You know what they say - it’s not a party without a great cheeseboard. Maybe they = us, but still. There’s nothing sadder, however, than a haphazardly thrown together “platter” complete with leftover deli meat, slimy vegetables, a random assortment of crackers, and an unidentifiable cheese that was just recently released from its shrink wrap (most of the parties we attend are in rec center basements).

Warning: once you become known for creating killer cheeseboards, that becomes “your thing.” It’s actually one of the key reasons your friends will keep you around. The good news is that it’s a relatively easy skill to master, so don’t give yourself any excuses here. Grow up, okay?

Start with a few anchors like cheese and large fruit and build from there. Don't neglect texture: hard cheeses and meat spreads, charcuterie and dips, crunchy crackers and savory cookies. If you can't find the right balance, move stuff around and start over - it's just food!
Nuts, pepitas and small fruit like pomegranates, berries and raisins are an easy and beautiful fix for any deadspace on the board. Dump those throughout to create some contrast between your cheeses and frame each element. Fruit in general is a cheap, cheerful, and a seasonal pairing for most cheeses.
Try to throw a bunch of different flavors on there and then let people experiment for themselves. Sweet and salty is a known killer, but who knows what other combos your friends will come with and give you credit for?
Don't relegate your cheeseboard to the appetizer portion of the evening. Throw the remnants on your dinner table and pick at it between courses, as a complement to your meal or as dessert.
Getting creative with color is the easiest way to elicit some ooh's and ahh's from your guests (or your dog). Try a rainbow board with fruits and vegetables or get real instagrammy on it and make your board ombre or single-tone.