Stylist, photographer, best-selling author, curator of an award-winning interiors blog Decor8 – Holly Becker’s name is a by-word for style and taste. Her latest book, Decorate for a Party, is the perfect guide to throwing a seriously chic celebration.
We caught up with Holly to talk festive spreads, well-turned-out tables and expert tips on DIY decorations...
What inspired Decorate for a Party?
This book was inspired by my life as an expat living in Germany – and how how parties started to take on a new meaning since my son was born. I began thinking about planning them more, wondering how to bring in more interesting themes both for my friends and for my son.
Could you give us three key rules for decorating for a party?
1. Great lighting – key – candles, string lights, overhead, tea lights, etc. Lighting should make everyone, and your food, look amazing.
2. Great music/playlist – sets the mood for the entire event.
3. Meal/snack planning + presentation – Consider your menu even if it’s just snacks, and how you will present everything. You can make wine and store-bought breads, olives, cheese and dips look tantalizing with the right presentation on your table or buffet if you mix with a nice décor – plants, flowers, candles, nice dishware, etc.
What do you always do to make your home feel festive?
Music and cookies baking in the oven along with tons of unscented candles and pine on the table.
What are your favourite colour schemes for a party?
I love copper with pastels, moody tones with brushed brass, brights with gold and purple tones with silver. Honestly, I like so many schemes, but I always try to coordinate them with my home décor so it doesn’t clash. This is also a reason why my dining room is very light and bright and the walls are Dimpse (light gray) from Farrow & Ball. It gives me more versatility in my party schemes.
What’s the secret to a well-turned-out table?
Having a signature cocktail for the evening (or a great bottle of wine), and a thoughtful table décor with a little gift for each guest on their plate. I love that moment when people see their little presents and smile. I like the moment when everyone toasts. It’s a very special time to gather with friends; we all need to do it much more often than we do – aim for once a month if you can – even if you can gather only 4 people plus your family, that can be so heart-warming!
A D V E N T B R A N C H
"White boxes and bags are stamped with numbers, filled with little advent treats, then hung on this beautiful branch with white and black twine. Hang securely on the wall with nails and some fine wire wrapped around each end of the branch."
L I G H T B U L B O R N A M E N T S
"Recycle light bulbs by turning them into ornaments for your tree. Some you may choose to spray paint (we used matte black on some of ours) and others you may opt to keep as is, especially if they are frosted.
Use a glue stick and apply sequins, glitter or beads. Allow to dry overnight and then twist copper wire around the base several times and create a loop for hanging."
T H E T A B L E
"With black and white, things can easily feel cold. Warm up the scheme with candles, texture and some pine on the tabletop. We've used a thin white blanket from Morocco as a tablecloth to add texture and some understated pattern that mimics snowflakes.
This elegant dinner party for six combines natural elements and thoughtful details. This event is not at all fussy and feels a little nostalgic for a life that is simpler and more peaceful. Fresh garnishes were made ahead for the drinks and special homemade preserves are placed at each setting for guests to take home after the meal."
P E R S O N A L I S E D T A B L E S E T T I N G S
"Personalise table settings with clever touches; wire bent to form guests' names; cutlery bundled and tied with velvet ribbon to add colour; or a name tag for the centrepiece created with your favourite chocolate bar.
Using a white piece of paper, wire cutters and thin copper wire from the craft store, write the guest name in your best script and then use it as a template, laying the wire against the paper and matching it to your handwriting as you bend and twist. Each name takes less than a few minutes but guests will love it because it’s unique."
For more stylish and simple decor ideas head over to Holly's blog Decor8. You can order Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring at the special price of £15 (rrp. £20) with free UK p&p. To order please call 01903 828503 ref QPG458.