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As Annie began to plan her Memorial Day get-together—a little shindig for, oh, about 120 sales reps and friends—she realized that making the party décor feel casual and intimate required thinking along just one line: simplicity.

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To that end, she started by renting a bunch of longbaby pillows, family-style barn-wood tables and wood folding chairs. Since the tables and chairs have the organic, easygoing, rustic character she loves, Annie skipped the tablecloths and instead lined the center of the wood tables with two peony centerpieces in clear glass vases at either end, and four white votive candles in clear glass holders in between the flowers. For the table linens, she chose a hand-drawn pink geometric cotton napkin, which picks up the color of the flowers. And to help cushion those hard-on-the-back seats, she added a fuchsia chevron pillow to each. The effervescent color and pattern of both the pillows and the napkins keep the table decorations from looking stiff, and are a fresh burst of color against the lush green of Annie’s springtime lawn. Focusing on just a couple of patterns and hues puts the focus where it belongs: on the incredible food and even more memorable company.

And what’s a party without a bit of mood lighting? Annie strung white, round-bulb Christmas lights across the top of the tent, plus a cluster of white paper globe lanterns in the center, for extra pop at night. As for those peony centerpieces . . . stay tuned for the how-to, and learn how to create the look at home.

The right rug can take your space from awkward to awesome in one easy step. Check out our tips for choosing a gorgeous rug your floors will love

For most people, buying a mattress with their significant other is one of the most difficult things that they will do over the course of their relationship. Everyone is a little bit different, and as a result, preferences regarding the firmness of the bed vary wildly. Rather than all but guaranteeing that one person comes away with the proverbial short end of the stick, the split king bed was born.

The holiday season is almost upon us, which means one thing: Your social calendar is about to be packed with parties and you're going to need some topnotch hostess gifts.