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November 14, 2013

Thanksgiving design: A room that dresses for dinner

You're hosting a Thanksgiving gathering for the extended family. You want to set a table that's refined and elegant but not too fussy. A table that makes loved ones feel merry and comfortable. "Go for maximum impact with minimum effort, keep shapes and forms simple," says Susan Spungen, author of "What's a Hostess to Do?" and culinary consultant for films such as "Julie & Julia" and "It's Complicated."

Sculptural and versatile carafes, vases and platters can all serve as centerpieces. (Even better — they'll last through Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year's.) Then add natural elements to create an authentic mood. "When it comes to Thanksgiving, I use all sorts of fruits and gourds to decorate, because that's the way it used to be," says Camille Saum, an interior designer in Bethesda Md. Using well-made, long-lasting pieces with natural elements is also a way to honor an American tradition four centuries after the first Thanksgiving. So set your table, and then say thanks.

Ideas for dressing up your dining room:

— "My number one thing to tell people to get as a gift is the Oval Oak Wide Carafe ($38, www.tabletopdc.com) for wine," says Daphne Olive, co-owner of Tabletop DC in Washington. "It's so modern and so classic at the same time. There's not a house that this wouldn't go in."

— To create a centerpiece on short notice, "pile up some beautiful seasonal produce on pedestals," says Susan Spungen, author of "What's a Hostess to Do?" (Artisan, 2013). Spungen recommends Round or Square Pedestal Trays from Serena & Lily ($78-$198, www.serenaandlily.com). "These pedestals make instant centerpieces easy — just pile them with beautiful seasonal fruits or vegetables."

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Poll

Should the date for The World's Largest Garage Sale be changed from the third weekend in July to sometime in October to take advantage of cooler weather like we had this past weekend?

No. It's better in the summer cause kids are out of school.
Yes. More shoppers would come during nice fall weather.
Either time is fine.

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