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If anyone could be considered an entertaining expert, it’s designer Shayla Copas, whose book, The Four Seasons of Entertaining, showcases the design and execution of more than 16 inspiring celebrations. Here, Copas shares with us her expert advice for designing beautiful spaces that also stand up to festive dinner parties and lively luncheons alike.

Pretty that Performs

When designing for party-savvy clients, Copas acknowledges that “it’s terrifying for many homeowners the first time that they host a party after designing their homes.” The key, she says, is incorporating high-performance, stain-resistant (often indoor/outdoor) pieces that can stand up to heavy traffic or spills. “We often specify high-performance rugs and textiles in high-traffic areas and areas with children and pets,” she says. Some of her favorite performance rugs include Polaris – Langley, Colours – Ketchum, Polaris – Zenith, and Parades – Hanai

Party with a Plan

Also a must for Copas: a space plan that’s conducive to entertaining. “I address the floor plan, space planning, and lighting of the kitchen, dining room, living room, and powder rooms with my clients who love to entertain,” says the designer. She also specifies with clients ahead of time which pieces would be comfortable price-wise to replace if they were damaged. “I usually don’t stress out if stemware or china breaks, and Replacements, Ltd. in Greensboro, North Carolina is a great resource for finding a specific pattern of dishes, flatware or stemware.”

“The most important thing to remember is to design with entertaining in mind by including high-performance items. We often specify high-performance rugs and textiles in high-traffic areas and areas with children and pets”

Foundational Favorites

While her book, Four Seasons of Entertaining, dives into the details behind various seasonal celebrations, Copas maintains a few sweeping must-haves for any occasion. “Having one good set of china is a must,” she says. “I also suggest a sensible, neutral set that can be layered with different top plates and chargers throughout the year. Beautiful monogrammed napkins are also a must have!”

“I address the floor plan, space planning, and lighting of the kitchen, dining room, living room, and powder rooms with my clients who love to entertain.”

Authentic Ease

At the end of the day, Shayla aims to take the stress out of hosting. “I believe that we are in a place in time when there are no rules. Have fun with entertaining and make it stress-free by focusing on being prepared so  you can be an authentic host rather than stressed about the details.”