Category Archives: Elegant Party Ideas & Hosting Tips

Your guide to party planning, hosting, and adding unique touches that turn gatherings into memorable occasions

Dagmar Obert | Balsam Hill Design Consultant

Ask Balsam Hill With Dagmar Obert: On Lanterns

Dear Dagmar,

A friend gave me a set of lanterns as a gift, but I can’t seem to make them match my home’s theme. Are there ways I can use such beautiful lanterns other than as light fixtures?



Hi Vivian,

Lanterns are one of those ordinary objects that take on everyday functions. They can even evolve into an art form when treated with creativity and imagination.

Recently, I was in a hotel. It was newly renovated and it strayed away from its traditional design. Six extremely large lanterns that housed candles were used. Inside these traditional lighting items were some seascape materials that brought an outdoor beach ambience to the interiors. This simple hint of the sea was able to embrace the look of the lobby that donned mid-century modern furnishings. At the same time, it was also able to keep the color scheme that evoked a warm sunny day at the beach. And that’s all because of the large lanterns and its contents.

Lanterns as decoration

Lanterns can be used throughout the year, not only as light fixtures, but also as versatile decorative items. You can add lanterns as year-round décor in the porch by simply changing the contents to fit whatever season or holiday is coming. Most of these light fixtures have a ring at the top, where you can tie ribbons or bows. You can even put a dried floral arrangement there.

These light fixtures come in different finishes that you can work with, such as iron black, copper, oil rubbed bronze and distressed paint. Some lanterns has fret work, scrolls, or other styles influenced by a certain period. It’s really quite hard to imagine all the possibilities that go with these features. You can also just update a lantern’s look instead of working with its existing finish or design. By painting the framework with a color that matches your theme, you can integrate the contents seamlessly with the lantern.

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Dagmar Obert | Balsam Hill Design Consultant

The Great Gatsby Style: How to Host a 1920s New Year’s Eve Party

End the year in style with a show-stopping New Year’s Eve party inspired by the Roaring Twenties.

Balsam Hill shows readers how to throw a stylish New Year's Eve party inspired by The Great Gatsby

The 1920s was a great time in America. Free markets were working overtime. Research and development that led to technological advancements kept things progressing. There was a boom in the car industry. Working people were well paid and everybody seemed to have great buying power. The working man had more money in his pocket to spend. The country easily became the strongest and richest nation in the world, thanks to its vast economic power.

But the 1920s became the Roaring Twenties not only because of America’s prosperity during this decade but also because of the dynamic culture of its bustling society. It was from this period that the iconic Great Gatsby emerged.

The Great Gatsby

Balsam Hill takes inspiration from the opulent lifestyle of Jay Gatsby, an icon of the Roaring Twenties
Leonardo Di Caprio in the title role of The Great Gatsby

Jay Gatsby is primarily known for the lavish parties he throws. Think along the same lines as this young, mysterious millionaire from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel if you are looking to create a decadent party that exudes the opulence of the era. Step back into this wonderful decade of style and sophistication with these tips on hosting a 1920s Great Gatsby party of extravagance.

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Balsam Hill | Balsam Hill Editors

How to Wrap a Gift with Your Own Personal Touch

Christmas is the season of giving. It is a time when we get together with family and friends over a hearty holiday dinner, share stories, and present gifts to each other. It is our simple way of showing appreciation for their company throughout the previous year. While the value of the present may vary from each person, what matters most is the thought of giving.

This week, Balsam Hill shares our four favorite ways to creating a unique and personalized holiday gift for loved ones. With these simple ideas, you can make your presents more timeless and memorable.

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Balsam Hill | Balsam Hill Editors

The Best-Kept Secrets to a Hassle-free Christmas Dinner Party

By now, you may have already seen quick and easy how-tos for holiday celebrations, but Balsam Hill is taking Christmas party planning to a whole new level by giving you ideas you won’t find anywhere else.

Modern Spaces by Marshfield Interior Designers & Decorators Stacy Curran


The savvy host knows that preparing for a dinner party can be daunting. Now, you can take away the pressure of hosting a traditional Christmas feast with these handy tips.

1. Keep the Guest List Manageable

The number of attendees greatly affects your workload. It’s important to assess your guest list according to your capacity as a party planner and host. Limit visitors to a smart six if you’re doing all the cooking. It’s best to avail of catering services if you’re expecting a bigger crowd.

People’s social calendars can fill up quickly during the holidays. Confirm guest attendance either by calling or via e-mail. This is also a great time to ask guests if they have any food allergies or special dietary preferences.

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