TSG Tip 130

While we love a formally set table, sometimes we prefer to take a more casual approach to holiday entertaining. We turned to Charlottesville-based interior designer Jan Roden for expert advice on how to create a contemporary festive affair that still feels wonderfully classic; here are her recommendations:

Aim for abundance. Roden advises layering trays with cheese, fruit, nuts, and festive flourishes like sprigs of rosemary and orange leaves to create a bountiful display that people will feel comfortable approaching.

Keep things elegant, but also inviting and nurturing. Mixing antiques with modern pieces will make the table feel fresh and un-fussy, allowing guests to feel at ease grabbing a plate and silverware and make themselves at home wherever they see fit.

Play with your food. “I see food as an accessory,” Roden says. Rather than make a fuss about decorating, take your food and do something fun with it—fill a compote with berries, arrange oranges on a cake plate—to dress up the space.

Expert tip from Jan Roden in Charlottesville, VA.