Monthly Archives: December 2017

Think Outside the Box: 5 Ways to Celebrate New Year’s Eve 2017

Looking for a way to shake things up for New Year’s Eve 2017? Consider throwing an outdoor winter party instead of holding a huge to-do indoors. Here are 5 New Year’s party ideas that are sure to make this New Year’s Eve a night your guests will never forget.

1. Take the Plunge

The Polar Plunge, that is. Unfamiliar with this popular international tradition? Since the early 1900s, groups of people in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands, among other places, ring in the new year by jumping into an icy body of water, whether a pool, the ocean, or something else. Want to give it a try this year?

2. Private Fireworks Show

What’s the worst part about a fireworks show? The crowds! Why not offer guests a front-row seat to a fireworks show in your backyard? Set up some loungers, comfortable chairs, and outdoor sofas. Bring out a pile of blankets for guests to cuddle up beneath, and celebrate the hope and promise of the coming year.

3. Stargazing and S’mores

S’mores are typically more of a warm-weather treat, so why not shake things up and treat guests to a night of s’more-making around the backyard fire table along with some casual stargazing? Pull out all of your outdoor furniture and snuggle up with your favorite people.

4. Snowman Building Contest

Is your yard full of snow? Want a party idea that’s inexpensive, unique, and will remind guests of those simpler childhood days? Invite guests over to show off their snowman building skills and host a snowman building contest. Once the competition is over, treat guests to hot chocolate and cookies on the patio.

5. Go International

Whether you don’t have the money to travel internationally this year, or would rather stay close to home, why not bring the party to your own backyard and host an international soirée? Try out some new year traditions from around the world. In Spain it is a tradition to attempt to fit 12 grapes in your mouth at midnight in the name of earning good luck. In Bolivia, coins are baked into sweets and anyone who finds a coin is promised good fortune. Estonians eat 7 meals on New Year’s Day to guarantee abundance for them in the new year. Do some research and take your guests on an adventure to anywhere in the world.

Get Party Planning!

With the right theme and a properly decorated winter patio, you can create a New Years party your guests will love.

Helpful Tips for Preparing Your Home for a Holiday Cocktail Party

With long-awaited work parties, fun gift exchanges, delectable meals, and annual friendly gatherings, the holiday season around Christmas and New Years can be a wonderful, joyous time of year. While attending these events is typically easy and pressure-free, planning to host a party of your own can be stressful- even for the most seasoned entertainers. By keeping in mind these helpful tips, both you and your home can be ready to host a cocktail party for the books.  

Flow Comes First

While things like music, lighting, and good company are important when it comes to throwing a festive holiday party, ensuring your home’s layout aids in a good flow is critical. By strategically positioning tables, chairs, sofas, and other pieces, you can be certain that your space has good flow and feels welcoming to your guests. Here are some ideas of how to utilize your furniture to aid with flow:

  • Sofas: Big bulky couches can pose a problem when hosting a party for a lot of people. They don’t provide much seating, and take up a lot of room. If you have a bulky couch position it so that it will take up the least amount of room possible and will leave plenty of rooms for guests. If you own a sofa sectional there are many options to create a spacious area for your guests. Use the sectional pieces to create multiple different gathering and mingling areas.  
  • Bookshelves: Bookshelves are good for much more than just holding books. This functional piece can easily double as a snack bar, drink station, or entertainment area during holiday cocktail parties.
  • Coffee tables: Though useful and functional for daily use, coffee tables can pose a bit of a problem when it comes to transforming your home into a flow-friendly party space. With large groups of people a coffee table can feel in the way and can be a tripping hazard. Try moving the table against a wall or against the back of the sofa. This way it is out of the way, but could still be used to feature seasonal snacks and Christmas cocktails.
  • Fire tables: Having a fire table out on the patio can help with flow inside your home. Ideal for entertaining, fire tables create the perfect gathering space for friends and family to enjoy warm, fireside fun.  With clean design features and dual-functionality, fire tables make an ideal addition to any backyard Christmas area.

By being creative and innovative with the furniture pieces you put in your home, you can quickly and easily convert a comfortable, cozy living space into a bright, flow-friendly place for holiday entertaining.

Decor Can Do Wonders

Whether you have an expansive home that’s built for a crowd or you are working with a smaller space for your holiday party, there are creative ways decorations can be implemented to help keep guests out of areas in your home you wish guests not to access. Consider hanging fabric or curtains to keep belongings out of sight or to separate places from the party area. Similarly, you can also get creative with how you arrange your furniture or where you situate drink stations, snack tables, and gathering spaces and, once the layout is complete, add tasteful decor items to make the area still seem natural, welcoming and festive.

Count is Key

Though it may sound rather obvious, one of the most critical components of throwing a memorable holiday party is to check and double check that you have all of your numbers right.

  • Exactly how many people are you expecting to attend this event? Consider requesting a solidified RSVP to help you get a final headcount for the party.
  • Do you have enough food? While some say it’s better to have too much food than not enough, you don’t want to go overboard in the preparation, setup, and expense, nor do you want to make your guests feel overwhelmed. Remember that, unlike hosting a dinner party, hosting a cocktail party means you can easily get away with simply setting out a few favorite finger foods and light snacks for guests to snack on throughout the party.
  • Do you have enough seating? While one of the perks of a cocktail party is that you don’t have to have a seat for each and every guest, it’s smart to ensure you have enough for at least half of the people on your guest list.

Not only does having these numbers help planning and preparation go smoothly, but it can also help to take away some of the stress that can often accompany being a holiday party host. Furthermore, by heeding the advice of these holiday party tips, you can ensure your festive gathering goes off without a hitch.

4 Steps to Pulling Off an Eclectic Living Room

Your living room tends to be the center of your home. It’s where you entertain guests, relax after a long day, enjoy conversation with friends, and even watch a little TV. No matter the activity, you want to make sure that you feel comfortable with its design and that the space itself feels inviting.

A great way to embrace your creative side and add your personality to this important space is to go eclectic. Your living room furniture can still look organized and elegant without necessarily “matching.” In fact, a little mismatch here and there can add an element of interest—something that speaks to your family’s uniqueness (without being too distracting).

Here are four simple tips to create an original and effective look that doesn’t necessarily “match.”


1.   Find a focal point

Mixing your furniture does not mean that your living room should not have focus. By finding the center, you can choose your furniture and your look much more effectively. Do you have a beautiful fireplace or a piece of art that will capture people’s attention? This focal point is a great place to start. You could position your arm chairs and sofa using this central spot. That way, when guests sit on your furniture, their attention will be brought to the focal point, which can be a great conversation starter.


2.   Think form and function

Before you set out to buy accessories, such as floor lighting or an area rug, visualize the layout (the form of your living room). You may find that after you add arm chairs and sofas you don’t have enough room. Think about how many people will normally use the living room and what you will normally use it for (it’s function). More doesn’t mean better. You don’t need to add a large number of pieces to the living room to give it personality; let the decor do that. If your living room is a small space choose furniture styles that are best for small spaces.


3.   Choose your color scheme

Once you’ve found your focus and visualized your layout, you need to consider living room color schemes. One option is to work with your favorite color and add furniture in its different tones. For example, you could pair up a sky blue arm chair with an elegant teal blue sofa.  Another option is to choose a bold color and mix and match your eclectic furniture with neutral colors.  Either way, make sure that you choose colors that mix well together.


4.   Eclectic does not mean “anything goes”

Just because you have decided to use a broad and diverse type of style, it doesn’t mean that you can just choose any furniture or accessory. Eclectic does not mean unorganized. In fact, it can look structured if planned well.

Make sure that you include a balanced mix. Visual balance is achieved by evening out visual weight and creating continuity where possible. For example, if you pair a tall legged mid-century modern sofa and a tall legged Victorian arm chair these pieces have visual continuity. You can pair thick and heavy styles of furniture with lighter pieces by balancing visual weight. For example a thick and heavy sofa could be balanced with one dense arm chair, or two armchairs in a less-dense style.

Your living room furniture does not always have to “match” to look elegant and stylish. Choosing different styles of furniture and opting for an eclectic look is one way to ensure that your living room is unique and visually interesting. Don’t forget to find a focal point, visualize the layout, choose a color scheme and plan carefully. If you follow these simple rules, your living room will soon become your favorite space in your house.

Living Room or Great Room – What’s the Difference?

Mid-century modern living room set

Whether you’re building or buying, the type of “primary living space” you choose for the interior of your new home is a major decision. The basic structure of western homes hasn’t changed much over the years – walls attached to a roof and floors make an effective shelter – but the layout of the rooms inside is constantly changing styles.

In the past, one of the main reasons for partitioning houses into separate rooms was to help with temperature regulation. Smaller rooms heat up more quickly because the walls contain the heat, and when a room was no longer being used, the source of heat would be removed or shut off to focus on occupied areas of the house. But with today’s more efficient and effective heating and cooling systems, dividing a house up is no longer necessary, which frees up our options when it comes to home floor plans.

With all of these options, how do you decide what you want your living space to look like? Many prefer the open floor plan that allows for a great room, but others enjoy having a more formal room to use when company is visiting – a living room.

First of all, what’s the difference between the two? And what kind of furniture is best for either option? Whether you’re thinking about adding a great room to your house, or just needing design ideas for a living room, here’s a quick guide to get you started.

Living Room Vs. Great Room

As mentioned before, the primary difference between the two is the level of casualness. Living rooms tend to be more formal and separate, with nicer, more stylish furniture and decor. They are generally for hosting important or less familiar guests. They’re considered a luxury because they’re meant to be a space that is always clean and ready for company – many times homeowners don’t allow kids or pets in them.

In contrast, great rooms are part of an open floor plan by design. They are generally more casual and meant to be used every day. The furniture is comfortable and inviting, the TV is often located here. A lot of times a great room flows off of the kitchen or dining room, allowing people to be in either “room” and still be part of the same space.

Choosing the Right Furniture

It’s important to choose the right type of seating for your space. In a living room, you may want to steer clear of large items such as sectionals, as you are generally working with less square footage and a large sectional would shrink the room instantly. Instead, focus on small sofas and arm chairs. Furniture sets with high legs are great for helping the room feel more open and less stuffy. Use Google or Pinterest to get other design ideas for a living room.

When you’re choosing furniture for a great room, on the other hand, sectionals can actually come in handy for defining spatial boundaries. The back of a couch is a clear border between the kitchen and the family room, for example. A deep seated sectional tends to add to the coziness of a room, which is exactly what you want in a great room. Or if you have an open floor plan, but still a relatively small amount of square footage that you’re working with, look for a high-legged sectional to keep the room feeling open.

With complementary furniture, you can transform your great room or living room into an inviting space.