Learn to Decorate Amazing Holiday Tables with This Former Target Design Director

For Jason Berke, a styling expert based in Minneapolis, setting the table isn’t a chore. It’s an opportunity for creativity.

Some people might call Jason Berke's work styling, but he prefers the term atmospherist, because it's really all about creating a mood. The former home design director at Target chronicles his room and tabletop projects on Instagram (@warmhousestory).

Jason Berke with tropical themed wallpaper behind him
Jason Berke. Shelly Mosman

"It is my goal to create a whimsical, unexpected experience," he says, "so guests feel like they've found the secret garden or opened the door to Willy Wonka's world of delights." (Just scrolling his lavish, imaginative feed feels a little that way!)

Jason Berke holiday tablescape
Jason Berke tablescape. Wing Ho @canarygray

But even the most elaborate settings offer takeaways for your own holiday table: Tie napkins with velvet ribbon. Plant a "taper garden" of mismatched candles. Or, sweetest of all, tuck short, handwritten notes under guests' plates.

Here, in his words, are more of his favorite tricks:

Holiday tablescape by Jason Berke
Jason Berke tablescape. Wing Ho @canarygray

"Do you celebrate multiple holidays in your home? Consider giving your traditions a twist! Color can be one way to unify all of your decor and serve as a fresh take on the winter holidays. Pink, amber, ink and winter whites can each serve as a foundation color for your home decor and table settings. These alternatives to red and green or royal blue and silver can push your creativity to a new level. Sprinkle in greens native to your area (beyond just evergreens) and watch a look come to life that is uniquely you!"

Tablescape of small plates by Jason Berke
Jason Berke tablescape. Wing Ho @canarygray

"Having a small gathering for four or six people? Don't miss out on sharing a variety of treats! Consider your table a tasting menu with smaller presentations of various festive foods. Creating a table full of small plates can be great fun and let your holiday guests go on a sweet and savory journey with you. They will feel cared for and well-considered."

"Do your live evergreens wilt or do you not like the use of plastic in faux greenery? Try using dried and preserved botanicals. Preserved evergreens can be found from growers across the region and last several years if well stored. Use dried florals that come in many colors to accent your displays of nature. Strawflowers, amaranth, hydrangea, and celosia are all fantastic options to bring a pop of color and last the season long!"

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