6. A Chandelier That Outshines
This year, accent your light fixture by hanging ornaments from it. It took just an hour to hang these transparent glass ornaments with pieces of narrow ribbon. Other tricks to try: Suspend little glass vases filled with flowers from gold cording; wrap tiny party favors, and hang them from the chandelier. After the event, cut the ribbons, and present a favor to each guest.
Secrets to Casual Entertaining Provide inviting spots for dining. Hosting a party is almost effortless when guests serve themselves. Have well-set tables ready for friends to enjoy your scrumptious menu along with the good company. Here, the kitchen flows into the breakfast room that seats eight. If you need extra seating, set up a few small tables in the family room and place a small decoration on each table. Also, remember the little ones: They love to have their own table. Go with melamine, plastic, or paper dishes, and tuck a violet in a basket for a mini-version of the grown-ups' centerpiece.
Keep your table settings stress-free. Start with tableware that you have on hand, including everyday dishes and glasses, simple place mats, and colorful napkins. Use these elements in unexpected ways. Turn place mats lengthwise, allowing them to hang over the edge of the table. Tuck the other end slightly under the table runner so the place mats don't detract from the centerpiece. Mix patterns, stripes, and solids to achieve a high-end look.
Keep cool until the last plate is washed. Rather than stack used dishes in the sink, find another convenient place to put them. Partially fill a large cooler with soap and water, and carefully slide the dishes in (no sharp knives, please). Close the lid, and dirty dishes are out of sight and out of mind until after guests leave.