Text by Elizabeth Czapski
Gathering is at the heart of the autumn season. And with so many reasons to do so—from casual fall get-togethers between a few friends to formal Thanksgiving meals for the whole family—we’ve rounded up a stunning spectrum of some of our favorite autumn tablescapes that encompass a wide range of entertaining occasions. To go along with each setting, we’ve included a mouthwatering recipe from the pages of The Cottage Journal and our sister publications to top off your menus with a delectable touch. Whether you’re basking in brisk but comfortable weather alfresco in a temperate climate or cozied up inside by the fire to escape the cold, these spreads capture the best of the season wherever you might be enjoying it!
A Bounty of Layers
Piled high with seasonal charm in the form of vivid tones, warm textures, and dynamic patterns, the elements incorporated into this outdoor setting are as rich as its glorious fall surroundings. With a backdrop of rustic stone and brick, the scene is softened with plenty of linens, pillows, and throws as well as an abundance of vibrant natural accents. Whether you’re serving a full meal or simply relishing a hot drink paired with these Persimmon Scones drizzled with a maple syrup glaze, your guests will be sure to linger in contentment beside the cozy, crackling fire. Get more details on the gathering here.
This light and airy tablescape captures an unexpectedly whimsical side of the season with bright white, sky blue, and notes of blush, along with glistening gold accents that imbue a hint of glam. The showstopping centerpiece comes together in a mix of plush velvet pumpkins bearing fanciful organic stems that is finished with ivory blossoms and votives scattered about. In keeping with the refined presentation, impress visitors with these Sweet Potato Soufflés with Thyme Whipped Cream—a dainty dish with robust flavor.
Antiques in the Garden
Natural beauties and collected treasures create an extraordinary eclectic escape in this long dreamed of greenhouse. Echoing foraged finds that hang from the chandelier above, a gathered table runner is composed of fresh and dried elements, from moss to burgundy and gold eucalyptus, as well as feathers, amber bottles, and staggered taper candles that coordinate with the subtle orange hue of weathered pumpkins. Pears atop each plate make perfect place holders for the Balsamic-Fig Glazed Pear Flatbread to come. See more of this greenhouse in our latest Autumn issue.
While fall’s color focus normally emphasizes nature’s shift from lush to russet hues, the splendor of green’s organic spectrum makes the shade truly evergreen. Here it ranges from soft sage to rich emerald, harmonizing with white, textural neutrals, and a few pops of traditional orange. Woven materials and an ample variety of greenery enhance the woodland feel, while place settings pair sophisticated antique china patterns with fun contemporary designs. A nod to the spread’s recurring motif, Pumpkin Risotto Bites make a fitting start to the evening.
Autumn’s bounty offers an abundance of inspiration for seasonal tables—especially those set up outdoors with a front row seat to the spectacular color show. But not all fall spreads call for a grouping of pumpkins and gourds. Instead, opt for another signature harvest fruit, like a basket full of apples, or try a bouquet of freshly clipped garden roses. Whether preparing for a Thanksgiving feast or simple aperitifs and appetizers alfresco, you can’t go wrong kicking off the occasion with this delightful Apple Cider Shrub. Find more on the tablescape here.
Built around Sur La Table’s artful Harvest Table collection, this display allows the pieces to shine all the more by bringing them to life across the room. Using textured beige pieces, like rattan and olive wood, as a base, pretty watercolor depictions of fall foliage on place settings are echoed in a bevy of colorful blooms and bounty at the table’s center and spread in copious measure along the mantel. In further tribute to the harvest season, Spiced Roasted Squash–and–Fall Greens Salad is a fresh yet flavorful menu choice that will blend right in with its serveware.
Take a cooler approach to an autumn color scheme and wash your table in a sea of blue and green. Mingled with lush antique hydrangeas, an assortment of pumpkins that spans the palette sets the tone and reflects glazed ceramic dinnerware in the same shades. Olive-hued velvet chairs and tortoiseshell-pattern glasses bring out the rustic side of the scene with a bit of added polish. The only orange in sight will be the flickering flames that keep the evening chill at bay as guests enjoy a slice of S’mores Cheesecake Pie, an elevated spin on the classic fireside treat.
This lovely white and neutral dining room, enlivened with sepia-toned murals, open shelving, and ornate finishes, is primed and ready for seasonal color in a farmhouse setting with an elegant undercurrent. Dried foliage adds bucolic charm in a brazen buffet arrangement and natural centerpiece, contrasting with stark white counterparts like the tables, transferware, and Baby Boo pumpkins. Cozy throws warm the scene, as do steaming bowls of hearty Autumn Chowder.
Shop our latest issues for more inspiration!