The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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November 15, 2013

Thanksgiving design: How to dress your room for dinner

(Continued)

— For a fresh take on Thanksgiving, skip the turkey — at least in your table accessories. Williams-Sonoma's Pewter Pheasant Place Card Holders ($99.95 for a set of four, www.williams-sonoma.com) might be more authentic: Historians say the Pilgrims had fowl at that first Thanksgiving in the 1600s, but it's unclear whether turkey was on the menu.

— Couleur Nature's Natural Bleu D'Chine Tablecloth ($72-$100, www.couleurnature.com) brings a subtle autumnal feel to the table with its yellow-and-wheat colored pattern. If you are using uneven card tables or rough plywood for extra dining space, Spungen recommends putting down a layer of foam or table pads first. "It makes a softer surface for putting your glasses down," she says.

— For a table that you'd prefer to show off, use place mats or runners. Sferra's Dusty Hemstitch Table Runner is available in 10 muted shades ($47, www.horchow.com) to match any style. Spungen likes to take a few runners and place them in rows down the table for a striped look.

— Sur la Table's Baroque Oval Serving Platter ($39.95-$49.95, www.surlatable.com) can dress up more than turkey. It would make a perfect canvas for Spungen's favorite centerpieces: seasonal finds from the farmers market. She turns to unexpected vegetable heroes such as Romanesco cauliflower and broccoli for texture and a crisp chartreuse green color.

— Olive advises hosts and hostesses with small spaces (and little room for elaborate centerpieces) to find beauty in the functional. Even practical pieces such as an ornate carving set — try Ricci Silversmiths' Two-Piece Japanese Bird Carving Set ($85, www.horchow.com) — add to the ambiance.

— Saum likes silver and pewter trays for their versatility, including Juliska's Pewter Stoneware Turkey Platter ($248, www.bloomingdales.com). "This can be used for a party, even at Christmastime, and really be a multi-use item," she says. "I always get extra greens with my trees and just make sure they're washed and use them at Christmastime to decorate my platters."

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