Design Dilemma: Setting the Mood for Entertaining
It’s time again to pull out the fancy china and unwrap the quality silverware. Yes, the holiday season is here. Get ready for your brother-in-law’s bad jokes, your mother’s prodding about your love life, your best friend’s political banter. Are you up for it? And more importantly, is your home up for it? The key to throwing a great party is atmosphere. A party should be a riot of sensual experiences. You want a beautiful, regal table. You want delectable food and tasty libations. You want numerous conversation areas that encourage guests to open up and let their hair down. You want to create a feeling of the unusual, the special, the nurturing, the loving. So how do you go about doing that? One of the most important elements of all is lighting.
Lighting tops the list of imperative party accoutrements because it is the very first thing you notice when you walk in the door, and it continues to influence a party’s atmosphere during the duration of festivities. Stark overhead lighting is a strict no-no, providing a party with all the mystery and allure of a hospital operating room. Great lighting, however, can lend even mediocre food and so-so company a feeling of excitement and energy. So how can you improve the lighting at your next holiday gathering? Ditch overhead lights. Ban all overhead lights unless you can control those lights by dimming them, or unless they are special in some way. Which leads us to… Make use of strung lights. Lights strung overhead or around existing posts, beams and fixtures add instant panache in a party setting by diffusing and softening light. These lights can also be made extra special by changing their color. Who wouldn’t want to hang out in one of the settings below?
Use multiple lighting sources. Rather than relying on just one lamp in the corner of a room, be sure to light up at multiple sources that are eye level or below. Multiple lights will help a room to sparkle (that’s why you see so many real estate agents using this trick at open houses.) Turn on a number of low table lamps, and don’t be shy about moving lamps into typical party spaces to up the cozy factor. For instance, you might bring a table lamp into the kitchen during a party to make a kitchen feel cozier. Use candles. It’s the simplest and easiest way to provide soft lighting from multiple lighting sources. Check out below:
You don’t have to get fancy. These days, there are all sorts of choices to consider beyond your usual table lamp. In addition to string lights, there are illooms — balloons with a built in LED light that stays lit for hours, butterfly paper lanterns, sky lanterns, wireless lights, fairy lights and tea lights of every style and type. There are a lot of cool choices and they can all add something fun and unexpected to your next holiday bash. However, if you’re pressed for time or you have a tight budget, you’ll be happy to know that just by turning out the overhead and adding soft candles you can magically transform your party space. So dim those lights and kick off your shoes, it’s party time!