The idea of entertaining has a stuffy reputation—one backed by china patterns, matching silverware sets, and floral displays so elaborate they should come with Claritin tablets. If only everyone had the chance to attend a Claire Olshan dinner party. The DADA Daily founder doesn’t take her tablescapes too seriously. In fact, she encourages guests to play with their food.
“I’ve always loved creating a fun, festive table for Thanksgiving,” Olshan tells us. “One thing I did last year that I’ll definitely do again is buy a ton of seasonally appropriate harvest vegetables and use them as decoration.” Think: gourds, pumpkins, artichokes, eggplants, cabbages…basically, whatever you can find at your local farmers’ market or grocery store. But instead of putting them on the menu, she uses them to DIY a three-part eclectic centerpiece.
First, she mixes whole, bright purple cabbages with tea lights and DADA Daily hand candles scattered in zigzags down the middle of the table to get a glow going. Then she takes it a step further, carving holes in the top of some of the more vibrant veggies and using them as makeshift vases. (Her favorite arrangement is eucalyptus branches.)
Their function isn’t purely ornamental—Olshan uses her supermarket loot as servingware, too. Larger gourds get turned into bowls for a medley of colorful dips; both bright pink beet and deep saffron hummus provide a sharp contrast against the orangey hues of pumpkins and squash.
All it takes to bring a bit of Olshan’s signature tabletop decor home is a quick jaunt to Trader Joe’s. She would dress up her produce with equally vivid linens from the likes of Loretta Caponi or Cabana, though if you prefer a pared-back look, she recommends simple white plates. “The table always looks like organized, delicious, bountiful chaos,” she says. “A little visual nod to what most Thanksgiving dinners feel like in their essence.”
See more ways to make entertaining feel fresh:
A Fashion Insider Schools Us on the Art of the Sicilian Dinner Party
Setting the Table May Be a Bygone Skill (But You Should Master It Anyway)
These Two Spanish Expats Have the Chill Dinner Party Down Pat