How an Interior Designer Entertains

Known for being a hostess extraordinaire, award-winning Dallas designer Michelle Nussbaumer believes that a fabulous fête starts with captivating ingredients—and she’s not talking about food.

“It should be a multisensory experience when you come to someone’s house, from the music to the candles,” says Nussbaumer.

It also pays to have as much done before guests arrive as possible. “You need to be relaxed,” says Nussbaumer. “The more you can do to make things easy so you’re calm and cool—it will make your friends feel that way too!”

Here, her go-to tricks for effortless entertaining in her Dallas home (RSVP optional).Mix ‘n’ match the table

Your tablescape should be a vibrant mix of colors, textures and patterns, plus high-end and low-end tableware.

Fun fact: Michelle’s daughter, artist Anais Nussbaumer, painted the place cards. “Sometimes she’ll paint the guest’s eyes, and everyone has to find their place that way,” Michelle says.

“This is Royal Crown Derby China from the 19th century, which I’ve been collecting for 25 years, but the napkins are literally from World Market,” Nussbaumer says. “Mix it up!”Sneak in a quick refresh before guests arrive

To get pre-party ready, Nussbaumer heads to her Thermador under-counter drawers, which she installed in her master bedroom as an addition to her vanity and uses it as her own personal “beauty fridge.”

“I use mostly organic makeup, which doesn’t have the shelf life of other brands, and [my] beauty fridge is great for keeping it fresh!” she says. “I also keep moist lavender-scented towels in there, which are fantastic for freshening your face.”Make an easy menu

“I like to serve exotic fare—usually Moroccan, Lebanese, or Mexican,” Nussbaumer says. “I find they’re easy to prepare and those cultures typically serve food family-style, which works brilliantly when you don’t have a lot of help.”

She also relies on her Thermador 30″ Professional Speed Oven (which combines both a microwave and convection oven) to get Julia Child-level cooking skills in a pinch.

“You can pop in a tray of appetizers and it pops them out in no time!” Nussbaumer says. “I love that you can still be a part of the party while serving something.”Let your glassware wash itself

In addition to cleaning delicate stemware until they’re pristine, Nussbaumer’s Thermador Custom Panel Glass Care Center Dishwasher does everything from glow in different shades of blue to play music (yes, play music—when paired with a compatible smart speaker).

But it’s much more than a pretty face: “Glasses come out so clean and so fast, with no spots,” she says. “No more washing heirloom crystal by hand!”

“I call it my Disco Dishwasher—when you open it up, it’s got music and mood lighting,” Nussbaumer says.

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