Celebrate a new year with color, creativityJanuary 4, 2017 9:48am

Jan. 03-- "I see trees of green, red roses, too

I see them bloom for me and you

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world"

-Louis Armstrong, "What a Wonderful World"

It is a wonderful world, and one that's full of color. What better way to start a new year than by celebrating the natural hues of Mother Earth and all her splendor? The next time you entertain, consider integrating splashes of color in contrast to lingering monochromatic winter days. Bring dull dishes and decor to life with color!

BIDDING ADIEU TO WINTER BLUES

If you reside in an area of our wonderful world that is still in the thick of winter, it may feel counterintuitive to delve into spring's splendor. If that's the case, try easing into a colorful palette more gradually.

"Come Jan. 2, we're all a bit tired of bright red and green and gleaming gold and silver," explains Carla McDonald, national entertaining expert and founder/editor in chief of The Salonniere, a website dedicated to entertaining. "During the winter months, interesting, non-traditional color combinations like dark chocolate and mint, pewter and saffron are a great way of adding fresh pops of color to our entertaining palette."

McDonald says incorporating metals as decor elements such as aged brass and copper will be a welcome respite from the holiday sheen of lights and glitter.

While decor can be soft and elegant, serving naturally colorful dishes like winter-roasted vegetables, lemon-sage chicken cutlets and a mini-pudding (Foodnetwork.com), will not only brighten plates, but moods as well. Guests will most likely appreciate the lighter, healthier offerings post-holidays.

SPRING FAST FORWARD

For those unaffected by wintery doldrums, go for the gold! Or rather, yellow, orange and green.

"By the end of March everyone is ready for the promise of summer," McDonald says. "I love using citrus hues when entertaining in the spring. Visually, pops of yellow, green and orange warm us up and tell us that sun-filled days are ahead."

Of course, adding liquid warmth to your entertaining regimen is another caveat for utilizing color. McDonald recommends serving blood orange cocktails.

If and when weather permits, take the party outside. Don't be afraid to accent tabletops with vibrancy in linen, dinnerware and glassware.

"I'm excited about Pantone's color of the year-Pantone 15-034-for entertaining," McDonald says. "It's a bright yellow-green shade that evokes summer grass and Granny Smith apples."

What better spring fare to accompany citrus color combinations than seasonal salads? Think about a traditional spinach and strawberry salad, grilled tuna salad nicoise with red and yellow tomatoes or a Deconstructed BLT Salad (CoastalLiving.com).

COLOR ME HAPPY

"Using color to organize a theme for a party can be full of surprises for your guests," McDonald says, "but it can also be a wonderfully fun and creative exercise for you as the host."

One of the ways in which McDonald connects color with creative entertaining is through movie themes.

While weather is still chilly, guests will appreciate the comfort of a cozy movie night by the fireplace. When the sun makes her debut, family and friends would surely appreciate an outdoor movie with lawn chairs and lemonade.

Titles McDonald has used in the past: "The Pink Panther" (1963), "The Yellow Submarine," (1968) and "The Blue Lagoon" (1980).

The way in which a host/hostess chooses to apply color from a movie title is limitless.

"Let the color in the title guide everything from the flowers and decor to the signature cocktail and playlist," McDonald says. "For example, for a Pink Panther party, simply go to iTunes or Spotify and search for songs with the word 'pink' in them and include them on a playlist."

In homage to Prince and the '80s, host a "Purple Rain" throwback bash. Adorn your table with violets, lavender or Verbena. Check out the Portmeirion Dinnerware, Sophie Conran Mulberry Collection for purple-hued plates and accompaniments. Want to go the extra mile? Think about serving purple carrots, an eggplant-inspired dish and a blackberry cobbler.

PALETTE ON A PENNY

The beauty of nature is that you need not spend a dime (or penny) to maximize entertaining potential. Even if you don't have purple carrots-or any carrots-in your garden, there are other pickings to ponder. If you have any flowers, or fields, or friends with foliage, you have all the colorful decor required.

Wildflowers and freshly picked greenery are visually pleasing and can be placed in a vase, scattered atop a table runner or set out strategically in bunches bound with twine.

"The trick to creating a visual impact on a budget is to use a large number of one inexpensive item," McDonald says. "For example, use a giant bowl of lemons or a big vase that's filled with tulips in one color or tons of glass votive candles all in the same hue."

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(c)2017 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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