Meet the Hostess: Melissa Rufty
Credit: Laurey W. Glenn

Hometown: New Orleans

On her plate: Partnering on a new vintage home-furnishings store, Malachite;

Every Southern dining room should have... Dimmers!

What makes a dining room Southern? Pressed linens, a few magnolia leaves, alcohol, and the inevitable taboo conversation!

Dining room palette: bold color or muted neutrals? Neither—I prefer moody, rich colors.

Dining room table: round or rectangular? Round. It makes parties so much more fun when all the guests can engage each other. And I can kick my husband under the table when necessary.

Go-to fabric for upholstering dining chairs: Hair-on hide. It's indestructible. Red wine? No problem.

Host chairs: do or don't? Don't. My mother always told me not to make guests feel different from you.

Favorite flourish in her dining room: My centerpiece. It's a once-in-a-lifetime find, and it looks just as pretty without the flowers.

Her silver pattern: Christofle Malmaison silver plated.

Her china pattern: I like to mix it up. For Thanksgiving, I use vintage clear glass plates and Wedgwood Florentine Gold china, which was a gift from my mother-in-law. I like to remain in her good graces, so I use it often!

Her crystal pattern: Glassware I've collected over the years. I try to dress down the table setting with a mix of glasses because my dining room is a bit formal.

Who's on her Thanksgiving guest list? Anyone who will appreciate my cooking.

Last words of advice: Embrace the serendipity of making what you already have work.