Along with good company, good booze, and good music, good mood lighting is what makes a good party. If you don't have it in place already, don't worry, there are a million ways to add ambiance without dimmer switches and bulging credit cards. These favorite few are accessible and affordable for all you last minute holiday hosts and hostesses.
Aside from enhancing the cozy vibe of a get together, mood lighting can hide a multitude of sins. My favorite antidote to a messy or less than perfect home is a host of tealights— it's a trick I use often for Friday night dinners in when I'm too tired to make the whole house perfect. Light the candles, turn off the lights, ahhh, magic!
Of course, with a variety of candles and other types of easy mood lighting options, there are a variety of creative ways to display them for special occasions. Most are as easy as shopping around your home or as budget friendly as a quick trip to the thrift store:
• I fell in love with a thousand ideas from Brittany Watson's (The House That Lars Built blog) Christmas party at the Danish Ambassador's house last year. She and her team used almost all recycled and found objects. This display greeted guests at the entrance. Brittany gathered cast off tree stumps and topped them with tea lights in mason jars for a glittery and natural display. Check out more of her party details here.
• Candlesticks in wine bottles run the risk of looking a little collegiate, but in large groups, particularly when the bottles are the same color, the look can be creatively elegant. Clear bottles, as pictured, are the most beautiful in my opinion. If you don't have a stash of your own or don't plan on downing copious amounts of chardonnay before next Thursday, stop by a local bar and ask for their old bottles. Whittle candlestick ends down to fit the openings, secure with a little wax dripping, and you're in business.
• Break out the mismatched candlesticks! A solitary pair of tapers can look perfectly elegant, but if formal is not you're thing, don't write off tapers all together. Gather a variety of candlesticks, fit them with candles in varying shapes and size in a similar color range, and spread them across the table. You can harmonize a variety of finishes with a coat of spray paint as in picture 4.
• Light up a buffet with a line of old jars and jugs with a string of Christmas lights. The casual array is part of the vibe, so don't worry about perfection.