Thanksgiving Table: House of Brinson

Susan and William Brinson (of the fabulous House of Brinson) share something in common with me. We are all totally out of our minds and just purchased scary old fixer-upper homes in Upstate New York. For anybody who is in the midst of a large-scale home renovation (or just struggling to make their living space—er—livable),  having people over or throwing a party can be downright panic-inducing. Luckily, the Brinson’s installment of our Thanksgiving Table series offers some awesome and easy tips for dressing up a space and making it delightfully festive (even if your plaster walls are crumbling). Equipped with a set of simple West Elm Dinnerware and a little bit of decorating ingenuity, the Brinsons were able to craft this absolutely stunning Thanksgiving table. Check out all of the beautiful photos plus Susan Brinson’s entertaining tips after the jump! —Max

“Thanksgiving this year is all about simple and elegant,” Susan says. “We recently moved to our country house in upstate New York and let’s just say it’s a fixer upper. We have walls with falling plaster and peeling wallpaper. But we will NOT let that stop us from sharing a beautiful Thanksgiving with our family and friends. So it’s time to get resourceful, and I have to say, it made me remember these helpful styling tips that will work for any holiday.”


Contrast: Use a contrasting table cloth to show off light colored dinnerware. I have some patterned dinnerware, but if I use simple, white dinnerware, I choose a darker colored table cloth to show off the shape of the dinnerware. I love a dark colored table cloth because it hides spills, and it has a bit of the unexpected when you walk in the room. I have a love affair with unpressed linen, and if you’re in NYC, my go-to spot is B&J Fabrics  They have a crazy linen section and I’d like one of every everything.


Flowers: I tend to play it a little safe with flowers, especially for holidays when I have a long to-do list. My one stop shop in NYC (and a favorite of stylists) is Dutch Flowers  I go in with a color palette in mind (in this case pink) and shop for different shapes and sizes that work within those colors. Then I throw in a neutral that will stand out, like the little white flowers. Since we moved to the country, I wanted an organic, wild flower look that was unstructured. We just moved so things are still on the wild side until we get into a routine. I wanted the flowers to reflect that bit of wildness. 

HOB_Thanksgiving_5 HOB_Thanksgiving_1

Transform your space: Each year I try a surprise that transforms our space. We have repeat guests that make the annual journey to our home, so we don’t want the holiday to get too predictable. One year we made a bona fide teepee for the kids to dine in, with a fully dressed table. Last year we hung a huge branch over the dessert table and decorated it with gold tipped feathers. So this year, we decorated the wall behind the table. Let me tell ya, I confess to being a bit self serving. The wall behind those music sheets is in poor shape, but I didn’t want that to ruin the festive atmosphere. The previous owner of the house left a 3 foot tall stack of old music on the third floor, so I put it to good use and decorated. I sorted the stack by color, and used the colors that matched the flowers. I love layering with any vintage paper, newspaper or even handwritten notes. Even if you have a perfect wall, hanging a full wall of decorations will dramatically transform your space for entertaining. 


Place setting decorations: Even though we have mostly organic looking items, a little gold spray paint never hurt a thing. I went to the local Michael’s Arts and Crafts and bought wheat and ivory puffy sprigs from the floral department, plus some ivory ribbon. I broke out the gold spray paint for the wheat which added a bit of glam to the table, but still kept the organic country feel. 

  1. The sheet music is such a pretty and romantic background.

  2. Absolutely love this, the dark tablecloth and the gold cutlery with the wooden table and chairs really have a warm, autumnal feel and and the sheet music on the walls is inspired.

  3. maggie says:

    Love that sheet music on the wall!

  4. Esha says:

    That brass silverwear (with the wooden handles) is BEAUTIFUL. Where is it from?

  5. Tania says:

    This makes me immediately want to find some sheet music and make some wallpaper. Amazing.

  6. Katy Gilmore says:

    I love the teepee with fully dressed table for the little ones!

  7. Wow – that’s classy. I’ve done book pages, but not sheet music – lovely!

  8. I am in love! Great job!

  9. Yelena says:

    I absolutely love everything about this. Beautiful, imaginative, tasteful, and oh, so welcoming. And that flatware! I mean, come on.

  10. Karen June says:

    The gold flatware against the navy tablecloth is simply stunning! We brought our gold flatware out for our Thanksgiving Table … check it out if you have a chance!

  11. Linda Mitchell says:

    Hey, this would be perfect if you had a gravy boat!

  12. What a wonderful idea to use the sheet music. I could instantly do this with all the vintage books I have too many of.

    We just moved into a new house, the Blue Cottage, which I’m slowly decorating in a shabby chic/vintage style.

    Here is my vintage-inspired Thanksgiving table setting you might like to check out:

    You’re always invited to come check out our Blue Cottage! :)

  13. ashlee says:

    Lovely, great tip about light and dark tablecloth/crockery, will be totally keeping that in mind :)

  14. mrswoo says:

    The tepee picture seems to have gone MIA in the UK.

    I like the wishbone.

  15. susan says:

    So lovely…always impressed by their work!

  16. must know where the forks and knives of from – so beautiful

  17. The silverware was from one of our favorite places to find fun things in NY, Housing Works, and the money goes to a great cause.

  18. Nancy says:

    Gorgeous! Love the table, sheet music and curtains!

  19. Nancy says:

    Everything is beautiful, outstanding, love the sheet music.

  20. Dave Cooper says:

    This post has everything except what time I’m supposed to arrive? Happy Thanksgiving, Brinsons!

  21. Kelly says:

    Beautiful job! Very inspiring, thank you!

  22. Jill P says:

    So glad you two are settling in up here. The table looks beautiful! xo


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