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We asked 5 experts to design the perfect Thanksgiving tablescape

Getting Thanksgiving food prepared on time and served while hot can feel like a minor miracle. And having to make sure the overall table setting looks gorgeous too?

Not easy.

For the record:
3:30 PM, Nov. 15, 2016

An earlier version of this story said Yifat Oren was co-owner of the event planning business Oren Cove along with Stefanie Cove. Yifat is founder and creative director, and Cove is a managing partner.  

But some advance planning and inspiration from the following Los Angeles style experts, you’ll want to step up your holiday tablescape game, along with perfecting your turkey and pie crust this year.

See the most-read in Life & Style this hour >>

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Organic table by the Novogratz

Thanksgiving tablescaping in the home of Robert and Cortney Novogratz.
Thanksgiving tablescaping in the home of Robert and Cortney Novogratz.
(Michael Owen Baker / For The Times )

Cortney Novogratz, who has seven children with her fellow HGTV design star husband, Robert, knows how to keep things stylish yet practical. “Things don’t have to match,” she said. Her “quirky” vintage souvenir plates from places around the world, for instance, “are a conversation piece.” While arranging an antique rustic dining table in the Hollywood Hills house that the formerly Manhattan-based family overhauled in 2014, she said making a tablescape is “about creating that love and energy.” Cortney borrows items from around the house and garden so “things are pulled and natural,” and she always involves the kids. To wit: hand-drawn wine bottle labels by two of their sons, Five and Major.

Modern kids’ table by Studio Life.Style.

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Wooden, disposable utensils, copper leaves, and a lollipop on the place setting are part of a kid’s tablescape for the holidays, arranged by Shannon Wollack, David Ko, and Julianne Goldmark, designers with Studio Life.Style.
Wooden, disposable utensils, copper leaves, and a lollipop on the place setting are part of a kid's tablescape for the holidays, arranged by Shannon Wollack, David Ko, and Julianne Goldmark, designers with Studio Life.Style.
(Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times )

Shannon Wollack and Brittany Zwickl of Studio Life.Style. put together the ultimate sophisticated spread for the younger set. Wollack noted that kids’ options should be “playful and fun, but have all the elements of the adults’ table.” A craft paper surface provides interactive opportunities, and the designers chose colors “without making them about ‘kids’ colors,” Wollack said. The interior designers sourced items from places as varied as high-end family restaurant Au Fudge, Paper Source, Nordstrom and online craft marketplace Etsy. Wooden utensils by Meri Meri are stress-free and floral designer Elizabeth Bailey’s succulent-filled white pumpkin arrangements add a whimsical and seasonal touch. 

Refined elegance by Yifat Oren of Oren Cove 

A tablescape by Yifat Oren of Oren Cove.
A tablescape by Yifat Oren of Oren Cove.
(Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times )

For Yifat Oren, less is more. “I love elegance and very clean lines,” explained the Hollywood-based, A-list event planner who is founder and creative director of Oren Cove, an event planning business she runs along with Stefanie Cove, a managing partner. 

“I collect all kinds of candlesticks and pottery,” she said. These days she’s particularly into Skultuna metal objects; brass votive candleholders from the Swedish maker are perfect for this occasion and pair seamlessly with vintage brass candlesticks and flatware. An “edited, restrained” approach allows all the components to shine, from the smoked bush leaves tucked into classic white linen hemstitch napkins to the stunning deep red peony centerpiece by Ariana Lambert Smeraldo of Lily Lodge.

Casual and eclectic by Mat Sanders of Consort Design

A tablescape by Consort Design.
A tablescape by Consort Design.
(Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times )
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Mat Sanders joked that he embraces an “anti-holiday” approach to the Thanksgiving table. It’s a claim that’s only partially true. The co-founder of Consort Design, the Melrose Avenue retail shop and interior design firm he runs with partner Brandon Quattrone, likes to showcase the unexpected. Lux/Eros studded ceramics are juxtaposed with Shilo Engelbrecht brightly colored napkins, and also put together with relatively neutral Canvas Home plates and brass flatware. (All are items sold at Consort on Melrose.) “Florals are key,” Sanders said. For a Thanksgiving garland, he recommends using greens as a base — in this case fresh eucalyptus leaves — and “add in the goodies for texture and color.” Making place cards is an easy and important way to make guests “feel welcome, and lets people know you thought of them.”

California autumn by Heather Taylor Home 

A table scape designed by lifestyle expert Heather Taylor at her home in Hollywood.
A table scape designed by lifestyle expert Heather Taylor at her home in Hollywood.
(Stuart Palley / For The Times )

Textile designer Heather Taylor has mastered the art of California casual living, including hosting meals outdoors. “So much of the way I entertain is being realistic,” she said. Since Thanksgiving is about bounty and harvest, Taylor adjusts the style and palette to be “a little lighter,” so flowers from Hollyflora in “dusty, earthy colors” help achieve this effect. “I love pulling out this combination for fall” she said of her Blanc tablecloth and Sand napkins from her eponymous company’s collection, which is all handmade in Chiapas, Mexico. Vintage brass vessels collected from local flea markets add more texture and ceramic cups repurposed as candlesticks by Josh Beckman of FBP Works provide the right “little pop of blue.”

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