JONATHAN ADLER

The man behind a much-imitated line of retro-modern home goods gives his tips on how to be a stylish host.

Photo by Dan Hallman/Corbis Outline

The man behind a much-imitated line of retro-modern home goods gives his tips on how to be a stylish host.

Q: What mistakes do men make when they entertain?

A:They try to make [the setting] too masculine—and they equate masculinity with somberness. That looks sad when you're throwing a party. You can't use plain white everything.

Q: So what do you recommend instead?

A: You should always try to avoid formality, so your tableware should be casual and a little whatever-ish. It shouldn't all match or be from the same store. The key is making it look like you didn't try.

Q: How do you feel about using flowers?

A: They can work if you go with graphic varie­ties like poppies or Gerber daisies. No baby's breath unless you want to feel like you're in some kind of soft-core, Victorian porn. Monica Khemsurov

For tips on where to find the best in furniture design, check out our story on the new wave of boutique auction houses.

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