The holiday season is upon us, and so are all the wonderful things that come with it–delicious food, festive decorations, and amazing opportunities to entertain! We’re always looking for creative ways to both simplify and make the most of hosting, so this year we sat down with interior designer, product designer, and author Lauren Liess to get her recommendations on how to entertain with ease. She even shared some great tips for refreshing your space before the guests arrive. Keep scrolling to read the Q&A and get ready to host your heart out!
Q: What are your top three tips and tricks for holiday entertaining?
A: “First, having the best time entertaining is truly about your own attitude, so keep things simple and stress-free. Cook less labor-intensive meals so you have time with the people you love. Don’t stress about what anyone else will think! Make sure to have a good time and spread good vibes and everyone else will, too.
Second, stay stocked! I keep a fridge full of nice cheeses, olives, fruit, and wine so that I can entertain without having to do a big shopping trip (and so that I’m ready for last-minute visits!)
Third, corral other people’s stuff! A lot comes in the door with every guest–coats, purses, food, and gifts–and a house can quickly become a mess during a party. Prepare spots for everything in advance and have a messenger (I often use my kids!) show people where things go in case you’re not the one to open the door when they arrive.”
Q: What’s your number one recommendation to others to help them create a welcoming space for guests over the holiday season?
A: “I really do think it’s all about the host making people feel special and loved, but if we’re talking atmosphere, I’d say good music and lighting. Candles and dimmed lights–along with the lights from trees and garlands–can really make a place feel magical. Good music gets the energy where you want it.”
Q: Do you have a holiday entertaining must-have? If so, what is it?
A: “Yes! I’d be lost without my big wooden cutting boards and bread boards. Charcuterie is a staple around here, so I keep a variety of boards in various sizes at the ready. We do a lot of entertaining, and I’m often preparing dishes while friends and family are hanging in the kitchen. A big board of deliciousness is easy to throw together and will satisfy a hungry crowd while they’re waiting for the big meal.”
Q: Which rug(s) from your collection with Rugs USA would you recommend to those who are looking to refresh their spaces before the busy entertaining season?
A: “The Lennox Medallion Tassel Rug with its spicy red and natural tones lends a warm, cozy vibe to any space. The Myrtle Washable Vintage Rug has lots of depth and softness, too. Its beautiful, warm palette is perfect for the holidays.”
Q: Do you have any suggestions as to how to integrate holiday decorations and décor into your home?
A: “I like to bring in traditional elements–like a tree or garland–and add unexpected natural elements to them–like branches, fresh flowers, dried flowers, gemstones, and wood pieces–to put my own spin on things.”
Q: What kind of rug do you recommend for people who love to entertain year-round? Do you have a go-to from your collection for homes that welcome a lot of guests?
A: “I love the Sycamore Striped Jute Rug and Juniper Jute Tiled Rug because they’re so earthy and textural. They add so much to a space, yet because of all that texture, they’re hard-wearing and can really handle a crowd (and the inevitable mess that comes along with it!)”