Say farewell to 2012 in style with our top tips for your New Year’s Eve party

New Year’s Eve is about fun, fun and more fun with a glittery topping. So out with the old and ring in the new with our guide to throwing a glitzy New Year’s Eve do...

We don't need to remind you that planning ahead makes all the difference. This way you get to the 31st and have all the energy to party and be the best host ever. Although if you love a tight deadline and thrive on pressure then go with the flow - it is after all your party, but you might like to have a rough idea about when to take the canapés round, bring out the buffet and get the glasses charged ready for midnight (no, not at 11.59pm).

Got a dress code? You want to put visitors at their ease rather than have them fret about looking not-quite-right all evening, but a good dress rule for your own home can be as simple as a theme like white and silver, which is enduringly elegant. Make your place look magical – because of course it is that time of year. Lead guests to your door by lighting the path and entrance using outdoor lanterns, and follow the shape of a tree in the front garden with outdoor fairy lights for a fantastic inviting feature.

Inside, be generous with simple tealights or candles in the hall and living spaces to continue the sparkle. A few looks, well, fine, but plenty looks special. Setting them on mirrored surfaces adds to the twinkle. But – and we’re not coming over all killjoy on you – be careful with candles and follow all the rules that’ll keep your home, you and your guests, safe. If the real flame isn't your thing, you might want to get your hands on some faux electric candle lights. We've seen designs by Philips.

Displaying flowers in simple glass vases in the hall, on the table and even in the cloakroom looks chic. Stick to simple blooms in one shade to continue your colour theme.

For buffets or dinner parties, using white dinnerware (pictured above top) then adding in silver chargers and candleholders, for example, is an easy win for a pulled-together look. If you have a dedicated entertaining set, it’s simple to add a few accessories with seasonal sparkle.

Dress up a buffet table using a length of wallpaper with a metallic sparkle in its motif. Alternatively, use a table confetti before you lay out the spread as no one likes a snowflake garnish on their hors d’oeuvres. Cake stands are handy for improving your nibbles to table size ratio if space is getting tight.

Your fridge might also be moving into the uncomfortable side of replete and wishing it had worn a slightly less body-con outfit. If so, filling the kitchen sink with ice means you can keep drinks cool and let people help themselves easily.

As the midnight hour nears, you don’t want to miss the countdown, so make sure you’ve got the clocks synchronised. You could even create a display on the mantel if you gather old-fashioned alarms and carriage clocks. Get the party blowers ready to hand round, too. And all together ‘Should auld acquaintance be forgot...’

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Sarah Warwick, Guest Editor

View all posts by Sarah Warwick, Guest Editor