Party Spaces

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Redecorating your interior with fresh new colours and design ideas creates entertaining options

Avoid major decorating overhauls like new flooring, paint or furniture. Creating a space for cocktail parties, tea gatherings and special occasions can be as simple as utilising colours and accessories you already have.

Starting point

An interior decorator will tell you to achieve high impact change by switching out your accessories room by room. A good place to start is the living room because that is the space we usually entertain in. For a fresh look swap artwork and textiles from your bedroom. Bedroom curtains can now be in your living room and work with softer colours and styles. Add mirrors and more lighting to brighten and enlarge the space. Add reflective large vases made of crystal or cut glass filled with bright flowers.

If you have a tired-looking, gloomy sofa, buy a bright new throw to toss over it. Oranges, yellows and reds add a warm buzz while elegant beige/white neutrals pair with most paintings and artwork.

Theme and colour

What are your travel souvenirs doing in the closet? Take the good ones out, dust them and place them strategically on coffee and side tables, shelves and dining tables. Have a theme like exotic Asia with your Balinese and Thai items. Or oriental zen with your Japanese ones. You can even play around with bamboo floor mats, carpets, rugs and wall hangings. Follow up with little water features, exotic plants and porcelain.

Use a colour wheel you can find online. Complimentary colours are found opposite each other, while dominant and accent colours appear side-by-side on the wheel. It’s a great tool that will help ensure your success.

If you plan to hang paintings or posters make sure they harmonise with your flooring, walls and furniture. Black and white photography works go well with almost every colour scheme and decor feature.

Red increases blood pressure, heartbeat and energy in most people. It instils feelings of intimacy and passion. Red also increases the appetite, which explains why it is used so often in restaurants, and why it can be a good choice for a formal dining room.

Orange tends to warm a room but in a more friendly and welcoming way. As a result, paints in various shades and tints of orange work well in living rooms and family rooms.

Yellow is also warm and welcoming, but it is more attention-getting than either red or orange. For this reason, it is a good paint colour to use in poorly lit foyers or dark hallways.

Blue, which is part of the cool colour palette, makes us feel calm and tranquil, so it is ideal for use in bedrooms. But since blue works as an appetite suppressant (perhaps because there are few blue foods) it is not the best option for a dining room … unless you’re on a diet.

Green is another relaxing colour that is much more versatile than blue. Light greens are ideal for bedrooms and living rooms; mid tones are good for kitchens and dining rooms (many foods are green). Also, because green is calming, it is often used in hospitals, workplaces and schools.

Cocktail and bar space

You don’t need a lot of space to create your own bar at home. Just a little cupboard or shelf at the corner near your dining area will work. The important thing is to stock up on essential items. Now you can come home to a nice whiskey on the rocks or an ice cold margarita – all at your fingertips. Won’t your friends be impressed!

Basic liquors – Start with the basic liquors used in the majority of drinks by buying the spirits in 750 ml bottles: rum, vodka, tequila, bourbon, gin, vermouth, Campari, brandy, whiskey, an assortment of liqueurs (Baileys, lychee, cassis, Grand Marnier, etc) popular with you and your friends. All these are expensive so start off with a few at a time. Take advantage of Duty-Free on your travels.

Mixers – add flavour and flair to drinks. Getting all the mixers at once may be too pricey, so start off with the ones you use most often. The basic mixers are: cola (diet and regular), ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, club soda, tonic water, orange, lime, lemon, pineapple, cranberry, grapefruit and tomato juices, also Mott’s Clamato juice.

Garnish – is for great presentation. A few basic garnishes: sugar, salt, pepper, cinnamon, maraschino cherries, olives, cocktail onions, celery stalks, orange, lemon, and lime slices or wedges; Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, Angostura bitters, and Cassis. It’s not necessary to have all these garnishes on hand all the time. Many you’ll find in your kitchen all ready; purchase the rest as the need arises.

Barspoon – The barspoon is used for stirring and measuring ingredients so it’s very important to have on hand. It can also be used to crush ingredients before adding them. Made of stainless steel, the barspoon is usually about ten inches long and holds 1/6 ounce of liquid or one teaspoon.

A can/bottle – Also a must for a home bar is a good paring knife and cutting board to slice fruit and cut up ingredients. A corkscrew is a must-have tool to open bottles of wine. Finding the perfect corkscrew for you means searching the wide array of prices and styles.

Measure or jigger – Just pouring in the amount of liquor that you think looks good will not make a delicious drink. It’s important to have a stainless steel jigger which is one and a half oz or 50 ml on one end with the other end, called a pony holding three-quarter oz or 25 ml. A glass jigger generally holds 1 oz or 2 tablespoons.

Shaker – There are two styles, the Boston shaker and the Cobbler shaker. The Boston shaker consists of two parts, a glass that holds about 500 ml and a metal container that holds around 900 ml. The two fit snuggly together creating a seal for shaking the ingredients. The Cobbler shaker is actually three pieces: a steel tumbler, a lid, and a small cap that fits over the lid with a built-in strainer. You’ll find this shaker in most kitchen shops.

Glasses – You may want to include stir sticks, cocktail napkins, and a large pitcher as part of your bar paraphernalia. Three types of glasses such as the highball glass, the old-fashioned glass, and stemmed cocktail glasses, all basics, are a good start to a collection of glassware. Learn what type of glass goes with what type of drink. A gin tonic, for example, is served in a collins glass which is tall and straight.

Get your entertaining space ready with these simple ideas and impress your guests.

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