Guest Blog | How to Arrange Your Furniture When Throwing a Party

You have invited friends and family members to your home or apartment to celebrate a special event. You want to make sure the party leaves a warm and fuzzy feeling inside of each guest that attends the gala affair. You have created a delectable menu of appetizers, as well as stocked the bar with plenty of the most popular brand name liquors and liqueurs. Now comes the hard part.

You have to spend an hour or so strategically rearranging the furniture to make the most of the entertainment space where the party is expected to unfold.

Interior designers have different ways to optimize a party space. From opening up a room to ensuring the party room does not look in Martha Stewart’s eyes, busy, interior designers get the most out of any room in a home. One of the most popular furniture arrangement strategies relies heavily on a centuries old philosophy referred to as Feng Shui.

Here are some tips for arranging your furniture when throwing a party:

Move Furniture to the Room’s Perimeter

Just exactly what do the smiling faces on QVC mean when a room is too busy? The answer is a room has way too much stuff on the floor, as well as along the walls. As the most effective way to create a cozy ambiance that encourages interaction, you should move the furniture to the sides of the room where you plan to entertain. Placing chairs in groups of two or more along the perimeter encourage guests to take a load off and have a conversation.

Good Riddance to Coffee Tables

Coffee tables represent a tripping issue and with your party room full of guests, the likelihood of someone tripping over a short coffee table grows considerably. Coffee tables are good for placing magazines, not acting as spaces for guests to leave drinks and appetizer plates. Move every coffee table to a closed off room during the entire bash.

What’s the 20% Rule?

Let’s say you expect 50 guests to attend the party. If you follow the 20% seating rule, you should leave enough seats for 10 guests to sit down and enjoy the festivities. If you leave too many single chairs or dual to triple seat couches, you will restrict the movement of your guests.

Move the Television away from High Traffic Areas

If you are not hosting a Super Bowl or Oscar Night party, you should relocate the TV to a light traffic area of a room. Even better, move the big screen into a smaller room, place a few chairs near the television, and explain to guests they can watch whatever they want in the adjacent room.

Unobstructed Entrances

You probably have opened up most of your house for guests to move about easily. It’s a welcoming gesture that loses its luster whenever a guest encounters a chair, couch, or table blocking one or more entrances. Make sure to clear all doors and entrances of furniture to open up every room and yes, make the rooms look less busy.

Small Groups of Seats

We have already mentioned clustering a few chairs at the perimeter of the party room. If you want to make the center of the room hop with lively conversations, arrange the seats in small groups that accommodate up to four guests. An effective strategy is dividing the party room into four sections, with each section containing a small group of between two and four seats.

Break Out the Creative Furniture

The room where you decide to hold a party should not be limited to the furniture pieces sitting in the room. For example, if you have a beautiful sculpture or designer lamp in another room, you can move the decorative piece into the party room to enhance the ambiance. Optimize the most attractive furniture pieces in your home by getting creative with placement.

How to Arrange Furniture to Encourage Feng Shui

In Chinese lore, Feng Shui represents a set of laws that define spatial arrangements (like furniture) to match a flow of energy. Feng Shui is a list of concise suggestions to optimize a space both in how the space appears and how the space feels. Ambiance is a huge part of the ancient Chinese artistic philosophy, and Feng Shui can play an integral role in how you arrange your furniture when throwing a party.

Sofa

At the heart of Feng Shui is stability. There is not a better way to produce an aura of calmness than by placing the living room sofa against one of the walls. Make sure the sofa exudes comfort to maximize the Feng Shui tenet of security and stability.

Round Shaped Furniture

The spatial Chinese design philosophy frowns on arranging furniture that have sharp angles and corners. Sharp corners and angles designed for furniture create what is called “poison arrows, which direct negative energy towards a specific point in a room. Instead, Feng Shui encourages the arrangement of rounded pieces of furniture that spread a much more diffuse flow of positive energy that covers more area of a party room.

Single Chairs

Although a sofa positioned against one of the walls is a major principle of Feng Shui furniture arrangement, another important interior design element is to add a spacious loveseat and at least one single seat chair. The addition of a loveseat and at least one single chair increases the number of seating options for guests and thus, the new furniture arrangement closely follows the Feng Shui tenet of producing a warm, inviting environment.

Exception to the Round Furniture Rule

The lone exception to the round furniture rule comes into play after you arrange a loveseat and at least one single chair. A square coffee table placed within the perimeter of the new furniture arrangement allows guests to put their drinks and appetizer plates on an easy to access surface.

Finally, the goal of any furniture arrangement when throwing a party is to highlight the attractive features of each piece of furniture. By installing radiant Qi-Activating Lights, you can control the positive flow of energy that shines brightly on your most visually appealing pieces of furniture.

 

House Tipster




Color Story | Grown-Up Valentine’s Day Palettes

Leave the bright pink of your elementary school Valentine’s Day cards behind! It’s time to move on to a grown-up take on the traditional color palette. Between pink and purple is a whole world of color that fits right in for your Valentine’s Day celebration. Mix two shades together, pair them with dark colors for an edgy look, or add them to a lighter palette for an ultra-romantic feel. Take a look at the photos above for some inspiration.

 

Products pictured: Caprice Fig Tabledrape, Lindsey White Overlay, Round Beaded Gold Charger, Nova Flatware, Lucca Ivory Dinner Plate, Dottie Salad Plate, Linen Rose Napkin, Satin Fig Napkin, Brandy Snifter 12 oz., Empire Wine Glass, Sonoma Champagne Glass, Grace Silver Glass Charger, Jane Silver Dinner Plate, Lucca Grey Salad Plate, Smith Flatware, Kensington Aubergine Napkin, Peacock Dixie Goblet, Belle Wine Glass, Belle Champagne Glass, Satin Mauve Tabledrape, Burst Silver Charger, Platinum Dinner Plate, Platinum Salad Plate, Metro Flatware, Smoke Dixie Goblet, Sonoma Red Wine Glass, Ornate Silver Raised Cake Stand, Satin Ivory Tabledrape, Copper Organza Overlay, Satin Mauve Napkin, Ava Blush Charger, Victoria Dinner Plate, Marilyn Salad Plate, Scroll Flatware, Traditional Champagne Glass, Sonoma Water Goblet, Rectangle Wooden Planter Box, White Polyester Tabledrape, Caprice Fig Runner, Round Beaded Platinum Charger, Ritz Dinner Plate, Ritz Salad Plate, Lavender Polyester Napkin, Square Wooden Planter Box, Sprinkle Ivory Tabledrape, Lindsey White Runner, Cognac Luster Dinner Plate, Lucca Ivory Salad Plate, Cognac Luster Bread and Butter Plate, Satin Fuchsia Napkin, Ledge Wine Glass, Ledge Champagne Glass.




Trend Alert | Winter Weddings

Winter weddings tend to have their own unique sense of magic and wonder. A winter wedding also opens new doors for themes and color palettes that may not work as well at other times of the year. Whites and light colors emphasize a snowy winter wonderland theme, while dark and rich color palettes create a warm and cozy atmosphere. Check out the photos above for some examples of each and to get inspired!

 

Products pictured: Cornflower Polyester Tabledrape, Glitz Silver Charger, Jane Silver Dinner Plate, Platinum Salad Plate, Royce Silver Flatware, White Benson Goblet, Sonoma Red Wine Glass, Belle Champagne Glass, Linen Ivory Napkin, Rectangle Wooden Planter Box, White Polyester Tabledrape, Lindsey White Runner, Burst Silver Charger, Maui Clear Dinner Plate, Bistro Salad Plate, Gabrielle White Napkin, Kensington Pewter Napkin, Empire Champagne Glass, Belle Wine Glass, Sonoma Water Goblet, Gold Candlesticks, Metro Flatware, Phantom Dining Chair, Walnut Stained Farm Style Round Table, Burgundy Polyester Napkin, Burst Gold Charger, Satin Mauve Napkin, Maui Grape Dinner Plate, Ritz Salad Plate, Nova Flatware, Black Benson Goblet, Caprice Navy Tabledrape, Round Beaded Platinum Charger, Lucca Grey Dinner Plate, Kate Salad Plate, Satin Fig Napkin, Taylor Flatware, Copper Mug, Stemless Wine Glass, Sonoma Champagne Glass, Bistro Bread and Butter Plate, Delilah Cloud Oversized Runner.




Looks We Love | Christmas Décor

Christmas is just around the corner! Whether you lean toward the traditional red-and-green Christmas look or are ready for a new twist for your holiday décor, check out these looks for some inspiration. And don’t miss our recent blog on 5 Tips to Host the Holidays without the Headache for more helpful tips.

 

Products pictured: Felicity Settee, Bristol Plaid Pillow, Large Greyson Lantern, Walnut Stained Farm Style Round Table, Bristol Plaid Runner, Linen Scarlet Napkin, Glass Plain Gold Rim Charger, Victoria Dinner Plate, Dottie Salad Plate, Parker Flatware, Empire Water Goblet, Empire Wine Glass, Empire Champagne Glass, Gold Candlesticks, Georgia Ivory Runner, Burst Silver Charger, Maui Clear Dinner Plate, Maui Clear Salad Plate, Burgundy Polyester Napkin, Linen Stone Napkin, Scroll Flatware, Belle Champagne Glass, Belle Wine Glass, Emma Water Goblet, Copper Hammered Coffee Urn with Wrought Iron Base, Iron 3-Tier Tray, Copper Mug, Walnut Stained Farm Style Table, Linen Stone Runner, Round Beaded Platinum Charger, Platinum Dinner Plate, Platinum Salad Plate, White Polyester Napkin, Metro Flatware, Sonoma Water Goblet, Sonoma Red Wine, Sonoma Champagne Glass, Gunmetal Dining Chair, Vintage Folding Table, Gold Burst Charger, Jane Gold Dinner Plate, Marilyn Salad Plate, Kensington Pewter Napkin, Green Polyester Runner.




How To | 5 Tips to Host the Holidays without the Headache

If you’ve ever played host for the holidays, you know that while it is always fun to bring family and friends together, it can also come with its own headaches. Getting the house decorated and ready, preparing a menu and cooking the food, and the looming cleanup chores can be enough to overwhelm even the most experienced host. Luckily we can help with these 5 Tips to Host the Holidays without the Headache!

1. Decorate early (or quickly)

If you know you are hosting a holiday celebration at your house, you’ll want it to look as festive as possible! But holiday decorating can be a big task that takes a lot of time. If possible, start early so you don’t feel rushed. But if time is not on your side and you need to get the house ready within a tight schedule, just focus on a few key items to set the mood. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner, focus on your table settings and decor. If it’s Christmas, just make sure to get the tree up and hang some stockings. Once a few main elements are in place, you can relax and only add more décor if you have the time.

2. Delegate duties

Trying to do it all is a good way to get yourself overwhelmed. Be sure to delegate what you can and don’t try to take on every responsibility by yourself. Take your most daunting task and ask someone for help. From decorating, to cooking, or just putting the plan in place, your friends and family will likely be eager to lend a helping hand wherever they can.

3. Hire professionals

Don’t overlook the possibility of hiring professionals for certain aspects of the party planning process. You may not want to splurge on an event planner for a family holiday, but you can certainly hire out for stages of the process. Hire someone to come deep-clean your house, contract a caterer for dinner, and have rental linens and tableware delivered to your house to cut down on setup as well as cleanup.

4. Think ahead

Even if you love planning and hosting events, cleaning up can be one of the biggest hassles. Think ahead during the planning process to save yourself some of the post-party stress. If you are hosting a meal, plan early and rent your dishware, flatware, and glassware. You can coordinate a perfectly festive look and you get to skip doing the dishes entirely. Table linens and napkins can also be rented in small quantities, so you can take laundry off your to-do list. Opening presents can also cause a big mess, so put trash bins or bags out around the room before everyone starts ripping into the wrapping. You can also put a receptacle nearby for reusable gift bags.

5. Make space for kids

Keep the kids busy and reduce your stress by having a space specially prepared for your younger guests. Load up a child-sized table with games and activities to entertain them until dinnertime. Then when it’s time to serve up the food, help them clear the table, throw on a table linen and drop some place settings. They will enjoy having their own space for play and for mealtime and cleanup will be much simpler without those surprise messes throughout the whole house.

 

Products pictured: Walnut Stained Farm Style Table, Cross Back Chair, Lacquered Faux Marble Charger, Victoria Dinner Plate, Lucca Ivory Salad Plate, Presley Flatware, Caprice Fig Runner, Burgundy Polyester Napkin, Navy Polyester Napkin, Smoke Dixie Goblet, Sonoma Red Wine Glass, Sonoma Champagne Glass, Khaki Polyester Tabledrape, Caprice Tangerine Runner, Lace Cream Sash, Burst Silver Charger, Lucca Ivory Dinner Plate, Kate Salad Plate, Lucca Ivory Bread and Butter Plate, Royce Silver Flatware, Bubble Water Goblet Clear, Ledge Wine Glass, Belle Champagne Glass, Satin Fig Napkin, Linen Persimmon Napkin, Caprice Navy Tabledrape, Olivia Blue Runner, Round Light Wicker Charger, Charleston Dinner Plate, Charleston Salad Plate, Linen Robin’s Egg Napkin, Brick Polyester Napkin, Emma Water Goblet, Belle Wine Glass, Charleston Bread and Butter Plate, Lucca Grey Chop Plate, Cognac Luster Dinner Plate, Lucca Grey Salad Plate, Latte Polyester Tabledrape, Contempo Scarlet Napkin, Cabo Marigold Napkin, Fiddle Flatware, Amber Dixie Goblet, Brandy Snifter 6 oz, Cardinal Polyester Runner, Harvest Oatmeal Tabledrape, Lacquered Distressed Wood Charger, Contempo Cappuccino Napkin, Mason Jar, Beer Pilsner Glass.




Trend Alert | 4 Reasons to Serve Signature Cocktails

Offering one or two signature cocktails at your wedding or event has many perks, from practical to fun! Check out these 4 Reasons to Serve Signature Cocktails.

1. It saves money

Replacing a full open bar with just a couple signature drinks cuts way down on costs. An open bar can get quite pricey after stocking it with all the different types of alcohol and mixers you may need, plus all the different types of glassware needed for the unlimited number of cocktails your guests may request. By sticking with just one or two cocktails for the night, you only need to worry about the ingredients and glassware for your selected drinks.

2. It saves time

Even if you still plan on having a bartender serve your guests, having the cocktails pre-mixed will save time and allow the line to move quickly, so everyone can get their glass refilled and get back to the night’s festivities.

3. You can be creative

Besides all the practical perks, creating and serving a signature drink is a fun way to personalize your event! It gives you an opportunity to choose ingredients, flavors, and even a name that is meaningful to you. With some curated drink choices, even your bar contributes to the theme of your event in a way guests will love!

4. It is memorable

Speaking of guests loving your signature cocktails, having creative and delicious drink options is a memorable detail for any type of event! Charming signage and a brief explanation on the meaning behind your choice can turn the bar from a necessity to a piece of the story and a statement piece for the evening.

 

Products pictured: Mojito Glass, Gold Candlesticks, Martini Glass, Pint Glass, Emma Water Goblet, Old Fashioned Glass Straight, Copper Mug, Clear Bubble Goblets, Glass Beverage Dispenser 3 Gallon.




Looks We Love | Halloween

Depending on the type of Halloween celebration you are planning, your decor may vary from spooky to cutesy — or may even evolve into something else entirely with a themed party. Check out the photos above for some of our favorite Halloween looks for this year.

 

Products pictured: Black Satin Tabledrape, Manhattan White Overlay, Round Lacquered Black Charger, Rio Ruby Dinner Plate, Ritz Dinner Plate, Tiffany Plate, Red Satin Napkin, Smith Flatware, Black Benson Goblet, Ledge Balloon Wine Glass, Ledge Champagne Glass, Zipp Licorice Napkin, Black Satin Napkin, Organza Spiderweb Overlay, Loden Polyester Tabledrape, Chrome Bird Nest Bread Basket, Walnut Stained Farm Style Table, Satin Orchid Runner, Black Sequins Runner, Grace Silver Glass Charger, Ritz Salad Plate, Sage Polyester Napkin, Satin Fig Napkin, Fiddle Flatware, Smoke Dixie Goblet, Sonoma Red Wine Glass, Sonoma Champagne Glass, Caprice Mango Runner, Ava Blush Charger, Faye Dinner Plate, Cognac Luster Salad Plate, Charleston Bread and Butter Plate, Burgundy Polyester Napkin, White Benson Goblet, Leyton Loveseat, Austin Cocktail Table, Charcoal Brigette Pillow, Blush Brigette Pillow, Long Drink, Molly Runner, Walnut Stained Farm Style Round Table, Round Beaded Platinum Charger, Lucca Ivory Salad Plate, Sprinkle Ivory Runner, Belle Wine Glass, Belle Champagne Glass, Bronze Tree Cupcake Stand, Satin Fuchsia Napkin, Scroll Flatware, Black Chiavari Chairs.




Color Story | Something Blue in the Reception

Still need your “something blue”? It doesn’t have to be something you carry or wear – incorporate it into your reception decor! From cornflower to navy, blue can be a striking wedding color to showcase on your reception tables, cocktail tables, or bar. It meshes well with many different styles, so don’t be afraid to experiment until you find a look you love! Check out the photos above for some ideas on how to put “something blue” into your reception.

 

Products pictured: Ivory Polyester Tabledrape, White Chiavari Chair, White Organza Chair Sash, Empire Champagne Glass, Sonoma Red Wine Glass, Sonoma Water Goblet, Parker Flatware, Round Beaded Gold Charger, Lucca Ivory Dinner Plate, Charleston Salad Plate, Linen Nut Napkin, Delilah Cloud Oversized Runner, Dolce Slate Blue Runner, Ledge Champagne Glass, Ledge Wine Glass, Peacock Dixie Goblet, Metal Geo – Diamond, Small Gold Mercury Votive, Gold Candlestick, Walnut Stained Farm Style Table, Gold Chiavari Chair, Caprice Navy Chair Sash, Nova Flatware, Lacquered Faux Marble Charger, Lucca Grey Dinner Plate, Lucca Grey Salad Plate, Belle Water Glass, Belle Wine Glass, Belle Champagne Glass, Caprice Navy Tabledrape, Lacquered Distressed Wood Charger, Fiddle Flatware, Bistro Dinner Plate, Bistro Salad Plate, Linen Butter Napkin, Fairmont Banana Overlay, Cross Back Chairs, Cobalt Rimmed Old Fashioned, Pint Glass, Sonoma White Wine, Satin Champagne Tabledrape, Round Light Wicker Charger, Linen Indigo Napkin, Charleston Dinner Plate, Smith Flatware.




Trend Alert | Murder Mystery Dinner Party

Murder mystery dinner parties are a fun and unique way to spend an evening with family and friends, and serves as a perfect Halloween party idea. Hosting a murder mystery dinner party is also easier than you may think. There are many kits available for purchase (check out MyMysteryParty.com), and they come in all different types of themes, eras, holidays and situations — like roaring ‘20s, Hawaiian luau, haunted house, pirate ship, and many, many more. There are kits made for kids, teens, adults, and for group sizes ranging from 5 to 200, so you can be sure there will be one that’s perfect for your group.

The instant download kits have everything you need for the game itself, including character bios and costume suggestions to send out to your guests before the party. It also includes instructions for each character, like how they should be acting during the different rounds, what information they should reveal to other players and what information they need to keep secret.

Dividing the night into distinctive “courses” will help guests mark the beginning and end of each round without having to break character to make an announcement. Most murder mystery kits unfold in three rounds, which flows well with cocktail hour, dinner, and then dessert.

The first round begins as soon as your guests arrive in costume, so help them stay in character from the very beginning with themed décor throughout your venue. Keep the immersive experience going the rest of the night by providing food and drinks that also coincide with your theme.

For example, a roaring ‘20s murder mystery dinner party should be decked out in black and gold with art deco accents. Think big feathers, sequins and pearls. Stock the bar with mint juleps and old fashioneds, and create a classic all-American menu with shrimp cocktail, baked ham, and red velvet cake.

In contrast, a luau themed party would have palm trees and tiki torches as décor, mai tais and pina coladas at the bar, and pork, pineapple and teriyaki as menu staples.

 

Products pictured: Black and White Stripe Big Tabledrape, Burst Silver Charger, Platinum Dinner Plate, Platinum Salad Plate, Royce Silver Flatware, Belle Wine Glass, Belle Champagne Glass, Small Mercury Silver Votive, Black Satin Tabledrape, Gold Chiavari Chair, Glass Plain Gold Rim Charger, Bistro Bread and Butter Plate, Royce Silver Flatware, Empire Water Glass, Empire Champagne Glass, Black Polyester Tabledrape, Juliet Black Overlay, Round Lacquered Gold Charger, Ritz Dinner Plate, Ritz Salad Plate, Belle Water Glass, Empire Wine Glass, Black Polyester Napkin, Fizz Licorice Napkin, Gold Candlesticks.




How To | Throw a Co-Ed Baby Shower

Everyone loves to celebrate a little one on the way, so there’s no reason to restrict a baby shower guest list to women only! Co-ed baby showers are becoming more popular these days, but how do you evolve the décor and activities to match? It can still be challenging to plan a baby shower that isn’t over-the-top cutesy and girly, especially if you are expecting a little girl. Check out the tips below for some ideas on how to throw a co-ed baby shower that everyone will enjoy.

Decor

When choosing decor, remember that while you are celebrating the arrival of a baby, this particular party is for the adults, and it is for men as well as women. Instead of decorating it in line with how you would a kid’s birthday party, think more along the lines of a wedding. Keep the décor classy instead of cutesy. If you still want to stick with traditional pink or blue color schemes, try just toning down the bright nursery colors to more “adult” versions, like burgundy or navy. You can also add a masculine edge to softer color palettes by incorporating metallic hues, like copper and gunmetal silver.

Food

When thinking about a menu, keep in mind that the guys at your party probably won’t be satisfied with finger foods alone. If your shower is going to be around a meal time, be sure to offer a main course that will please everyone. Look into catering options or see if you can commission a couple friends and family to help cook up big batches of food.

Drinks

In most cases, the key to making sure the guys have a good time is to serve some good drinks. Try to have enough beer, wine, and maybe one or two cocktail ingredients on hand, plus a selection of non-alcoholic beverage options for any moms-to-be, designated drivers, and non-drinkers. Stock juice and soda for some refreshing mocktails, and of course the staples like water, tea and lemonade.

Games

Traditional baby shower games may be on their way out of style in general, but especially with a co-ed crowd. Activities are always a plus, but keep it simple and don’t try to force the “fun.” Provide some casual lawn games and if you still want to have a big group activity, think about games that are easy to participate in and not too cheesy, like trivia or fill-in-the-blanks.

Gifts

With a co-ed baby shower, it’s important to put the focus on the dad-to-be as well as the mom. This means you should open all your gifts together, so make sure to have seating set up for the both of you. Ask a friend to sit nearby and take notes for your thank you cards. Having another person on hand to help bring gifts to mom and dad and stash all the unwrapped goodies will do wonders in making sure gifts don’t get lost or accidently tossed in the trash.

Favors

Everyone probably has enough mini bottles of bubbles, and the guys at your shower likely won’t appreciate a bottle of nail polish as a favor. If you are going to give out favors to your guests, make sure it is something functional that both men and women can appreciate. Baked goods, mini bottles of alcohol, custom BBQ spice rubs, or even lottery scratcher tickets can be simple and inexpensive favors that won’t go immediately in the junk drawer.

 

Products pictured: Faye Chop Plate, Lucca Ivory Dinner Plate, Charleston Salad Plate, Linen White Tabledrape, Burgundy Polyester Napkins, Taupe Polyester Napkins, Presley Flatware, Beer Pilsner Glass, Belle Wine Glass, Belle Water Goblet, Sprinkle Blush Runner, Copper Organza Overlay, Mahogany Chiavari Chair, Navy Polyester Tabledrape, Delilah Cloud Oversized Runner, Round Beaded Platinum Charger, Lucca Grey Dinner Plate, Kate Salad Plate, Satin Fig Napkin, Metro Flatware, Copper Mug, Stemless Wine Glass, Sonoma Champagne Glass, Gunmetal Dining Chair, Navy Polyester Runner, Round Light Wicker Charger, Maui Ocean Glass Salad Plate, Madison Flatware, Teal Bubble Water Goblet, Pina Colada Glass, White Lantern, Copper Hammered Chafer with Wrought Iron Base, Cube Reservation Stand, Taupe Polyester Tabledrape, Brigette Bench, Burgundy Polyester Tabledrape, White Round Cupcake Stand. Contributing photos by Derek Nguyen and Ray Santiago.