A seat for everyone

First rule of hosting: expect unexpected guests! Arrange the chairs at your table so there’s always room for one more. Chairs that stack are a space-saving way to have extra seats waiting in the wings. Mixing in a few benches means guests can shuffle closer together to create space. And when you’re done, push the benches against the wall for a handy spot to sit when dancing feet get tired.

Hang a summer garland

Think in three dimensions when it comes to decorating your table and add a display overhead. Tie it into the theme of the celebration so guests feel really immersed in the event. For this summer table, interiors stylist Ashlyn Gibson hung a garland of flowers fixed to string along the length of the table. Tip! Use artificial flowers that can be reused for parties all season long!

Two tablecloths create twice the drama

The table is the star of this show and you can make it shine with one simple idea – throw on a tablecloth. Pick fabric with a pattern that sets the mood for the party and everything else falls into place. Party time often means more than one table is needed. Make a feature of the fact by covering each table with fabric in a different pattern. Striking, fun and effortless!

“Relax into hosting by putting your perfectionist streak on hold! Don’t worry about things matching, you’ll find it easier to use what you already have at home – with a few extras added. And use textiles, they’re a fast, affordable way to create a mood.”

Think comfort first

You want your guests to enjoy their time at the table – and linger for as long as the conversation flows. So add comfort where you can. Pick dining chairs designed to hold you comfortably while you sit. And add cushions and chair pads to soften the harder edges of seating crafted from natural materials.

“Parties are about people coming together. Encourage a communal spirit with your table. Make it relaxed so everyone feels welcome. And think about putting big bowls of food down the centre of the table for you all to share.”

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