INTERIORS

HOW TO HAVE AN A-LIST EASTER ON A D-LIST BUDGET

Avoid pre-party panic attacks and turn Easter into a lifestyle.

April 15, 2019

By now we hope you’ve got everything you need to have a happy Easter – but in the event you haven’t, we’ll help you simplify, get inventive, cut spending, and stress levels when you have no time left. Whether you’re staying at home or ready to escape for an Autumn getaway, consider these your last-minute building blocks for a simple, stylish weekend to make the break your own.  Right this way for unusual tricks that deliver major results! Sending happy Easter wishes to all. If you find yourself in need of more ideas we’d love you to join us over the holiday at instagram @melissa_penfold for lots of family fun, easy decorating and simple entertaining ideas.

For us Easter decorating is super-easy. It’s about garden leaves, autumn vegetables, big books, flickering candles, layers that soften and rough-hewn textures.  It’s always about warm colours that sit right at the heart of our home. We’re getting busy piling bowls with aubergines, zucchinis, parsnips, beets and apples. We have chocolate everywhere (tons of it).

Here’s some simple steps to make Easter entertaining (and decorating) easy to pull off.

MELISSA PENFOLD EASTER 2019 STORY

Eggs from the chickens at Melissa’s country house. Bowl by Wonkiware, www.wonkiware.com.au

Back To Basics

Flowers are lovely, but for casual parties arrange a dozen brown onions on a plate. Put cabbages on trays, and pile zucchini and aubergine in a bowl. Pile potatoes in a bowl. Bunch rosemary in a pretty vase.  See the beauty of nature in all its forms; all you have to do is display it.

Fill trays with lemons. They look (and smell) fabulous on an Autumn table.

Make It Look Good 

Presentation is everything. You can make a plain chicken look good on a bed of curly endive lettuce with a couple of poached eggs on top, with cracked pepper and salt. Cost: $6 a head. Chic value: 10 out of 10. At the other extreme, we’ve seen fabulous catered nosh look like a fry-up in student digs after a hostess with no flair has plated it up. Cost: $100 a head; chic value: 0 out of 10. Even if you cling to old recipes, look at upmarket Instagram accounts, blogs, cookbooks, and magazines to see how food should be served. Big, white plates, with any splashes, wipe away, are a good start.

Fancy food Is Far Less Important Than The Atmosphere

As long as the atmosphere is right, all you need is enough food to go around, served simply. With smiling, relaxed hosts, people will have more fun tucking into something simple, than a feast dished up by largely absent hosts. If you love your guests, the rest will follow. As for food, keep it simple but make it look beautiful. So, serve your atlantic salmon or slow-roast lamb on a glittering gold plate, for example.

MELISSA PENFOL DEASTER 2019 STORY

As long as the atmosphere is right, all you need is enough food to go around, served simply. Image via Donna Hay.

It’s Easter, Not a Cook’s Tour

This is not the occasion to take people on a whirlwind round-the-world trip. Don’t mix flavours and cultures. Your Thai coconut soup, osso bucco and rhubarb crumble may each be fabulous, but served consecutively at your Easter lunch party they cover too many cultures and break the cardinal rule of simplicity. Also, when your guest talks to others about the meal afterward, it won’t sound good.

Splash Out On A Monster Bunch of Berries 

Top designers like as much drama and theatre in their arrangements as possible. This year, there are lots of fabulous berries in red and orange around, making it easier to steal the style of  designers, stylists and influencers – gather them in huge vases and planters on central entry tables. One big arrangement can elevate your entire interior.

Remember to Wrap Your Gifts Nicely

When it comes to wrapping everything from books to awkward chunky jewellery, clothing, even slippers, the so-called ‘pouch technique’ is a must. Place the present at one end of a sheet of stiff wrap, tuck in the sides and carefully roll the gift forward, smoothing the paper at each turn, before tying the pouch this creates with ribbon. If done neatly, especially if you fold the corners at each end, it looks like an envelope and holds itself together without tape. Best of all, because it doesn’t require sticky tape, the recipient can take out the gift, pop something else inside the pouch and pass it on. Making it eco-friendly, too.

MELISSA PENFOLD COOKIES EASTER 2019

Focus your Easter energy on one thing: your table. Image via Donna Hay.

Focus Your Energy on One Thing

You don’t need to decorate your entire house at Easter— there’s really no need. All you have to do is focus your energy on one thing: your table. This is the only thing people really notice.

For a high-end look on a budget, stick to two or three colours for your table. Earthy hues never go out of fashion, although autumnal shades of cocoa, stone, and pewter can add richness.

You Don’t Need Fancy, Expensive Things 

Just loads of autumn seasonal vegetables from your local grocer or supermarket for an abundant, generous look. Start with big baskets of shiny red apples.

Go For Expensive Colours

The palette you choose is always important. When on a budget, go for neutral fail-safe tones of ecru, stone, camel, coffee, kahki, charcoal, or black, which have a rich feel and will blend into the background seamlessly. Ideal for Easter, Autumn, and the colder months.

MAKE AN IMPACT USING LEAVES AND AUTUMN BERRIES

Rather than breaking the bank using flowers, use big bunches of leaves from the garden as well as berries to create a statement. Twigs and branches you can collect in the park. While you’re at it, grab crunchy brown leaves and pile them into a porcelain or glass vase.

Layer Up

Top all beds with comfortable throws and soft down pillows. Each of these layers and textures absorb sound and instantly makes a room feel rich and luxe.

Keep It Down

Don’t underestimate the power of simplicity. Real style is restrained. To get a top-notch look this Easter, quieten everything down, particularly colours and clutter.

It’s The Little Things 

Nothing has to cost a lot but they needs scale and proportion. Use  your old coats, boots and hats. They can be better than art, more natural, less try-hard – and make your home look like a Ralph Lauren ad.

Drink Me

The most perfectly weighted glasses will make you and your home feel a million dollars this Easter. Every holiday, we make a beeline for the home section in Ikea where they have some stunning yet inexpensive glasses.

10 EASTER PRESENTS YOU WON’T HAVE THOUGHT OF

  1. A simple, more affordable option for friends who love gardening: a classic wicker garden hat like this one from General Pants.
  2. A string-tidy in timber with string and scissors. Indispensable, for everyone. Like Heaven in Earth’s String Tidy with Scissors. 
  3. Salad Servers: the perfect hostess gift for pals who entertain a lot. Try these from House.com.au
  4. New placemats – in rattans, wickers or bamboo weaves – that will help step up your pal’s entertaining game. Try the Nito Placemats from Williams Sonoma.
  5. Scented candles always work. Our fave brand right now is local candlemaker, Lumira atelierlumira.com.
  6. A great vase in a low open shape that will bring your pal a lifetime of pleasure. Try Ikea’s Begarlig Vase.
  7. French, Italian or English soaps, potions, lotions, unguents, bubbles, scents, scrubs, balms, bath salts and oils in lovely scents. Try Mecca.com.au
  8. Things that add to a collection, whether it’s glass candlesticks, ceramic cake stands, baskets or books, even glass decanters from Ikea, for $7.95
  9. A plant: from maidenhair to climbing white rose, lavender, buxus or birch tree. Check out your closet nursey to see what’s in season.
  10. Anything small and beautifully formed that conforms to your friend’s taste. A Chinese plate, a ceramic milk jug or a bamboo hook, bought specifically with the recipient in mind, can strike the right note. Try AlfrescoEmporium.com

LEAD IMAGE IS FROM INTERIOR BY ADELAIDE BRAGG & ASSOCIATES, PHOTO: LISA COHEN.

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