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Designer-Approved Entertaining Tips

The One Thing Design Experts Always Do to Get Their Home Party-Ready

Sure, your home might be your personal sanctuary but, like all good things, it’s best shared with others. You’ve spent a lot of time and effort decorating your home to the nines, so you deserve to show it off every now and then. And what better way to do so than with a party?

It doesn’t matter if you’re whipping up a multi-course meal or throwing an old-school house party, entertaining is a great way to show off your space and hosting skills in one fell swoop. But before you assemble your cheese board and uncork that special bottle of vino, it’s important to get your home in the party spirit. 

To help, 12 design experts share their advice for getting their space party-ready. Turns out, you’re a few quick tips away from hosting the event of the year. 

Go Green

Table with flowers and a runner

Black and Blooms

“Nothing elevates a room like fresh flowers and greenery. A simple bud resting in a delicate vase beside the powder room sink can make the space feel intimate and special. A bouquet gathered from the garden or purchased at the floral market can add a pop of color and energy to the table. Even sculptural fern fronds on an outdoor table for a barbeque can be a simple, eye catching way to bring punctuation to the party!” —Marie Flanigan, interior designer 

“I love to purchase fresh flowers before entertaining or hosting a party. Not only is it a great way to add texture, color, and a wonderful scent, but it will help distract from any clutter you didn't have time to clean up.” —Ashley Moore, founder and principal of Moore House Interiors 

“My one tip to get a space entertaining ready is a little atypical and, in a happy coincidence, budget friendly. Putting a small (and fragrant!) arrangement in your bathroom is a really lovely and unexpected way to show your guests you’re going the extra mile. A bud vase works especially well in this instance—so you’ll only need a few stems. To pack an extra punch scent-wise I recommend tuberose, hyacinth, or paper whites.” —Christina Stembel, founder and CEO of Farmgirl Flowers

Don’t have any bud vases on hand? In a pinch borrow one from the kitchen. An empty beer bottle or olive oil bottle can make a great substitute.

Prep For Extra Guests

Contemporary black dining room with modern art and open shelving

Design: Liz Mearns; Photo and styling: Molly Watson

“Always have extra seating options available. Get creative with furniture in your home that can also double as extra seating for when guests come over. Ottomans and large floor pillows make for the easiest options to have on hand that don’t take up too much space for your day to day. Plus, they can be easily tucked away (or used) and then serve as a place for guests to rest when needed!” —Joy Cho, founder and creative director of Oh Joy!

Consistent Clean

White kitchen

Design: Pure Salt Interiors, Photo: Vanessa Lentine

“Entertaining is easy, if you’re prepared. Keeping your home clean by doing the little by little things each day makes it easy to spiff up for last-minute, drop-by gatherings.” —Danielle Rollins, interior designer

Tidy Up

Small bedroom storage ideas

 Sara Tramp; DESIGN: Emily Henderson

“I go around the house and open all of the curtains, make the beds, make sure there are guest towels in the bathrooms etc. I don't worry too much about how clean everything is, but I do concern myself with tidiness. Remember that parties inevitably make your house dirtier so schedule your cleaner for after your party and just make sure everything looks nice and decluttered.” —Jessica Davis, founder of Atelier Davis

Let There be Light


The Every Hostess

“We love to use all levels of lighting for our parties. We dim or turn off overheads, flick on lamps and light candles.” —Miriam Silver Verga, co-founder of Mimi & Hill

“Set out fresh votives with a burn time that exceeds your expected party duration. I hate to see flames dying out mid-party!” —Alison Pickart, interior designer

Terrific Table


Design: Neelam Gurm; Photo: MJay Photography

“For me, it's all about the tablescape when entertaining and getting my home party-ready. Whether it's a seated meal, a cocktail party, or a countertop of hors d'oeuvres, I love eye-catching platters, unique serving spoons, and artful dinner plates.” —Margaret Ash, interior designer

Rethink Your Room’s Layout

living room dining room emily henderson design

Design: Emily Henderson Design, Photo: Tessa Neustadt

“A motto of mine and at Society Social is that we believe you should decorate to entertain! After all, a house isn’t a home unless shared with the people you love. In that spirit, never hesitate to rearrange a room or space if it better accommodates your guests! Having lived in small spaces for the better part of my entertaining life, I’ve had to get creative from moving an entire living room to create a better flow from the dining area to an outdoor space to temporarily using indoor furniture out, and transforming a bedroom into a common area by disguising the bed and adding extra seating.” —Roxy Te, founder and creative director of Society Social

Keep it Cozy



“I like to create a comfortable vibe when entertaining. I live by the beach and love to utilize my outdoor space when having guests over. I always make sure I have plenty of throw blankets available for people to feel cozy and warm outside. A throw instantly makes you feel at home and creates an atmosphere where you can curl up, enjoy a glass of wine and dive into conversation with friends.” —Ariel Kaye, founder and CEO of Parachute

Bust the Beats

A home bar with gold pendant lights, a black tile-lined backsplash, and a built-in countertop lined with wooden barstools

Proem Studio

“Other than frantically cleaning the house and shoving all of that stuff I was supposed to take to Goodwill in the closet, I always put music on and put the wine in a giant bowl of ice. There is something so festive about beverages on ice, it always makes it feel like a party. Bonus points if you buy pebbled or crushed ice—extra fancy.” —Kelley Mason, stylist at Lulu & Georgia