Thanksgiving decorating and DIY tips straight from set

By Nina Terrero
December 20, 2016 at 12:52 PM EST
Adam Taylor/ABC
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Maxine Shepard, the prodcution designer for the ABC comedy black-ish, shares three simple tricks that’ll elevate any Thanksgiving dinner.

1. Curate a color scheme

Shepard dressed up the Johnson dining table with orange napkins, a soft brown burlap tablecloth, and graceful gold accents — colors that represent a “modern take” on the time-honored Thanksgiving palette. “We’re not hitting you over the head with tradition,” says Shepard. “Introducing unexpected hues to the table is something anybody can do at home — it gives you the spirit of the holiday, but flows in your existing space.” (Fete Orange Cloth Dinner Napkin,

2. Rent stylish place settings

Give thanks in style by calling in dishes from a local party rental company (check for local sources). “You can have a new look for the holiday for a relatively low price,” shares Shepard, who opted for simple white place settings to accentuate the Johnson family’s contemporary style.

3. DIY the decor

An inexpensive can of spray paint and a selection of fall gourds from the grocery store are all that’s needed to create glamorous autumnal decorations. “In your backyard, put down some newspaper and experiment,” says Shepard, who sprayed the pumpkins seen here with a full coat of gold paint. (Valspar rose gold metallic spray paint,

4. Skip the huge centerpieces

Though towering vases of flowers and oversized candles can deliver a visual punch, Shepard suggests skipping them in favor of smaller centerpieces. “You want to promote conversation where everyone feels included and you’re not trying to look over the top of anything,” she says. “That’s why we didn’t use a big floral arrangement that someone would have to look around or aside to at their fellow guests.” If you do go for larger pieces, Shepard recommends crystal items, noting, “they’re see though, so there’s no blocking anyone’s view!”

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