Happy New Year (almost) from this Philadelphia interior designer!

As you may have noticed…..all was quiet here at my blog-a-liscious blog because I took some time off amidst an unusually heavy design schedule for this time of year. Though I could have posted a ‘written in advance’ post – I figured you’d do well with a break too. However….now it’s back to sharing and inspiring! What better topic today than about applying great interior design ideas to help throw a great party…whether here in Bucks County or Philadelphia – or London. Use any of these ideas and energize a great party and evening – perhaps in time for your New Years fete.

1. Move your Guests through your Beautifully Designed House.
Set up the bar in living room – especially if you’re one of those people who feels that your LR is under used. If you are – then I didn’t design your living room for you. 🙂 Appetizers can be artfully arranged in the sun room or conservatory. Give guests a reason to ‘roam the estate’ – it keeps things feeling relaxed and lets the aesthetic beauty of your home support your beautiful evening.

2. A Snappy Powder Room is a Gift to your Guests. I’m sorry – but it is. Even if this sage wisdom wasn’t coming from this Bucks County based interior designer -truth is truth! I would feel that I’d let a client down if guests didn’t emerge from a downstairs powder room I’d designed room saying “Wow – come look at this powder room!”

3. Stage Dessert in a 2nd Location. After your lovely sit down in the dining room, stage dessert in the family room or living room. Be calculated and serve “easy” or finger friendly desserts – fruit, pastries, lovely chocolates – and all things non-gooey. Guests will lounge longer when nestled into your deep, beautiful upholstery rather than perched upon your lovely dining room chairs. Light the fireplace and prepare for a lovely ACT II for the party.

4. Be Artful with your Lighting. Lighting makes or breaks interiors – something every great interior designer worth her fabric bolt knows. Never truer than for parties. Use your dimmers. Consider switching lamp bulbs to pale pinks to enhance everyone’s skin tones (hostess included!!) and don’t skimp on candles.

5. Remember to Design your Table. Add cloth, perhaps sheers as runners, add chair slip covers with bows. Go for it Coco. Don’t over match your table ware – and remember that not all center pieces need be floral. Check out some earlier post on this — like this one — http://interiorsbydonnahoffman.blogspot.com/2010/12/easy-holiday-centepieces-without.html Simple guide for you if you’re new to the idea of non-matched tableware: If you plan to mix and match your china, keep your flatware and glassware the same. You’ll hit a homer.

6. Set Up A Formal Sit Down Dinner in an Exquisitely Unexpected Location. Try the 4-season room – move out the former furniture in honor of the event and thrill your guests with something new and unexpected.

7. Turn on Backyard Lights at Night– your interiors will seem bigger. As an interior designer, I use lighting to increase the sense of space for clients all the time. (Where there is light…there is beauty…who said that??) Rather than letting evening windows loom like vacant black holes during night-time soirees – turn on your outdoor lights to create a moody glow and outdoor view beyond the glass – and watch your sense of space inside expand as well. And OK my brilliant A-students – get super clever and light some outdoor votive or hurricane candles on that winter time patio for all to admire from inside.

8. Always Start the Party with an Empty Dishwasher. This is not design advice…but… good advice is good advice.


9. Consider Editing Furnishings. If you’ve never used an interior designer, chances are your rooms are over packed – particularly in your corners. Before that large New Year’s party consider removing a few extra pieces…rather than adding more seating. Edit out the small tables floating in corners and topped with decorative items; remove the quilt rack or the small chair floating by itself in the middle of nowhere. Think cozy conversation areas…or open space. Edit the clutter and you can create both.

10. In Design, (and in comedy!) the Perfect Numbers are 3’s & 5’s. Not so in Life. Necessarily. For a perfect dinner party where guests are sure to mingle and conversation flow, opt for 6-8 lovely individuals. Everyone will fit easily around the table, conversation will “flow as one” and the after-dinner move to the living room for dessert by the fire will be a breeze too. Know too many friends? (Ooooh…aren’t you the lucky duck?) Throw a 2nd party!

Happy New Year my dear blog reader!