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Celebrating at home

All Areas > Homes & Gardens > Interior Design

Author: Gill Greenwell, Posted: Saturday, 23rd February 2019, 09:00

In our celebratory issue it’s an opportunity to think about planning special get-togethers with family and friends. There’s nothing nicer than entertaining in your own home, and while it can sometimes feel overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be if you plan ahead and keep it simple. Follow my tips to take the stress out of entertaining and be sure that everyone has a good time – including you!

A warm welcome

Make sure your guests feel relaxed as soon as they arrive. Light up the path to your door with solar lights and create a welcoming atmosphere in your hallway with tealights and candles. Add that extra decorative touch with fresh flowers – a seasonal flower arrangement will help set the scene.

A welcome drink never fails to get everyone in the party mood, so why not create a special welcome cocktail or have a tray of glasses of fizz at the ready? I borrowed a huge silver punch-bowl for a housewarming party once, filled it with homemade punch, and it really got the party going.

Set the stage

Your house needn’t look like it does on a daily basis – create a special party atmosphere. Light the fire, clear clutter, light candles, and review your seating arrangements. Now’s the time to replace your tired sofa or invest in that cool new chair you saw, but remember your guests don’t all have to be seated, they just need to be able to move around easily. And always be sure to have plenty of side tables available for drinks.

A table dressed for guests

Keep things simple and stress free for your food prep; I always find buffets work best. Presentation is everything so channel your inner stylist by using interesting, different sized serving bowls and pretty platters. A tablecloth reflecting your chosen theme will anchor the look, and try adding some extra touches like bunches of fresh herbs, flowers or sparkly accessories. Don’t forget to check that you have enough plates, glasses and cutlery.

DIY cocktail bar

I’ve always thought drinks trolleys are so cool and stylish – and they are currently on trend. I love the idea of creating your own party drinks station as a focal point where guests will want to gather, and a drinks trolley would be perfect for this. Just assemble some colourful bottles and drinks paraphernalia and hey presto – you have your own relaxed cocktail bar!

Create a party vibe

To create a magical atmosphere, hang lots of fairy lights around the rooms in which the party will be hosted. And for that final touch, take a tip from the Chinese – they certainly know how to celebrate – and hang some colourful paper lanterns. I was in Singapore over Chinese New Year and I loved the vibrant red Chinese lanterns hanging everywhere, it felt so exciting.

Now that your house is party ready, dim the lights, put on your special playlist, grab that glass of champagne, and let the fun begin!

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