Use small items to make big impressions

Bring event spaces to life with smart use of decorative accessories.

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It’s often the little things that make the biggest impression. Accessories add to the atmosphere of a party space and should always reflect the event concept or corporate brand. The subjective world of accessories is vast and varied but may include items such as frames, boxes, antiques, sculptures, collectibles, pillows, statues, candles and organic elements.

Here are eight tips to bring a blank tent to life:

  1. Don’t get confused; make sure you understand a party’s style. When decorating with accessories, it’s important to stay within the style constraints of the event design. For example, a vintage table in a minimalist, all-white modern party lounge would be a total mismatch. Accessories should support the party environment, not fight it.
  2. Before any money is spent on accessories, know the limits of your space and carefully plan how accessories can be displayed. Accessories can and should be used throughout your party design, with dinner tables serving as the most common surface. However, given the influence of residential and commercial interior design on today’s party trends, display goes beyond the dinner table. In a tent, look to accessorize entrance tables, shelves, front and back bars, food stations, couches, side and cocktail tables, stages and pedestals.
  3. Use objects that represent the event design or corporate brand. A great place to look for accessories that suit the theme and make the party space speak volumes is in the client’s personal belongings. Particularly with wedding clients, taking the time to view heirloom collectibles, prized art collections and personal keepsakes may prove invaluable for accessorizing their celebration.
  4. Don’t overlook the obvious: color. Choosing accessories in colors that complement an event’s design will boost the design in powerful ways. Contrasting colors will stand out and provide a visual pop, while monochromatic colors will blend in and enhance in subtle ways.
  5. Make a strong statement with groupings of accessories. Small, singular objects may visually disappear in a room or on a table top. Grouping accessories together adds weight and visual significance. For most event designers, there is magic in the odd numbers of three or five items grouped together.
  6. Don’t overwhelm the tent with accessories that are out of scale with the space. Accessories that are too big will dominate a small space or area, while accessories that are too small will disappear in an expansive space.
  7. Keep your priorities straight. Don’t focus on the little things when bigger design issues are afoot. Accessories are important to a party design, but don’t spend a client’s budget on them if air conditioning or additional waitstaff are needed.
  8. Know when to stop! The arrangement of accessories should enhance the space, table, shelf or wall rather than clutter it up. For some reason, some event designers believe every square inch of the tabletop needs to be covered in accessories. Know when to step away from the table and leave a little room to breathe.

Melissa Paul is the owner of Melissa Paul Ltd. Paul is a brand storyteller for the luxury wedding, culinary and hospitality industries.

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