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A Thanksgiving by the Sea: Coastal Table Decorating Ideas

‘Tis the season for gratitude and gathering with loved ones — all while sharing a delicious meal and making memories to last a lifetime. While the feast itself is undoubtedly the centerpiece of the occasion, creating an inviting atmosphere with your décor certainly helps set the stage for the event. At Saltsy we love integrating our signature seaside vibe into our coastal Thanksgiving tablescapes. We’ve put together some of our favorite tips and tricks showing how you can have both autumn leaves and an ocean breeze at your holiday feast!

Eclectic Elements 

Like every shell and grain of sand is unique, our environments feel good when there are subtle differences and unexpected elements as well.  What we mean to say is, don’t be afraid to get eclectic with your place settings! Grab a family member or friend and make new memories this season as you shop for unique elements to bring a variety of texture to your table. 

Tip from the Tide: If you’ll be taking the eclectic approach, try using a simple color palette to maintain a holistic and connected vibe. Using simple white pumpkins or neutral toned linens will create a minimalistic background that allow your different pieces to stand out. 

A Vibrant Tablescape Vibe

Thanksgiving may traditionally be rooted in fall colors, but modern style gives every color a chance. Whether a combination of blue and teal suits your style, or perhaps you lean into something more unexpected like the corals, yellows, and pinks found throughout the sea — adding a splash of color will definitely add interest to your tablescape. If you’re looking to make a statement, try mixing and matching a variety of colors. For a more subtle look, pick a two to three color palette and mix it with soft neutrals and natural elements to create balance.

Favorite Finds: This Julo Bluev appetizer platter is a Saltsy favorite… the bright color and graphic texture call to us! Paired with these seagrass plate chargers and some handmade coral dinner places and you’ve got a swoon-worthy backdrop for your holiday feast.

Organic Arrangements

If you’re anything like us, you see that so much of the beauty of the coast and ocean comes from the natural movements of the waves and the way their movement forms everything they touch from the sand on shore to the coral beneath the surface. Bringing those organic elements to your tablescape can harness this feeling and bring life to it in a new way. Whether it’s a driftwood centerpiece or beach grass overflowing from vases, the options are endless. 

Favorite Finds: This wave-inspired centerpiece will bring warmth, texture and height to your table, even more, the white textural material is perfect to pop against natural woods or bright accents. It would even pair perfectly with this lambs ear and starfish garland on a natural linen runner. 

Elegant Touches

Of course, a coastal vibe naturally lends itself to organic materials, but it can be easily elevated with a combination of mixed metals, glassware, and crisp textures. Much like water glistening in the sunlight, a little bit of sparkle never hurt anyone! We recommend bringing in metals in smaller quantities, they’ll sparkle against the more neutral textures and tones.

Tips from the Tide: If you’re looking for an elevated aesthetic, check out this elegant Votive Centerpiece. It reminds us of the natural way driftwood takes shape, and it’s begging for being layered in some lush greens, natural woods, and soft whites for a sophisticated look. These handmade shell napkin rings also make a lovely addition to any table, and their gold gilding adds a high-end touch.

Elegant oyster shells with painted gold exteriors and blue and white ocean prints on the interior, tied to a ring of wooden beads and a tassel - intended for a napkin ring
Photo Credit: Wendy Clare Designs

Personalized Moments

Often, it’s the smallest details that have the biggest impact. Consider adding name tags to your table setting. Not only can these be a fun touch, but they also give you the opportunity to place people together that wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to chat.

Favorite Finds: Two of our favorites place card setups are these handwritten seashells or these coral place card holders, which can double as food or allergen label holders, too! 

Gorgeous coastal place setting in blues, whites, golds, and natural tones
Photo Credit: Grit & Grace

Build the Basics of Your Coastal Thanksgiving Tablescapes

Whether your table setting will be simple and minimalistic or layered and luxe, as these examples show, perfecting the coastal aesthetic comes down to to details! Regardless of your tablescape’s theme, here are the key elements to consider as individual opportunities to elevate the visual experience:

  1. Linens 
  2. Placemats or Chargers
  3. Dinnerware
  4. Silverware
  5. Wine or Cocktail Glasses
  6. Water Glasses
  7. Serving Platters
  8. Napkin Rings
  9. Place Cards
  10. Greenery

More than anything, remember to have fun! More than ever, this is the time of year when we’re meant to slow down and appreciate the process. After all, the table may set the stage for ambiance, but it’s the people who share the day with you that will resonate for years to come!

Which tablescape style is your favorite? Be sure to tag #Saltsy if you share your own coastal Thanksgiving vibe — we can’t wait to see how you make a splash at your own table this holiday season.

Read more on our blog: Saltsy Studio

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