Jes Gordon, the author of Party Like a Rock Star, has put her party-planning skills to work for such clients as Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and Nicolas Cage! Now, she is providing inventive yet budget-friendly ideas to make your holidays stress-free.
Hold the tinsel!
Just because it's the day before Christmas doesn't mean it's too late to add some festive touches to your home.
To truly spruce up your abode for a gathering of friends and family, try these super-simple ways to add a sophisticated touch and dramatic flair to your home. (Hint: play with texture, experiment with color and keep it unexpected!)
Go Beyond Red and Green
Reinvent your version of what traditional "holiday" colors are with deep jewel tones and muted metallics that invoke thoughts of luxury, drama and, somehow, even winter nights. I also love the idea of using richer winter hues such as chocolate brown and copper. These sumptuous colors -- as well as deep burgundy, plum, peacock blue, or burnt orange -- are a fresh and more modern take on the typical bright reds and greens.
Let There Be Light
Lighting makes a huge difference! Nothing changes the look and feel of your home as quickly, dramatically and inexpensively as this. Use inexpensive lights, and try to get them all in one color -- I suggest white lights or a soft tone of amber. Even something as ridiculously easy as changing out your existing light bulbs for amber-colored ones can transform the entire ambience of your home!
If you prefer the natural light of candlelight, put masses of votives on every surface in your party room. To create a more intimate glow and capture that soap opera lighting we all love, use amber-colored glass. One tip: When using votives, remember to put a little water in the bottom so the used wax comes out easily. Also, point the wicks up on each votive when placing them to make for easier lighting time.
Dash to Dine
Make sure your dining table always looks "party-ready" -- even after Christmas. (To be safe, keep it in mint condition until January 10 as you never know who is going to stop by!) Always have a nice, clean linen or runner on the tabletop and create a striking centerpiece using unique, non-perishable elements that look perfect alongside just a few fresh flowers. One of my favorites is to make a centerpiece using peacock feathers, which will last all season. That way, I can easily add flowers or funky fruit like pomegranates to the mix when it comes time to entertain.
Embrace the Unexpected
Feel free to mix up textures. Find throw pillows and slip covers made from smooth velvet, soft chenille or faux furs and animal prints to add interest to your existing furniture. Bring in those rich tones with stripes or patterns, or stick to simple color palettes that saturate your lounge area.
After all, who says the holiday has to be all about pointsettias, fake snow and mistletoe?