How to Get Your House Party-Ready

By Danielle Pergament, Allure
Spontaneity is essential to a good party, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't plan ahead. Everyone will have a lot more fun if you're not stressed-out. A week or two before the party, jot down a list of all the things you have to do to get the house in order, and do one or two chores a day.
Clean house. 
[post_ads]Obviously, you should vacuum, dust, and remove all dirty dishes from the sink, but the inside of the refrigerator doesn't have to sparkle. (You can safely assume people won't look in your dishwasher, hamper, or closets, either.) Your home should smell fantastic, so spritz your upholstery with a linen spray. I love a beautifully made bed but don't always have the time to iron my sheets. A good way to cheat is to press the pillowcases and the top portion of the sheet that's exposed above the bedspread. It's an old photo-shoot trick.

Hide the personals.
Unfortunately, people do snoop, especially in your bedroom and bathroom, so prepare for the worst and put away the Xanax, the foot-fungus cream—anything you don't want found.
Focus on the bathroom. 
Replace your regular towels with pretty cotton ones. I find that people don't like to be the first to mess up perfect-looking towels, so, as crazy as it sounds, I use them once lightly before the guests arrive. I think a bar of soap is more gracious than a pump, and I always open a fresh one. My favorite is Santa Maria Novella's Pomegranate.

Lighten up. 
The best parties are a bit dark and mysterious. Try to skip overhead lighting and just use table lamps, floor lamps, hanging lamps, and candles. Aim for even pockets of low light. For a party, I swap out the virtuous but unflattering energy-efficient bulbs I use most of the time and put in 25-watt incandescent bulbs, which give off a warm glow.
Smell the flowers.
People tend to buy loads of flowers without a good sense of where they'll go. Shop with a specific vase in mind. If you have a big crystal one for the dining-room table, grab an armful of peonies. Consider a single stem, like a poppy, in a bud vase on a side table, or a small cluster of fragrant hyacinths in a cup in the bathroom. Keep in mind that flowers, like food, should be seasonal.
Raise the bar.
There's something so welcoming and old-fashioned about walking into someone's home and seeing a bar all set up. I put out the essentials—liquor, glasses, a bucket of ice, and slices of lemon and lime—so the guests are free to fix themselves drinks, even if I'm serving as well. I avoid coasters (they say, "My furniture is more important than whether you have a good time") and stock up on nice cocktail napkins. They're just not as uptight.


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Lifestyle Magazine: How to Get Your House Party-Ready
How to Get Your House Party-Ready
Lifestyle Magazine
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