Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring

Last night we said farewell to summer by drawing our names in the dark with the last of the sparklers, and today we’re welcoming fall with a return to the books. And with my guys back to school, I’m counting on more time to read and share a dozen new titles with you, starting with a fresh and budget-friendly approach to party planning that comes just as the shorter days and cooler nights beckon us to gather inside with family and friends. It’s Decorate for a Party: Stylish and Simple Ideas for Meaningful Gatherings by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring, and it’s full of all kinds of wonderful ideas and easy DIYs to add a warm and personal touch to any gathering, make your guests feel extra welcome, and relieve the pressure to be perfect so you can have fun in the process. I like to think of it as decor within reach — aspirational and inspirational, yes, but most importantly: totally doable. Splashy parties with grand gestures and even grander budgets have their time and place but that’s not here: Decorate for a Party is a party where everyone is welcome.


Holly and Leslie detail their approach to party planning in an introductory chapter that includes practical tips for managing a variety of settings (i.e. the off-site party, the buffet-style party and the party in a small space) as well as suggestions for creating atmosphere and choosing a theme.

The chapters that follow explore ten decorating themes that can be adapted to suit a number of occasions, such as the “pure and simple” theme suggested for the elegant dinner party for six pictured above and below. I love this one for the design elements harkening back to a simpler time (vintage china, kraft paper, linen, berries, rustic pottery, infused water, homemade preserves) and the harvest-time colours (a soothing mix of green, cream, violet and yellow).


The theme is thoughtful, but not fussy. Holly and Leslie encourage readers to use what they have (from dishes to craft supplies to fruits and wildflowers) and focus on a few small details. I love the six ways with place settings here in this chapter and the “six ways” feature elsewhere, including six ways with drink stirrers, name cards and stamp napkins. Each theme features a suggested playlist too. (They’ve thought of everything!)


The “playful and sweet” theme stole my heart with its bright colours and super fun elements for the young and young-at-heart: think sequins, pom poms, garlands, lanterns and washi tape. Obviously adorable for a kids’ party, but so sweet for a Sweet Sixteen, baby shower or mother/daughter crafternoon too.

Decorate for a Party, p132tr, photography by Leslie Shewring

Did you know? Carnations can stay in cones without water for up to 8 hours without wilting.


Decorate for a Party, p132 br, photography by Leslie Shewring

If you’ve got the inclination, you could wear your party colours too! I love these ice-cream-coloured nails. (Note to self: make time to do my nails before the party!)

The book wraps up with a source list for party supplies and tableware in the UK, US & Canada, Europe and Australia, including some of my favourites, Oh Happy Day Shop, Minted, Michaels and

Decorate for a Party is in stores a week today and available for pre-order at Indigo, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Quarto Knows, and other booksellers. To see more of the book, check out this brilliant trailer and the following posts from the blog book tour happening this week and next. (I’ll update this post to include direct links to everyone’s posts as they’re published.)

Monday 5th September – Avenue Lifestyle
Tuesday 6th September – try small things
Wednesday 7th September – Wee Birdy
Thursday 8th September – My Sweet Savannah
Friday 9th September – 91 Magazine

Monday 12th September – Color Outside the Lines
Tuesday 13th September – Lobster & Swan
Wednesday 14th September – The Relished Roost
Thursday 15th September – Heart Home Magazine
Friday 16th September – The Decorista

Parties are as much about making your guests feel welcome as they are expressing your creativity and having fun yourself, and Decorate for a Party is full of all kinds of inspiration. It’s a beautiful, magical book. I hope you’ll treat yourself to a copy.

Image 1 (mine) 2 Holly Marder 3 Holly Marder 4 Leslie Shewring 5 Leslie Shewring 6 Holly Becker 7 Leslie Shewring 8 Holly Becker. Quarto Publishing Group USA sent me a copy of Decorate for a Party in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. (‘Tho I’m sure you’ll love it too!)

11 responses to “Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring”

  1. Love the playful and the sweet and the idea of flowers in the ice-cream cones. How very imaginative!. Picking a theme for a party and then following through would be so much fun. They have great ideas.

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