Get your home ready for holiday parties

Chinggay Labrador, Pretty Does It

‘Tis the season for entertaining! This year, instead of eating off paper plates when you hold your annual potluck reunion with friends, bring out the nice dishes, even if they’re mismatched. This is the time for that extra special touch to show your guests they’re welcome into your home. Small changes transform your space into one that people can have fun in.

1. Set up a beverage station.  A corner table can work as catch-all for everything your guests will need—glasses, cocktail mixers, water, ice, napkins, a wine bucket and other accessories. The sight of a tableful of beverages with lovely drinking glasses on the ready instantly elevates any gathering. Add glam by using a tray, adding a vase of fresh flowers, or even some candles.

2. Bring out the table linens. It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to lay a tablecloth over a dining table—the impact it brings, however, is considerable. Even the simplest white tablecloth matched with cloth napkins can bring a bit more formality to any lunch or dinner setting. Mixing colors and patterns and thinking out of the box when coming up with schemes or themes can make your set up even more visually interesting.

3. Set the mood with lighting. Sure, not everyone has light dimmers, but adding inexpensive tea lights or votives to your home during a party can create a festive, moody, or romantic atmosphere. Using candelabras can also inject personality into your party. Antique-looking candleholders can offer a more traditional ambience while contemporary and colorful shapes bring you straight into the 21st century.

4.  Don’t be afraid of mismatched tableware. Maybe you have that fine china you got as a wedding present or special dinnerware you bring out when there are guests around. As you become more comfortable, it is also a good idea to explore secondhand shops for mismatched plates, or end-of-year sales at department stores and furniture shops for exclusive steals. Having different sets of tableware can help you create different experiences for your guests, depending on your party’s theme.

5.  Work with your table. You don’t need to invest in a 12-seater just to be able to entertain. Round dining tables can be perfect for intimate groups and small dinners, while long, rectangular set-ups encourage big group interaction with more private chats among those sitting next to each other. Square tables can limit guests to just four, but do consider that that may be just enough for a small space.


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Chinggay Labrador is a freelance writer and stylist, contributing articles on beauty, lifestyle and design to local magazines. Her background in architecture has her profiling trends and homes throughout the region. A travel junkie who likes to frequent Japan and Korea, Chinggay is the former editor-in-chief of Sparkling, a quarterly K-Pop publication and is also the author of “Popped and Popped, Too,” books based on the fun, frivolity and friendship centered on Korean Pop music.