Let’s be clear: You don’t have to toss the decorating rule book to set the scene for a modern Thanksgiving table. You just have to challenge traditional thinking and push the aesthetic envelope. Read on, if you’re ready to take a risk.

Mix Multiple Styles

Toss the need to adhere to a single, matchy-matchy look. Going modern is about integrating different styles and relaxing the rules. We layered a boho-chic tablecloth with rustic placemats. Then, we invited traditional white plates and dramatic gold flatware (which is so on trend) to the party. Try it. Mix and match until you find the cosmopolitan combination that’s uniquely right for your Thanksgiving celebration.

Experiment with Color

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How can you use the autumnal crayon hues of brown, orange, yellow, and red in a more modern way? Instead of tapping them as primary colors, use them in subtler doses and tie in neutral shades as a base for greater impact. For example, go for understated earthy tones in a grey print tablecloth. Try white-washed grey placemats paired with pumpkin-colored napkins. Top a khaki-colored runner with vibrant yellow plates. Aim for a balance of surprise and subtlety to make your table modern and memorable.

Use Unexpected Patterns

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A wise woman said, to be modern is to be unpredictable. Incorporate linens that challenge the expected aesthetic and add visual energy to your table. Think loose, less-structured florals, deconstructed paisleys, and trendy globally-inspired prints like ikat or suzani. Or break the Thanksgiving mold entirely—go naked (as in no tablecloth), and use the wood grain in your dining table as an organic pattern.

Layer on Textures

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Colors and patterns draw the eye. But textures really rope you in. The modern take on texture is to juxtapose pieces that are smooth, coarse, and nubby to the touch. Try tapestry-inspired fabrics and crisp, sleek dinnerware against rattan-like textiles. You’ll draw your friends and family to the table as effectively as the scent of pumpkin pie. Because traditional desserts still work with modern design!

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