Designing Saratoga

Happy Memorial Day

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Memorial Day weekend is such an exciting time. People start to come out of their homes and start living outside again, at least around here. I love Memorial Day weekend because to me it signifies the start of the much anticipated summer. With the weather getting warmer and the sun coming out more than the rain, this weekend should live up to my expectations.


I love hosting parties on big weekends with family and friends. I also love going to others homes too; it is after all a bit more relaxing to be a guest than a host but none the less decorating for a holiday weekend is also something I enjoy.


So this weekend if you are going to host a BBQ or party at your home, why not let your guests know just how much you enjoy having them by setting a spectacular table!

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If you are having a more intimate event I highly recommend buying heavy duty plastic outdoor cups and plates. Places like Target, Wal-Mart, Kmart, and Home Goods, all sell pretty and festive table settings that are reusable and inexpensive. You can use these throughout the summer and are virtually impossible to break. This is a great alternative to using your everyday glasses and plates.
I love the idea of using primarily red and white or blue and white and then adding the other color in as the accent. This way the theme is not too overwhelming and still lends a touch of sophistication.

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 Another nice touch for smaller events is name place holders. There are always a few guests who are too shy to just grab a seat or don't want to sit in the hosts seat. By putting name plates on the table settings you are able to mix up couples, friends and give people who haven't seen each other in a while a nice chance to catch up. I love this idea and have always felt it shows the host put a lot of thought into their gathering, truly a welcoming feeling.

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I have used this idea in the past. Simply cut a slit across one side of the cork and then cut a small layer off the bottom on the opposite side in order for the cork to rest easily on the table. Write the names of your guests on small paper and you are done, a quick and easy project. 

When your table design allows, a nice tablecloth or table runner is an easy and quick way to add a touch of color and design. For those of you who have tables with either an umbrella in the middle or the table is part of your design, placemats are the way to go. If you chose to go with mostly red and white plates and decorations, navy blue placemats are a nice option.

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I love this table! The layered cloths add such a nice touch. The striped table cloth also prevents the white table cloth from getting dirty or stained.

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This is a simple runner that can also be used for the 4th of July!

 

If you are having a larger event there is nothing wrong with purchasing disposable cups, napkins and plates. You don't have to spend a lot of money on these items, get basic white napkins and plates and then buy colored cups. You are better off spending your money on items that you can reuse and on items that add to your event such as a beverage dispenser for lemonade or Sangria or a nice bucket to keep beverages cool. These items you will use over and over all summer long.

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I highly recommend picking up a few bunches of flowers from your grocery store. Most grocery stores sell flowers and at little cost. On a recent trip to a wholesale store I purchased a case of mason/canning jars. I take the flowers and cut them down low and separate a few into each jar and use those as place settings. It is easy to do, quick and costs little money. Carnations are particularly strong and last for weeks.

Tea lights and votive candles are great for parties too. They add just the right amount of candlelight. Sometimes those huge citronella candles look a bit tacky. Although they are somewhat useful, offering your guests bug spray verses a bunch of huge candles with bugs floating in them might be a better alternative. Tea lights look beautiful and can be used in lanterns hung from plant hangers or placed inside jars or candle holders.

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 Fire not an option? Buying decorative string lights is also a nice option. They come in just about every shape, size and material and will definitely look better than the flood lights attached to the house. A nice touch on a late summer night.

 

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Memorial Day means a lot of things to a lot of different people. I hope however you choose to celebrate this holiday you do it with style. Even if that means you are looking forward to having a nice quiet weekend or possibly an intimate gathering, don't forget to decorate even the smallest tables!

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Table for two?

Until next time, Happy Designing!

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Kimberlee Billok
From humble beginnings redecorating my childhood bedroom every few months much to my mother’s chagrin, to years of life as a military spouse making short-term stops our own, to finding myself in Saratoga Springs in a 90-year-old home in need of lots of TLC, I have always enjoyed honing my home decorating and design skills in pursuit of making a house a home for the most important people in my world, my husband Mike and our three children. In pursuit of this goal/obsession I have put my undergraduate studio art studies to work, as well as the unofficial HGTV degree I’ve earned under the tutelage of Vern Yip, Genevieve Gorder, Candace Olson, and the other pros who make us all feel as if we can create as they do. I’ve had the good fortune to have numerous colleagues, friends and family who have trusted me enough to allow me to design their spaces as well, and even redecorated the office of my children’s elementary school principal, which although intimidating, was quite a good time (think a juxtaposition of animal prints and sharpened pencils…luckily she loved it!).

Outside of the decorating/design realm I inhabit in my free time, I am fortunate to spend my days teaching 3 and 4 year old preschoolers here in Saratoga, who can’t help but inspire me to be creative on a regular basis. So since every part of life is an adventure, please join me on this one…combining form and function, design and real life, making each room feel beautiful, comfortable, classic, and personal. All wrapped up in a structure that has been in existence before the invention of spray paint (it’s true—I looked it up!). Here goes!!