Sometimes you need a holiday from the holiday decor. Airy colors and versatile pieces make Michigan designer Kelly Ventura's party a refreshing reprieve.

A winter party can reflect the season without looking like last year's affair. Set aside the boughs of holly. Tone down reds and greens. And most of all, make do. Kelly Ventura's Michigan get-together does just that, escaping the season's bustle with elegance and ease.


For Kelly, who designs products for Crate and Barrel and West Elm, resourceful decor is key. "Use what you have and buy a couple of special pieces," says Kelly, who keeps a closet of go-to items she freshens with greenery, like the three terrarium-turned-centerpieces (below) enlivened with fresh clover. To make her table runner, Kelly used a foam brush to dab metallic gold paint onto a scrap of jersey fabric.


Focus on one or two aspects you enjoy, Kelly says, and keep the rest of your attention on friends. "Decor comes easily to me, but making the macarons would have driven me up the wall," she says. "So I had the bakery make them." The hand-lettered plate works as well for a wedding shower as it does on Christmas Day."When I'm designing holiday and entertaining products, I like to use an icon or graphic that lives beyond a specific season," Kelly says.


Kelly wrapped guests' gifts in inexpensive paper from Ikea that she hand-painted. They double as place cards when set on chairs.


Buying guide

Designer Kelly Ventura, Kelly Ventura Design.

Florist Susan McLeary, Passionflower. (734) 678-5192;

Artwork Cascade by Kelly Ventura, Minted. (888)828-6468;

String lights Custom, Bright Lab Lights.

Faceted terrariums West Elm. (888) 922-4119;

"Joy" 8-inch dessert plate Crate and Barrel. (800) 967-6696;

Macarons BisouBisouMacarons.