For a twist on a holiday party, pair burgundy shades and creamy florals with modern table settings for a gathering outdoors.

Want to throw a holiday party that’s a step above the usual? You may think you need to go all-out on the traditional shiny, piney, or red and green decor, but you actually don’t. We spoke with landscape designer Greg Salmeri, who showed us how he decorates his Mediterranean garden at the holidays in order to throw a big outdoor soirée every year. He clued us in on his strategy, which involves unorthodox color schemes full of earth tones and deep reds, creative outdoor lighting, and lots of candles. Instead of tired mistletoe and poinsettias, he uses fresh seasonal flowers and plants like dahlias and proteas. The result? A holiday gathering that’s full of warmth without any of the over-the-top kitch that draws attention to itself and away from the guests and food that should be the focus of your party.

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