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Host Like a Pro: 6 Insider Tips From Karin Orzol

Ready to shake up your hosting game and throw an unforgettable bash? We're once again teaming up with the fabulous decor and fashion stylist, Karin Orzol, to bring you tips to transform your gatherings into one-of-a-kind experiences.

The thought of entertaining a large group might seem overwhelming, but it's all about how you approach it. You don't need a state-of-the-art kitchen or chef-level culinary skills to host a fabulous dinner party — all you need is creativity, planning, and a few insider tricks.

Set the Stage Early

No one likes rushing around, especially when you're trying to create a welcoming atmosphere. That's why Karin suggests giving yourself some much-needed breathing room by setting up a day in advance.

Start by thinking about what kind of vibe you want. Are you going for sleek and modern, or something more warm and inviting? Let your imagination run wild and guide your decisions. After you've nailed down your theme, it's time to scavenge through your home for hidden gems that could serve as décor pieces.

Karin encourages you to think outside the box when it comes to decorating. Use a large ornamental bowl as a centrepiece, and fill it with a stunning floral arrangement. For a dash of contemporary flair, skip flowers altogether and arrange a selection of vegetables in a clear glass vase. Or, keep the mood classic and warm with scented candles and showstopping candlesticks.

Create a Roving Feast

Why settle for a static dinner setting when you can take your guests on a journey with a roving feast?

Karin loves this dynamic dining concept, where each course is served in a different area of your home. Your guests can enjoy appetisers on wooden serving boards in the garden, then, as the main course arrives on gorgeous servingware, everyone transitions to the dining table — a space you might want to set with a different theme or mood. Finally, for dessert, invite your guests to relax in the lounge, creating an intimate setting to end the evening.

This approach does more than just keep the night interesting — it also lets you showcase your home's versatility and spark conversations with a new backdrop in each setting.

6 Dining Tips for the Modern Host

Now that you know what mood you're going for, it's time to create a dinner party that’s as enjoyable for you as it is for your guests.

Whether you're a seasoned host or new to the game, these strategies from Karin will help you create an unforgettable gathering:

1. Elevate the ambiance

“I've often visited people, and we always end up at the same table, with the same decor,” says Karin. Mix it up and transform your typical dining areas into spaces that elevate the overall experience for your guests. If your guest list includes little ones, keep them happy and comfy with a range of toys, scatters, and blankets.

Avoid the monotony of dining at the same spot by injecting new life and creativity into your setup, ensuring every gathering feels like a special event.

2. Dine under the sun or stars

Step outside the conventional indoor setting by moving your dining experience outdoors, which offers your guests a memorable and refreshing change of scenery.

3. Go wild with table decor

Revitalise your table setting with unexpected items, like two-tone woven baskets or thoughtful personalised elements.

“My mother always makes A4 photocopies of different old photos of whoever is visiting, and uses them as placemats,” says Karin. “Everybody gets a different placemat and it immediately sparks conversation!”

4. Create interactive tablescapes

Turn your tablecloth into an interactive canvas with sheet paper, and invite your guests to express their creativity through doodles and notes. This not only adds a playful element to your gathering but also creates a tangible memory of the occasion.

5. Stylish serving solutions

Tired of running back and forth to the kitchen? Incorporate a strategically placed console or drinks trolley to keep dining essentials within reach. This ensures that everything you need is conveniently at hand while adding an extra layer of sophistication to your space.

6. Simplify your menu

“No one enjoys a dinner party where the host is slaving away in the kitchen,” says Karin.

Maximise the time you spend with your guests by focusing on dishes that can be prepared ahead. Opting for meals that are easy to serve lets you fully engage with your guests and enjoy the party alongside them.

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