Get inspired to reinvent your gatherings with tips from top designers and influencers in this exciting new series. Explore all these compelling design ideas below, and create collections that speak to your style.

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- Krissa Rossbund

Q&A with Krissa Rossbund

For this edition, we spoke with Krissa Rossbund, Senior Style Editor of Traditional Home magazine.

Q: Do you style your table by mixing and matching patterns?

A: I think the best tables are created when you give yourself permission for freedom, and that means mixing different patterns. Using the table as a runway, if you will, results in a "fashion show" that's as visually delicious and decadent as the food that will be served. As nice as it is to have dinnerware that is Christmas-specific, I prefer patterns that can be used throughout the year. The bottom line is: when I fall in love with a pattern, I want to use it often!

Q: How do you choose the patterns you use to mix and match?

A: There are some key patterns that I think work well during the holidays because of their versatile nature. Although it’s trendy to veer off the traditional red and green palette for Christmas, I still prefer a table that incorporates one of those colors - but never both. Emerald Vine by Mottadeheh has a delicate green and gold motif that reminds me of boxwood (the popular greenery used for holiday wreaths and topiaries). Also, this pattern mixes gorgeously with shimmery gold plates. Gold plates are extremely versatile, and can quickly make an appearance on your Valentine’s Day table - but definitely invest in more than just two! I like to buy gold chargers and smaller gold plates that can be used for salad or dessert to surprise your guests with a restaurant-like presentation. Plates like these are available every year, so buy and add to your entertaining arsenal next year if you need or want more.

Royal Crown Derby's Derby Panel is one of my absolute favorite patterns. Ever. In fact, for years I’ve been trying to figure out if I like red Derby Panel or green Derby Panel more, and I’ve had no luck picking a winner! A table using green Derby Panel makes for a “fresh” Christmas experience that begs for white flowers, Christmas greens, and silver candlesticks with white taper candles dancing down the table’s center. Red Derby Panel deserves a richer, deeper presentation. My answer to that? Mix it with black! That’s right. Red Derby Panel creates an unexpected Christmas table when paired with Black Aves, another one of Royal Crown Derby’s iconic patterns. Anchor that team with Mottahedeh's Black Lace service plate, and you're set. In this case, bunches of red flowers mix well together. Don’t be shy - go ahead and marry roses with peonies, and add some red berries for texture.

I have a couple of favorite white patterns as well. For casual entertaining, Vietri’s Encanto is sturdy and durable, and I love that the white is a true, bright white (whites vary so much on dinnerware). Plus, this collection offers a variety of coordinating patterns, which I also love. My favorite formal white pattern right now is Robert Haviland's Colette Gold. The scalloped edges are feminine, but not too sweet; it's super sophisticated. Last year, on a Christmas table that could double as a Hanukkah table, I mixed white patterns with vintage, pressed glass plates from Replacements! They were the prettiest shade of icy blue, and that blue-and-white table was wintery, festive, and beautiful.

And don’t forget that the holiday season gets a dazzling kick from metallics - having reflective, light-refracting materials makes people feel glamorous and special. Add both silver and gold accessories to create a table that’s not only suitable for the holidays, but can be used all winter... and even into the spring with the right styling (think Mother’s Day). Mom will be impressed!

Q: Talk to me a little more about your thought process when designing your table.

A: As someone who adores tablescapes and loves to entertain, I am always thinking about building my collection of tabletop and entertaining wares. Once you have a decent collection built, the fun is "shopping the collection" - like a fashionista who shops her closet every day. I feel the same way about dinnerware patterns as I do artwork: buy what you fall in love with. Striking an emotion is especially important when sharing a meal with family and friends.