Take notes from this party playbook.

2019 Idea House Screened Porch
Credit: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Liz Strong

Our 2019 Idea House designer Heather Chadduck Hillegas has mastered the enviable Southern skill of always knowing just how to pull off a party – whether it's planned or unplanned. Here, she spills her perfected secrets for polished get togethers. Secret: Stay organized. Keep your pantries stocked. Always be the instigator of fun.

Be Ready and Relaxed

Whether the visit in question is planned or unexpected, "always keep beds made, and try to have fresh flowers in the house. If you're organized and at ease, then your company will be too," says Heather who much prefers simple clippings cut straight from her yard to elaborate flower arrangements. When you can clip from your yard, there's no reason to ever not have fresh greenery in your home.

Stock Up on Surprises

Once you've mastered the basics of maintaining a clean, drop-in ready home, copy from Heather's own party playbook: "Fire starters, extra wood, and s'mores fixings are always a good idea." Feel free to create your own signature move, if your hosting vibe is more movie and game night, keep old-fashioned popcorn on hand to keep guests going. If your friends know you as the pool party hostess, stock up on a delightful array of pool floats and a Yacht Rock playlist.

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Give People Space

If possible, separate the master suite from the rest of the house so that "overnight guests feel free to congregate as they please," she advises. If you can't change the floor plan of your home, then make a point to take coffee and doughnut orders so guests can use the bathrooms as they wish while you're out on the coffee run. Always leave a note for them so that they know where you are and when you will be returning. If you don't want to leave the house, wake up early and go walk the dog around the block during peak traffic time in the bathrooms.