Thanksgiving is a time for family-focused events at home. Prepare your house for another memorable family gathering with holiday decorations. Let Minnesota-based interior designer Kathryn Johnson help you decorate your home for Thanksgiving.

Kathryn Johnson Interiors, Inc.
4205 Minnesota Lane N.
Minneapolis, MN 55446
(612) 423-5014

“Being raised in a rural setting my senses come alive at this time of year,” says Kathryn. “Mother Nature is in her full glory. It is easy to glean inspiration from all that is around us.” These modest though imaginative ideas have been pleasing clients for more than 30 years. You may have seen Johnson’s interiors in local and national books, as well as her quotes in local magazines. She is an active member of The American Society of Interior Designers. Here are five tips to get you started this fall.

Go Natural

All things natural are in abundance at this time of year, so take advantage of the final offerings at your farmers market. Stock up on field flowers that can be dried and gourds and pumpkins that will keep in a cool dry place. Gourds look great in bright solid color bowls. Loosely weave brightly colored ribbon among the gourds or set them in a nest of raffia for added interest. Tucking dried flowers in a ribbon tied around a napkin is an effective way to create a napkin ring and experience the beauty of nature at your table. Save your most beautiful pumpkin for your table setting. Place it on a round placemat, set it on a cake stand and surround the pumpkin with tiny votives filled with tea candles or mum sprigs.

Hint: First wash the pumpkin and lightly rub it with olive oil to give it a fresh shine.

Break The Rules

“Remembering family gatherings from Thanksgivings past always cue lively conversation with present guests. With this in mind, consider resurrecting some of the heirlooms from Grandmother’s table settings and placing them as “guests of honor” on your table. If the dishes do not coordinate with your settings, use the bowls for centerpiece vases.”
Hint: Have a dessert table where you offer several dessert items on different sized antique serving pieces. Cut slivers of pie samplings for the small plates or fill teacups with petite ginger cookies.

Think Texture

“Table linens and napkins are your backdrops. Organic textures such as burlaps, raw linen and coarse plaids are beautiful when layered. Start with a linen tablecloth, followed by a burlap runner and finish with plaid napkins. Alternatively, use hounds tooth napkins instead of the plaid for a monotone blend. This play of textures is very rich.”

Hint:  Remember your plate colors and flatware when introducing new linens. Elegant and rustic can be a tricky mix to pull off successfully. Do not be afraid to experiment.

Related: Ask A Minnesota Fashionista: Hottest Fall 2015 Fashion Trends

Remember The Out-Of-Doors

“One of my favorite outside décor ideas is to create oversized presents in my front yard using straw bales. Buy brightly colored plaid fabric, cut it into eight-inch strips and tie the fabric strips around the bale as if it was ribbon. Finish with a gorgeous bow on top with the same plaid strips, and set pumpkins around the straw bale “present” for the final touch.”

Hint: Make sure the bales are the bright yellow straw, not green hay bales, and use contrasting fabric/ribbon that will stand out against the yellow straw.

Create The Unexpected

“Feathers, fall leaves and pretty stones everywhere. I love the collections my grandchildren gather when we walk through the park. I have a large metal tray with small pottery bowls on my coffee table — just their height. They add to the bowls and occasionally take an item for their own pockets, but the collection is constantly changing. I currently have bowls full of stones, pheasant feathers and pretty, orange maple leaves sitting on the tray. Although my collection sits out year-round many of the items easily transition into a Thanksgiving decoration. I will set miniature pumpkins and acorns in the midst of the bowls and strategically place the feathers in fall centerpieces and wreaths.”

Hint: Create the unexpected. It is the element of discovery that delights your guest.

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Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at