• Choose two colors you love and build your décor scheme from there. Your flowers, tableware, and even the drinks you serve can build on this central two-color combo. There's no need to be rigid about the exact shades you use, and of course you can bring in more colors too, but choosing two base colors should help you create a harmonious, festive look.
• Keep it simple. Notice that Chelsea's tables aren't loaded up with tons of dishes or glassware. Think about what you're serving: Do you really need two sizes of spoons, or a salad fork? For a casual party, you can keep glasses on a self-service bar so that the initial table is clean and uncluttered. Try Chelsea's place setting: a simple rectangular napkin fold with a single flower or fruit to weigh it down, and basic flatware on either side.
• Try a DIY garland. Hanging something from the ceiling immediately makes a space feel more festive. We love Chelsea's easy garland, made by folding bits of colored masking tape along a piece of string.
• Stick with low centerpieces. There's nothing worse than sitting at a dinner party where you can only see half the people at the table. Tall flower arrangements can be gorgeous, and they look great on a bar or side table, but for your centerpieces, consider something low and lush. Chelsea's lilacs are low enough that they won't interfere with conversation, but they're just as dramatic as a tall arrangement.
Photos: Chelsea Fuss