Nate Berkus & Jeremiah Brent’s Tips for Throwing the Easiest Holiday Party Ever

12/17/2015 at 03:13 PM ET

Kathy Griffin
Larsen & Talbert

Despite their busy schedules as design gurus and parents to a 9-month-old daughter, Poppy, Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent manage to throw at least one party a week at home. But they have a short cut that can work for anyone: takeout food!

“It’s fine to order in,” says Berkus, 44, who recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of his design firm Nate Berkus Associates. “Just pick a place that you know is always good and pick it up or have it delivered.”

Then, says Berkus, whose new collection of holiday items is in Target stores now, “set it out in beautiful plates and bowls and platters.” The key to minimizing stress, he says, is to keep it simple and, of course, stylish. “Our motto is: Nothing’s uptight.”

RELATED: 15 Super Creative Holiday Cookies That Are Surprisingly Easy

And nothing’s red or green. The chic couple—who wed in 2014 and now divide their time between L.A. and their downtown N.Y.C. duplex, which is filled with neutral pieces that still make a big impact—stay away from clichés when it comes to setting the scene for a holiday gathering. “We don’t want it to be religious-specific, because we have friends from all walks of life,” says Berkus, who is Jewish, while Brent, 30, is Christian. Adds Brent: “So really, for us, it’s about metallics, mercury glass, the warmth of candle glow.”

“I like to use beautiful handmade things to change up the table settings,” says Berkus. For a finishing touch, he suggests using only white unscented candles, so the fragrance doesn’t compete with the food. “White candles work regardless of the season or event,” he says “When you see white votives that are 99 cents, buy them and hang on to them because you will use them.”

RELATED: A Christmas Miracle: You Can Now Dine Inside This Edible, Life-Size Gingerbread House

These days, the couple keep a drawerful, ready to lend ambience at a moment’s notice. “One of the great things about Nate is that the ceremony of serving a meal is very important to him,” says Brent, who hosts the  DIY show Home Made Simple on the OWN Network. “Now, having a daughter, you realize how important those moments are to connect with family and friends. It makes me want to do it even more.”

Tips from the Pros

  • Pick a Color Scheme
    “Stick to a palette of two or three colors,” says Brent. “It will feel much more cohesive and less like a holiday explosion.”
  • Be Prepared
    “Before the guests arrive, make sure the music is on and the candles are lit,” says Berkus. “You don’t want to just be getting out of the shower! Build in an extra 30 minutes.”
  • Offer a Parting Gift
    “Have an ornament that’s part of the table-scape that people can take home with them,” says Brent.

RELATED: 15 Insane Gingerbread Houses We Wish We Could Live In

For more on Berkus and Brent’s tips for the holidays check out PEOPLE’s subscriber-only Holiday Entertaining issue.

—Antoinette Y. Coulton @diamondtennis

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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