updated 12/13/2012 AT 3:00 PM ET
•originally published 12/23/2012 AT 8:05 AM ET
Celebrity event planner and chef Linnea Johansson knows how to throw a party. She’s worked with A-list stars such as Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon and Justin Timberlake and just released her second book, Perfect Parties – Tips and Recipes from a New York Party Planner in October. Now she’s lending her expertise to PEOPLE.com with two blogs geared toward your holiday party planning. Cheers!
When planning a holiday party or a bash for any time of year, you may want to start with an easy, inexpensive dining room makeover.
Giving your old chairs a new look in no time to spruce up your dining room for the holidays and/or any party occasion. Simply wrap fabric against the back of the chairs and then staple the fabric on the inside of the back … and you have new chair slip covers in a jiffy. This works great at home, and you can easily create a new look for a room.
This trick has saved me many times. I once did an event for the Food Network to honor their stars. There was not much to do on the food end as all the show hosts and chefs sent over their recipes for a menu. The space was beautiful but the chairs I rented arrived in the wrong color. So I had to do a little last minute dining room makeover. My team and I rushed out and got fabric from the office and did a quick makeover for the chairs right before the guests started to arrive.
Light It Like Gere
Most of my clients think I am crazy when I say I want to spend 50% of the decor budget on lighting. I always have to tell them the same story to convince them. When doing a job with Richard Gere and his wife at their restaurant the Bedford Post Inn, they not only had tons of cozy lighting in their restaurant, but also had little pink lights throughout the space. As he has been in countless movies, Richard told me that pinkish-hued lights is a movie set trick and makes everyone look great and at least 10 years younger. I have been using pink lights ever since. Thanks, Richard!
Turning frames into trays is one of my favorite decor tricks, and I have used it at countless events. Simply buy a cheap frame, and frame a decorative fabric or decorative paper. Then you can use it as a serving tray, platter on a buffet or decorative charger under your guest plates – easy and cheap to create. And the best part is, for the next party, you can simply frame something new to match that parties theme. As you can imagine, my office has quite a few frames stacked in it.
Table Decor & Bar in One