How to Decorate Your Thanksgiving Table


We spend days preparing for Thanksgiving - gathering recipes, shopping, cleaning, and cooking a lavish meal to enjoy with family and friends. One way to make the meal even more special is to serve it on a beautifully set table. Jamie Rehm, owner of Bud Floral + Home, shared some of her favorite tips for creating an elegant tablescape for the occasion.


Whether you opt for simple white or your grandmother’s china, Jamie recommends that you first decide which dishes to use for the meal. “This will help you decide on accent colors for your centerpiece,” she adds.

Photo by Payton Ferris on Unsplash

Photo by Payton Ferris on Unsplash


A good next step is selecting a table runner to use, especially if you have a long, rectangular table. “A roll of butcher paper is easy, or you can use a painter’s drop cloth, folded in half lengthwise,” Jamie suggests. You can use a table runner alone, or pair it with your favorite table cloth for a more formal look.

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash


Jamie says, “I like to look for fun fruits and vegetables, like gourds, to lay along the table. You can spray paint them in your accent color to create consistency and calm the look of your busy holiday table.”

Related: 5 Tips to Organize Your Guest Room & Welcome Your Visitors

Photo courtesy of Jamie Rehm

Photo courtesy of Jamie Rehm


“For a big impact, pick simple flowers, all in one color,” Jamie suggests. She recommends using white hydrangeas. For a fall look, you can also opt for dried flowers, right from your yard. Once you’ve decided on your flowers, gather enough to arrange them into one large, low vessel for the center of the table, or three smaller vessels. Keeping these arrangements low will make it easier for your guests to see each other and keep the conversation flowing.


Now, it’s time to head outside and cut some fall branches and greenery. Look for branches with berries, colorful leaves, or other visual interest to spread down your table.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash


Candles are a traditional option, but you may not want the worry of passing food across the flame or having wax melt onto your heirloom linens. Instead, you can opt for battery operated twinkle lights and tea lights to make your table festive.

Related: 5 Ways to Spice up Your Christmas Dinner Table


Photo courtesy of Bud Floral + Home

Photo courtesy of Bud Floral + Home

Now that you have a plan, and you’ve gathered up all the elements of your tablescape, it’s time to put it all together! Thanksgiving Day can get hectic, with guests arriving and hours of food preparation, so give yourself the gift of time by starting a day or two early.

  1. Put down your table runner

  2. Place your flowers in vessels and place on the table

  3. Lay out your greenery or garland in between your floral arrangements

  4. Place your gourds, fruits and vegetables within the garland

  5. Add your battery operated twinkle lights and tea lights just before your guests arrive

Bud Floral + Home is based on Signal Mountain and offers flowers, home decor, and services including weddings, events, classes, deliveries, weekly subscriptions and more. Bud sells fresh flowers and home goods daily at Pruetts on Signal Mountain. View their class schedule and learn more about their offerings by visiting them online at budfloralandhome.com.



5 Tips to Organize Your Guest Room & Welcome Your Visitors

5 tips to organize your guest room

Whether family is coming in for the holidays or a friend is just passing through town, it’s easy to embrace your hospitality skills and make your guest room warm and comforting.

1. Eliminate the clutter…

Sure, clutter says, “Hey, I’m at home in my mess, and I invite you to feel at home, too.” But there’s a difference between making things homey and letting it all hang out.

First, go area-by-area in your guest room to remove things that don’t serve your needs, or at least your needs for the guest room. Donate old toys and clothes that have been stored for too long, recycle out-of-date magazines, and relocate (or let go of) half-finished hobby projects.

Next, consider clearing out overly delicate, fiddly, or fragile items, or move them out of reach to minimize your guests’ worries they might knock something over.

2. …But don’t feel like your guest room has to be sparse.

Your guest room doesn’t have to have as much white space as a museum. If you use your guest room closet for a gift closet or to store your off-season clothing, there’s no reason to revamp. Just make sure that there’s adequate closet or drawer space for your guests to hang or store what they bring. Chances are, they won’t be staying longer than a week, so don’t overestimate how much space they’ll need. Three dresser drawers should do it.

Make sleeping the priority, and make the bed with fresh (and matching) sheets, blankets, comforters, and a bedspread. Invest in a few different types of pillows – down and foam – in case your guests have allergies.

3. Shed a little light on the subject.

Even if you have overhead lighting in your guest room, keep at least one bedside lamp for reading. (If your guest bedroom has a queen or king bed, opt for two lamps.)

Have a nightlight, preferably one with a light sensor or motion sensor, so it’s not necessary to turn it on or off.

Install blackout curtains or vertical blinds so your guests can luxuriate in darkness while sleeping.

4. Don’t make your guests guess.

Anticipate questions your guest may have. Print (and perhaps laminate) an index card with:

  • the Wi-Fi network name and password
  • your security alarm code (and how it works)
  • your address & landline number (in case they order pizza or must call 911)
  • the location and instructions for adjusting the thermostat
  • where to find extras (toilet paper, pillows, towels, blankets, aspirin)

Display a few small dishes or decorative trays so guests know where it’s safe to put jewelry, eyeglasses, and phones within easy reach.

Alarm clocks are still a nice touch. Many people below a certain age will use their cell phones, but it can be comforting in a strange space to have an alarm clock, preferably one that doesn’t tick noisily or glow too brightly.

5. Make your guest room homey, and then add the amenities of a spa.

Attach a full-length mirror to the back of the bedroom or bathroom door, or lean it against the wall.

Install over-the-door valet hooks or removable 3M Command hooks on the reverse of the bedroom or bathroom door to easily hang clothing or robes. Keep a variety of nice hangers in the closet. (Quoting Joan Crawford: “No more wire hangers!”)

Set out a tray with a few water glasses or coffee mugs so guests need not traipse to the kitchen for a drink of water. Consider filling a pretty glass carafe with ice water before bedtime.

Keep a small wastebasket with a new liner near the bed. If you think guests might be nervous about using a too-tidy basket, crumple up one small piece of paper and (like a grocery list) and toss it in, so your guest knows it’s not just for show.

On a desk or bedside table, create convenience for your guests.

  • Create a charging station for multiple gadgets with a multi-port USB hub/charger.
  • Pile some non-controversial books – a few cozy mysteries, a book of short stories – in case your guests can’t sleep.
  • Put out a box of tissues.
  • A few tourism brochures – you can usually pick them up at the mall or tourism office – help your guests think about what they might want to do while visiting.

In your guest bathroom, treat guests to a basket of extras: new toothbrushes, mini-toothpaste & mouthwash containers, floss, and tiny bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and moisturizer. Leave a hair dryer hanging from a small hook or handy in a tidy organizer.

Julie Bestry is a Chattanooga-based Certified Professional Organizer, speaker, and author who helps individuals and businesses save time and money, reduce stress, and increase productivity through new organizational skills and systems. For information on how Julie can turn your chaos into serenity, visit her at Best Results Organizing.



5 Ways to Spice Up Your Christmas Dinner Table

Everyone has their favorite holiday dish. But if you’ve been sitting down to the same dinner for over a decade it’s time to spice it up – and we don’t mean in the kitchen. A well-executed tablescape can turn your typical Christmas dinner into an event. We sat down with Laura Hartman of Fischer Evans for some practical tips on how to make your holiday dinners shine.


1.    Set the tone with the table

Start by selecting the China you want to use. “That will determine your color scheme and overall feel – formal or casual.” If your pattern is formal, keep linens and other elements fairly subdued, such as classic white hemstitch napkins. Christmas pottery or stoneware, such as Vietri’s Old St. Nick can accommodate more color, such as red and white striped napkins.

Either way, don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns. It gives an eclectic feel and is a great way to incorporate any inherited patterns from older generations. Hartman recommends using different patterns on different tables, such as a more whimsical or casual pattern for the kids’ table. Just keep centerpieces similar to tie it all together.


2.    Don’t let the centerpiece take center stage

There’s nothing worse than trying to peek around flowers to talk to people. Try three low containers spanning the table rather than one tall one in the center. And remember to accent with candles or votives for evening meals. Flowers don’t have to break the bank. Evergreens and hollies from the yard accented with white tulips or roses are always Christmas classics. 

Related: 5 Ways to Organize Your Guest Room & Welcome Your Visitors


3.    Paper napkins won’t cut it

Christmas comes once a year – break out the linens. Monogrammed napkins and table runners are always popular and lend a personal feel. Hartman recommends either a neutral color monogram, such as taupe or green, or going monochromatic (white on white). If buying new, Fisher Evans carries “wash and wear” linens that don’t have to be ironed. 


source: Wedding Bee

source: Wedding Bee

4.    Consider the little touches

Up the ante with festive touches like antler napkin rings. And don’t be afraid of place cards to mix up the conversation and add visual interest to centerpieces. Use mixed tea cups and saucers filled with flowers and attach the name to the handle. Or think of “take-aways” such as bagged cookies or potted herbs with names attached. “Have two-inch pots of rosemary at each persons’ place with a rosemary topiary in the center,” she suggests. “That way you have a place card, favor and centerpiece all in one.” 

Related: Draft-Proof Your Windows for Winter


5.    Don’t sideline the sideboard

A buffet or table in the dining room is the perfect place to showcase a silver tea service, a crystal vase or grouping of compotes. Mix materials to add interest, and carry the greenery and flowers over to unify the dining room. A garland always looks great over a mirror. Consider an artificial garland for body and bulk, with fresh magnolia, holly, pine or cryptomeria layered on top.



5 Ways to Make Your Housewarming a Hit

The boxes are unpacked (mostly) and the mail in the box reads your name. You’re officially moved in. But a house really isn’t a home until you’ve christened the kitchen with your first party. (Because let’s face it, there’s no better motivation for getting your act together).

Call up your neighbors and friends. These 5 simple tips from Tamara Dillard at Sophie’s Shoppe will have you hosting your first housewarming party without breaking a sweat.

1.    Chalk it Up

Create a warm welcome at your door with a handwritten note on a chalkboard, like this one. Larger boards are also great for front door holiday messages, while smaller ones on the table can help identify dips or cheeses. If you don’t like the dust, opt for chalkboard markers, which are found in the office or stationery aisles of most stores.


2.    Let There Be Light

A party without candles is like cheese without crackers. Their soft light creates ambiance and scented varieties can be party aromatherapy. Just be sure to skip strong scents around the food table, and elevate them if you’re expecting little people. Remember to also periodically check the ones you leave burning in other rooms, like bathrooms. Remember it’s a house warming you're after….not house fire.

Related: 5 Ways to Organize Your Guest Room and Welcome Your Visitors

3.    Pick the Perfect Cocktail

The options are endless but finding the perfect cocktail can be quick and easy. Books like Cocktails for a Crowd offer great suggestions of large-batch drinks such as the Tipsy Palmer:

6 ½ cups of hot water
10 orange tea bags
4 ½ cups of sweet tea vodka
2 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup of Mint Simple Syrup
Fresh Mint + Lemons for garnish

4.    Set the Night to Music

Every party needs great music and that no longer means stressing over playlists. Spotify is the perfect go-to for commercial-free music to suit most tastes. Some of Dillard’s favorite stations include Norah Jones, Leon Bridges and Lake Street Drive.

5.    Let Them Eat Dips

Everyone needs a few go-to recipes in their entertaining repertoire (we know you can do better than store-bought hummus). Dillard recommends the Skinny Dips Cookbook for 60 guilt-free, fresh dips as well as crispy dippers to eat them with. One of her favorites is the Parmesan Spinach Dip:

½ small white onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
10 ounces of spinach
½ cup of mayonnaise
½ cup of sour cream
½ cup of parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon of salt
Mix all together in a food processor and enjoy!