorating Ideas

I love these kilim pillows from Home Decorators Collection. They add so much cozy texture! And the simple touch of a jack-o-lantern luminary and stacked pumpkins give guests a warm fall greeting right at the door.

Sit out those pumpkins, if you haven’t already. Nothing will bring fall into your home like some pumpkins!


How to Display Your Pumpkins

For a stylish and quick way to create a pumpkin display, group a few different-colored pumpkins together with some pine cones. On top of our hutch, I combined this outdoor foam pumpkin with some other pumpkin varieties. It’s really versatile. I turned it around for early fall, but can turn it around at any point for a different look. I paired it with a real heirloom pumpkin, assorted small gourds, and a twig pumpkin. I love how it mixes!

Set your table early too.

Fall Decorating Ideas


A Buffet is Easier

I love when guests come in to a pretty table. In order to save yourself some work, set up a dinner buffet somewhere and when it comes time to eat, ask guests to grab their plates and serve themselves. It’s less work than serving food at the table, and it lets you start the evening with a beautiful focal point at your dinner party!

Thanksgiving Entertaining Ideas: How to Throw a No Fuss Fall Dinner

Fall Entertaining Ideas: How to Throw a No Fuss Fall Dinner


Table Decorations

Color and textiles can really make a tablescape. I started this one with a wool navajo printed cape that I love! I was picturing something in deep jewel tones, and when I couldn’t find the right runner or tablecloth, I went to my closet for inspiration and saw this!

On top, I layered wood chargers to give each place setting a little heft, contrasting printed napkins, and fun, fall napkin rings.

To make the napkin rings, I started by winding suede strips around each and tying them in the back. I wanted a haphazard, casual look and not a perfect napkin ring. Then, I tucked an assortment of fall clippings in each one, making each unique.

Thanksgiving Entertaining Ideas: How to Throw a No Fuss Fall Dinner

I took clippings off of this wreath, basket, and twig pumpkin to create the napkin rings. I loved the berries, small lanterns, and leaves on these guys! Plus, when I removed the fall touches for my napkin rings, that left me with the bare twig pumpkin, which looks great on top of our hutch!

Fall Decorating Ideas


Set the Ambiance

For a fall gathering, nothing says ambiance to me like candles. They create magic like nothing else, are cheap, and are the easiest decorations!

Thanksgiving Entertaining Ideas: How to Throw a No Fuss Fall Dinner


DIY Fence Post Candle Holders

For the table, I pictured a grouping of all different candlesticks. I used a few that I already had and then I DIYed a few new ones with supplies found right at The Home Depot!

First, we took a wooden fence post and cut it into two different heights for a set of unique candlesticks. Then, we used a paddle bit to drill a 3/4-in. hole in the top, which is the perfect size for a traditional taper candle.

DIY Fence Post Candle Holders

And because I love an eclectic style and was going for a diverse grouping of candlesticks, I made some new ones out of industrial pipe. The most amazing part about these is that they screw together and take about 30 seconds each!

DIY Fence Post Candle Holders

I chose colored tapers because I think they can really add so much personality on a table. The blue gives this area some pizzazz and a cohesive feel where traditional white would’ve blended in.

DIY Fence Post Candle Holders


DIY Copper Pipe Candelabra

Since our kitchen opens to the dining room, I love to use my large live edge island for serving. I had a vision to carry the use of candles into this space as well, and I pictured something a bit distinctive: I wanted a large, copper candelabra and I thought, “Why not make one?”

With some copper pipe and fittings from Home Depot, I created this unique industrial candelabra. I’ve included the instructions below.

DIY Copper Pipe Candelabra

DIY Copper Pipe Candelabra

How-to: DIY Copper Pipe Candelabra

The images above show how we made the copper pipe candelabra.

1. Start with basic copper pipe and fittings for corners.

2. Cut your pipe to desired sizes (we did each piece as we went and put it together to visualize what we wanted)

3. You can see the pieces laid out and put together. I wanted it to be asymmetrical with different lengths of pipe coming out at different places. We started with the bottom two arms being 12″ long. Then, the next two were 10″ After that, we mixed it up and continued to decrease as it got smaller. The best thing to do is put it together as you make it and lay it flat like this so that you can see where more is needed.

4. Here’s an example of the bottom structure put together. After this, we cut a small center piece and then did another rung. We continued on that pattern until we had the size we wanted.

5. Here’s another close-up shot of how it fits together.

6. Here, you can see that the arms twist, so once it’s all put together, you can move it where you want. After we got it put together and each arm exactly where we wanted, we glued the pieces together with Liquid Nails to ensure it didn’t fall apart while being used.

7. After everything was glued and in place, we secured the candelabra to a rustic wood piece to give it a platform for standing.

DIY Copper Pipe Candelabra

It makes such a statement on our island/buffet.

Now, we have our house set and are ready to throw that party!


Make Serving Simple

The worst part about throwing a party is being “stuck” as the hostess and not able to enjoy your guests. Solve this problem by creating self-serve stations where guests can help themselves while you are enjoying yourself.

For example, you can create a simple dessert buffet so that, after dinner, guests can grab something sweet as they’re ready. Keep it simple without a lot of different dessert options. Sticking with a tried and true apple or pumpkin pie is a safe bet for fall. Provide dessert plates, extra silverware and napkins so that guests can grab what they need and mingle without heading back to the table, if they prefer.

Thanksgiving Entertaining Ideas: How to Throw a No Fuss Fall Dinner


Burlap Table Runner

To really give the island the feel of a buffet, I used Home Depot’s Burlap Table Runner down the center and added a mix of pumpkins and fall decor .

I used a mix of real pumpkins, Home Depot metallic pumpkins and gourds taken from the basket above, and twig pumpkins after I’d removed the leaves to use elsewhere in the display. I added leaves, Japanese lanterns from the wreath, cinnamon sticks, and berries scattered to really make it feel like fall just tumbled onto my buffet.

It’s little details like the leaves and berries in this display and the napkin rings that really make your decor feel purposeful.

Thanksgiving Entertaining Ideas: How to Throw a No Fuss Fall Dinner


Beverage Station

Have a fall beverage station where several festive choices are waiting for your guests all evening.

Remember, our goal here is self-serve. Have water for tea already hot and ready in a kettle. In a crate, I have several tea options and coffee waiting to be made. Apple cider is another big fall favorite. I like to serve it chilled in a pitcher, so that I won’t need to tend to it throughout the evening.

You don’t need to have a ton of options to make your beverage bar feel extra special. Some whipped cream, cinnamon, and cinnamon sticks for stirring are enough to make it feel “fall fancy” while not creating a full-service coffee bar for you to manage.

Thanksgiving Entertaining Ideas: How to Throw a No Fuss Fall Dinner

Thanksgiving Entertaining Ideas: How to Throw a No Fuss Fall Dinner

Thanksgiving Entertaining Ideas: How to Throw a No Fuss Fall Dinner


Enjoy Your Dinner Party!

And again, the best part of self-serve stations is that you can enjoy the party as much as your guests!

Lindsay Jackman in her kitchen that's been decorated for fall

I enjoyed having you all over today!

Thanksgiving Entertaining Ideas: How to Throw a No Fuss Fall Dinner

Happy Fall Entertaining from my home to yours!

Fall Decorating Ideas

Lindsay Jackman is a design blogger and home-renovation survivor. She says she’s has been looking for opportunities to decorate since she was a little girl. Now she shares style tips and how-to’s on her blog The White Buffalo Styling Co. She lives in Greenville, South Carolina with her husband Chris and their pooch Gracie… and baby Rosie will be arriving in January!

Take a look at Lindsay’s boho-style backyard makeover here on The Home Depot Blog.

For more DIY Thanksgiving and fall entertaining ideas, see other articles in our Halloween and Harvest Style Challenge series, and follow our Fall Harvest board on Pinterest.

Visit The Home Depot’s online Holiday Decorations Department for everything you need to decorate your home for fall, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Related Pinned Items