Tricks of the Trade: Setting the Mood 1


event design

Event Design Tips & Tricks

A talented event designer employs light, color, sound and texture to create innovative settings that reflect both the unique flavor of the overall event and the objectives for the event’s various stages. An event’s design is essential to establishing a cohesive identity and to developing a mood that positively influences guest behavior. Here are some Vibrant Table tips and tricks to make your event decor work for you.



  1. LIGHTING is the most effective way to establish ambiance. If you have a limited budget, invest it here. Light elements of  interest like bars or hors d’oeuvre stations. Make tables welcoming oases with candles, lamps, or pin-spotting. (More on lighting later.)
  2. COLOR sets mood. Do you want energetic? Go with bright colors like fuchsia, red or orange. Blue and green tones tend to be calming. White or soft tones create romance. Monochromatic or grey schemes establish a more somber and pensive mood.
  3. DRAPING can completely change the nature of a venue. Need proof? Watch Portland Art Museum’s Grand Ballroom transform from earthy Saharan to modern Chinese or the Fields Ballroom from Grecian to futuristic industrial. Drape is used to divide large spaces, create paths, or disguise service areas. Combined with color theory, drape can affect how large a room feels: light expands, dark decreases.
  4. MOTIVATE your guests throughout the event. Want to encourage intimate conversation? Create lounge areas or intimate nooks where people can get comfortable. Want to encourage movement? Disperse bars, food stations, and other areas of interest around the facility.  Have various stages of your event in different rooms – a cocktail reception in one room, an auction in another. People are drawn to the light, so use it to move guests by lighting where you want to go and darkening where you want them to leave. (This technique is great for auctions! Slowly lighten/darken the tables and guests won’t even realize they are moving along the path of items.)
  5. MUSIC is another big mood enhancer. Want guests to converse? Choose upbeat music with no lyrics and limit volume. Dance tunes say it’s time to party (light the dance floor enough to attract but not so bright it discourages the shier among us!). Energetic tunes like jazz and samba are great for auctions.
  6. GARNISH with textural elements that reflect the event’s theme or mood. Feathers and disco balls give one message, large formal floral arrangements another, and dark sculptural centerpieces yet another.

Photos by Evrim IcozLeah Nash, & Evrim Icoz.
from left to right

Also See:

A Vibrant Challenge: Setting the Mood 2.

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~ by Faith on April 22, 2010.

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