How to set a beautiful harvest table


Bring the colors of the season indoors to set a festive harvest table. Floral and interior designer Rebecca Cole decorates her family table with flea market finds and treasures from the outdoors.

How to set a beautiful harvest table

Rebecca likes to mix and match plates for a more casual harvest table. She will also mix and match silverware.

  • If you're going to have a lot of food on the table, instead of a big flower arrangement, you can take a tile or a piece of slate and use that as a decorative hot plate.
  • You can put pretty small objects on it, like little candles or small plants, or pillar candles look nice. She uses pincushion plants which are harvest colors and also make nice party favors for people to take with them.
  • Her family's tradition is to send the children out into the yard before the meal is served, to gather pine cones and other beautiful objects, which are added to the table setting.
  • Light the candles and you're ready.

I'm Rebecca Cole for howdini, and we're going to now set a beautiful harvest table.
I've already set the table with kind of a mix of plates that I have. I like the idea of using hand-me-downs and things I got in flea markets, these beautiful hand-painted plates. You know, one or two plates with a duck or a deer on them, and I put them on plates that match but not completely match, like this is a brown plate that’s round, this one’s a little square. So anyway, we set the table. I even mix and match the silverware, because I just have three of this and four of that. And I buy them at flea markets and I just love the way that looks. I think particularly for a kind of elegant but harvest table, you want it to feel really casual.

Now, one of the things that I like to do for Thanksgiving dinner — or any kind of festive feast where there are a lot of people — you're going to probably have to put food on the table, so it's kind of difficult to do a big flower arrangement. So one suggestion is to take a tile or a piece of slate or something that you can actually use as a hotplate. Put that down first. And now we're going to set some pretty little things on it; but an eclectic mix of things. The candles that we made before that we did our own little leaf raffia touch. All pillar candles at different heights: Put a few of them on each piece of slate kind of randomly placed. So there's, you know, a little haphazard look and feel to it.

And now that's just a little too plain, though so I still do want some color or some flowers. And I got these little adorable pincushion plants that are of course the perfect harvest colors, and just placing those. The sweet thing about this is it makes a really great table and then also it could be a nice little hostess gift when people leave. They can take this as a little memento. And then now if I want to move, let’s say, a big turkey onto the center here. I just have to pull these things off closer to the people.

Now I still even think we can do more, so I just like these kind of very randomly placed pine cones. The tradition in my family is to get the kids sort of out of the house at that last minute when you're trying to finish all the dishes. We go, one person goes out and takes all the kids and they gather little things from the yard and pinecones, of course, are one of the easiest ones. And look at how pretty they look. It just right away says, “Harvest.”

Very bountiful, really great table. I'm Rebecca Cole for howdini.

meet theexpert
  • Rebecca Cole

    Rebecca Cole Floral and Interior Designer Rebecca Cole is now one of the most in-demand interior and landscape designers in the country and has been declared a 'stylish, urban horticulturist' by New York Magazine and a 'garden guru' by the New York Post. more about this expert »