OK, it’s November already! Does this start a slight panic knowing that the upcoming holidays are right around the corner? We all look at our homes differently this time of year and wish we had more time for quick decorating and decluttering techniques to provide a welcoming environment for guests. But just as important, we want a relaxing interior when we just need a little downtime. The holidays can be stressful and we hope this article helps put the fun back into the social seasonal buzz.
Here are some easy entertaining and decorating tips that could make life a little easier this time of year, upcoming holidays and all year round, especially if done sooner than last minute. The latter just adds to stress and why do that?
Take an example from a party for one of the masters of entertaining, Ken Fulk, who’s also a celebrity interior designer. Who better to follow for some tips for making your good time great, as featured in the appropriately named, Let the Good Times Roll article in House Beautiful. This article stood out with our own New Orleans connection, but also picks up on the features that make New Orleans distinctive and a great party memorable.
Tip 1 — Music. It sets the scene and “the key element in creating an experience…” If you’re doing it New Orleans style, well it should be jazz — a genre that is fun-loving, most everyone enjoys and sets an upbeat background that doesn’t interfere with conversation. Here’s a side-tip, most folks have heard of the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival but if you go to Nola and want to experience something different and more locally known, as well as internationally, try the French Quarter Jazz Festival, with fewer crowds. 😉
Tip 2 — Give a Time Window by creating a sense of leisure in coming and going with a time range, rather than one set time to dine.
Tip 3 — Add some mystery. The party was staged at the Garden District home of Jane Scott Hodges, of Leontine Linens. She kept the dining room doors closed but then opened them midway to reveal the flowers, food and elegant evening décor of the dining room buffet.
Tip 4 — Create Anticipation. OK, we may not all be able to do this, but if you’re an artist, well you’re lucky because all you have to do is design and create a handmade invitation for each guest. Yes, it’s a most memorable touch but adds a bit to the stress. Even exclusive Mardi Gras Ball invitations are hand addressed but their beautiful, original artwork is printed. Our advice, use Paperless Post with artist-designed invites that save you time and money + keeps track of your invitees and their acceptance in the process.
Tip 5 — Set Up Bar Stations. You don’t want a line at your bar, right? No one wants to wait too long for a drink so set up multiple bars in each room. If you’re lucky like us, that might be only 2 or three, which we do for our annual Easter Brunch. It also makes it easy for guests to serve their own and less pressure on the hosts. Do it New Orleans style and have a “party in every room.”
Tip 6 — Personalize the details. Add fine, French hand soaps in each bathroom and break out the fine linens, especially monogrammed ones, if you have them. If you don’t want soap dishes to clean, we also like Michel Design Works foaming Shea butter handsoap. It appears that they no longer make the Neroli, which is our favorite, but it comes in a variety of seasonal and other scents and with a caddy if you like. This looks upscale on the vanity counter.
We like to personalize our bar station too with Faux Tortoiseshell wallcovering accents and framed New Orleans memorabilia.
We love the interior design by Gwen Driscoll in many of these rooms and certainly appreciate the near effortless sense of making it all work, which is quintessential New Orleans style, where everyone loves a party and the less uptight, the better.
Speaking of a party and getting back to Ken Fulk…Check out his website, where, you’re immediately the star party guest at his fantasy nightclub when entering his entertaining and engaging website, which we love! As a magical maximalist, his work is full of layers, intrigue and mystery, with every item having significance and conjuring thought-provoking reflection.
If you want a quick easy fix to your interior before the guests arrive for the upcoming holidays, you can always add self-adhesive wallcovering. It’s easy to install, remove and even reuse seasonally. You can also repurpose onto cabinet fronts as “inlaid” details, as seen in our previous bar-station example. This quickly and conveniently changes any look and sets the atmosphere for your entertaining to kick-off with a bang.
Share your examples on Facebook, we’d love to see! They’ll give us and others great ideas for concepts to try.