This party season, we show you just how to throw one of those soirees that are straight out of a glamorous decorating magazine.
Interior stylist Hong Henwood from Affordable Style Files is the one people turn to to create a stylish living space. Naturally, she’s also the one to ask for tips on how to host the perfect house party.
Hong went with green and muted pink on a white base. “Pink and green combinations are very on trend at the moment,” she says, as they’re in line with the botanical theme and “jungalow” type of home (that is, a home decor style that heavily features indoor plants and natural textures and colours).
Pictured: Ivy Muse Nest with Peach Eggshell Pot ($185)
NEXT: Freshen up with flowers and plants →
“Plants are an inexpensive way to decorate a space, as blooms often cost more. Green leaves can last a long time as well,” Hong adds. But you still need fresh flowers to brighten up the space and add colour to it. “Buy flowers the day before so that you can arrange them, and make sure they’re in full bloom for the party,” Hong recommends. Opt for a variety; you can’t go wrong with hydrangeas, tulips, roses and small filler flowers like statice, gyp and feverfew.
NEXT: Prep food ahead →
“Sit down and write a menu and grocery list to make sure you have everything before the party. And keep unnecessary stress at bay by preparing foods the night before or first thing in the morning, if possible. Often, preparing desserts, in particular, the night before or morning of the party helps them taste better, as time allows the flavours to sink in.”
NEXT: Know your guests’ dietary needs →
“Make sure all guests are catered for, as there’s nothing worse than serving all meat at a dinner when some guests are vegetarian. Also, make a note of any allergies your guests may have,” Hong advises.
NEXT: Display your dishes on a separate table, or on your kitchen counter beside the dining area →
“This style works for us as when guests arrive, we don’t necessarily sit down at the table right away. We make lots of finger foods for everyone to enjoy first,” Hong shares. “It’s also nice to serve from the counter if you have a great array of food; but for a more formal dinner, food can be served directly on plates at the table.”
NEXT: Style up your serveware →
“Wooden platters and chopping boards help create beautiful displays for your food,” says Hong. It’s a simple trick but instantly turns simple plates of food into a gorgeous spread.
NEXT: Pay attention to ambience →
Once the food and visual decorations are in place, how does your home feel? The kind of atmosphere and mood your home emits can make or break the party, so you’ll want to create a warm, inviting and comfortable environment.
NEXT: Mood lighting is essential →
Hong says, “Rather than turning on all of your main lights, dim the lights a little and add some softer lighting with table lamps. Light some scented candles as well, and this will not only create a welcoming scent but candle light is always nice and calming. And then, put on some ambient music before guests arrive to build a relaxing mood.”
Pictured: The Luxuriate Candle Insert Nordic Potion ($59)
NEXT: Prepare a bar area at or near the entrance of your home →
Welcome your guests and help them feel at ease. “Have a glass of champagne ready to serve chilled once your guests enter. This will help create a lovely mood,” Hong says.
Pictured: Sweet Pea II By Kimmy Hogan ($410)
NEXT: Wind down in the living room →
When the meal is over, encourage your guests to continue conversation in the living room where they can sit back and get more relaxed. Hong adds, “We often put on music, serve more wine and move into the living area.”
NEXT: Pick a colour scheme of around three colours →
By Elizabeth Liew, The Singapore Women’s Weekly, December 2017
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