How to Ensure Your Guests Look Their Best at Your Next Holiday Party

You’re excited to host a few holiday gatherings this season and your lists of things to do to get ready is growing. Of course you want to get the food and drinks just right. Your list may also include sprucing up your decor with a few new pieces before you decorate your house for the season. One final thing you should consider, which may not be on your list, is your lighting.

Lighting is often overlooked in home decor because it’s just there. It turns on, it turns off and you can see. What you haven’t considered is that you likely don’t have the right light in the right places, which means it may be tough for guests to see the wonderful food you made, get a good luck at the bar for pouring a drink and it also means your guests likely won’t look and feel their best.

This isn’t really about vanity, it’s about feeling great. Lighting sets a mood for a party and the way your guests look and feel contributes to that mood. If they can easily see other guests it increases interactions, connections and good vibes. With this in mind let’s take a look at my lighting tips for your next party and beyond!

If you remember “TADA” you’ll be on your way to getting your lighting just right.

 {Table lamps offer light where these homeowners need it - at eye level. Design by  April Force Pardoe Interiors .}

{Table lamps offer light where these homeowners need it - at eye level. Design by April Force Pardoe Interiors.}

Task lighting - this type of lighting is geared toward performing a task. A desk lamp, a reading light, and under cabinet lighting in a kitchen are all examples of task lighting. If you have a bar area set up for your party make sure it’s well lit for the task at hand — pouring drinks. If you have upper cabinets consider adding an under cabinet light strip. These can be hardwired, plugged in or there are battery-operated options available. 

Ambient lighting - this is type of light illuminates the entire room. It’s general lighting and is often a ceiling light in the center of a space or a chandelier at an entry. This shouldn’t be the only type of lighting in a room, as it’s usually not enough light, but this is where a lot of people begin and end their lighting story.

Decorative lighting - this type of lighting can be very functional, but it’s also meant to be beautiful and a focal point. For example, wall sconces can add great light to a room but can also be small art pieces. Pendants over a kitchen island serve a great function, but if you select a show-stopping fixture they will also be decorative. They are like jewelry in a room.

 {This custom bookcase was designed to show off the clients Inuit art collection. Proper lighting was key and we consulted with the Smithsonian to ensure we have the proper type of lighting to enhance these stone sculptures! Design by  April Force Pardoe Interiors .}

{This custom bookcase was designed to show off the clients Inuit art collection. Proper lighting was key and we consulted with the Smithsonian to ensure we have the proper type of lighting to enhance these stone sculptures! Design by April Force Pardoe Interiors.}

Accent lighting - this lighting is intended to accent at item such as wall art or decorative pieces on shelves. The key is to show off the item, not the light source. The fixture is not the star of the show. 

The best lit rooms have several layers of lighting to illuminate the spaces, minimize shadows, provide warmth and illuminate what needs to be seen and done! If you want to make a few quick lighting updates before your party, but don’t have time to hire an electrician, here are a few things you can do now, in a living space, to enhance a party and your guests.

  • Add lamps to your side tables. If your room only has an overhead light it’s not enough! Lamps are great for providing light at eye level, where guests are sitting and interacting. If you can find lamps with three-way light switch that’s ideal for setting a mood. If you don’t have a side table next to a seating area, consider adding a floor lamp if it work with your traffic flow. The lower level of light really makes an impact on a room.

  • Add uplights to dark corners. These are simple, not-to-be-seen, lights that help illuminate dark corners by flooding the ceiling with light.

  • Add dimmer switches to your overhead lighting so you can set a mood for your party.

  • Add candles around your spaces to provide a warm, welcoming feeling. Large groups of candles provide a great impact. Un-scented candles may be preferred if you have a lot of food smells.

 {Sconces in this family room offer both decoration and a nice glow around this bar cabinet. Drinks anyone?  Design by April Force Pardoe Interiors .}

{Sconces in this family room offer both decoration and a nice glow around this bar cabinet. Drinks anyone? Design by April Force Pardoe Interiors.}

  • If you have a cabinet space that will be used during your party consider adding battery-operated under cabinet lights to that area and if you like the impact, you may want to add permanent under cabinet lighting to the space. Install them toward the front of the underneath of the cabinet so they provide maximum task lighting.

  • Beyond your party, or if time allows beforehand, consider adding sconces to your spaces. They provide great additional, eye-level light to hallways, dining rooms and living spaces.

Layering lighting is similar to layering your clothing - one shirt will do the job, but when you add a sweater and a scarf you really make it interesting! Use lighting to make your home and your guests more interesting! Once you enhance the lighting in your home you’ll increase your enjoyment of your rooms, you’ll enhance your home, enhance your guests (great lighting always makes us look better!) and your guests’ enjoyment of your home. See how lighting can really make a difference? 


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