Create an Extraordinary Holiday Table With Ordinary Finds

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What happens when a decorator and a lifestyle blogger visit an OC Goodwill store to create a holiday table worthy of a magazine cover? Unique items are given new life and reused in ways you won’t believe.

See what they and you can do with a shower curtain, candlesticks, books and a little bit of spray paint! These clever ladies show you how you too can create an extraordinary holiday table with ordinary thrift store finds.

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Our goal was to create a natural rustic dinner table for Thanksgiving. Then with just a few changes, set a festive and elegant gold-themed table for holiday parties, Christmas dinner and New Year’s Eve.

Here are a few tips to help you set a lovely dinner table at your house for the holidays.

First, take an inventory of what you already have and come up with a color scheme and theme for your table. We love to work with white or cream dishes and then add in a pop of color with accessories and linens.
Thanksgiving table Goodwill close up

The theme of our Thanksgiving dinner table was nature and our color scheme was white, brown, gold and tan.

We started by scouring the Goodwill of Orange County store for some basics: white dishes, silverware and glassware, must-have pieces for your holiday table.

Then, we looked for items made of wood, natural fabrics like burlap to bring our theme together, and added in some traditional Thanksgiving cornucopias and some lamps we found for ambiance.

Thanksgiving Goodwill table silverwear

We found some great burlap fabric and thought it would add just the right color and texture, but it was not quite long enough to cover the full table. What we did next was a bit unusual for a table, but works so well — we layered the burlap over a printed curtain we found at the store! It gave a great layered look and added a pop of color or texture to our table.
goodwill-table topper-2

For our next trick, we grabbed a few old books off the shelves and upcycled them to become layering and height pieces for the table. We spray painted the covers and spine white to blend in with our Thanksgiving color scheme.

Here is our finished Thanksgiving table set right inside the Goodwill store. Look closely and you will see the old books underneath the lamps to give our table the dimension and height we wanted. We also did something very clever with those books in our next table setting.
Goodwill Thanksgiving Table set

close up of leaf bundles

Here’s an up-close view of the leaf garland runner we created from book pages, too. This is another easy DIY piece you can add to your table — you simply cut out the leaves shape you want (cut several at once by stacking the pages on top of each other) and then staple groups of three or four together.

You can also hot glue an acorn onto each bunch and string them on some twine. It’s a relatively simple project, with a stunning result!

Once you find your basic items and created your Thanksgiving table, you can easily change out your accessories and modify the theme for the holidays to come!

Thanksgiving table Goodwill books

For our holiday table, we simply changed out some of the natural elements to gold and brass pieces to give it more of that holiday sparkle. We purchased a can of Antique Gold spray paint at Michael’s and used it liberally.

For the holiday table, we found and added candlestick holders of varying heights from the Goodwill store to create visual interest on the table.
We used those same white books from our Thanksgiving table, but opened them up to act as place mats on this table. We gilded the edges with a shot of gold spray paint to bring in our new color scheme.
That gold spray paint also allowed us to change ordinary items into stunning decor for the table.
spray painted items Goodwill

First, we took a handful of apples, yes real apples, and coated them liberally with the gold color. Then, we found these blue figurines at Goodwill and thought they also needed a coat of gold before taking a prominent spot on the table.

Here is the final result! Using the same books, dishes, flatware and glasses, plus the addition of a few gold items and candlesticks, we completed our holiday table!
gold table Goodwill

There you have it! How to easily use unique and affordable items at Goodwill and turn them into beautiful holiday table decor!

After taking an inventory of the items you already have at home, visit your favorite Goodwill store and keep an eye out for unique and inexpensive items to complement your color and design scheme.
Don’t be afraid to mix the old with the new and don’t feel like everything needs to match. Just have a unifying element or color and it will turn out beautifully.


Feel good about shopping and supporting Goodwill!
Your purchases and donations help support Goodwill of Orange County’s programs and services which provide job and employment training to people with disabilities or barriers in Orange County.

This project was created by Mindy Laven, Mindy Laven Interiors and Lori Felix, publisher of More With Less Today

Stop by for more budget-inspired ideas and follow along on Pinterest too!

Are you a Goodwill crafter too? We would enjoy connecting with you on social media using the hashtag #FindTheGood

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