Sometimes, it’s the venue: the otherwise-perfect space for your event just happens to have a dance floor that looks like it was made of vinyl tiles harvested from ’70s kitchens, all puce and burnt sienna. Sometimes, it’s the A/V: a massive hanging slideshow that interrupts the visual flow of a room and is going to have everything from PowerPoint to close-ups of people’s faces projected on it, so it’s impossible to decorate around. Sometimes, it’s the d├ęcor itself: how do you choose furniture that goes with a Standing On Top of Everest theme?
We’re here to tell you.
Keep It Simple
The first thing you should recognize is that there’s a limit to how much personality any space can contain — if you already have an eye-popping d├ęcor and you try to match it with crazy furniture, you’re going to make the space too busy and overwhelm the sense of awe. (Contrarywise, if the furniture is the only thing adding life to a space, make it as zany and over-the-top as you can!) In the vast majority of cases, you want the furniture within a space to disappear, because the focus should be on the people using it (or on stage, or whatever), not on the furniture itself.
In general, ‘simple’ means ‘in large groups of identical items, with clean lines, little to no color (i.e. white, black, grey, or earth tones), and not massively contrasting with the background.’
Hide the Offender
If the problem is something structural, like an inappropriate wall mural, cover it up with a simple curtain on a portable standing rod. If it’s a dance floor, rent a more appropriate dance floor to put over the dance floor. If it’s just one or two pieces of d├ęcor that can’t be removed from the walls, arrange for them to be dimly lit, with bright uplights illuminating choice decorations on either side. Once the offenders are hidden, you can choose whatever rental d├ęcor you want!
There are some things that are so standard, they just don’t ever stand out, no matter what you do with them. You can, for example, furnish literally any sitting event with those black folding chairs with white cushions. They’re so ubiquitous that the modern corporate mind just ignores them. Ditto the generic bar stool. When nothing seems to fit, just pick the thing that is the least likely to garner any attention, and roll with it.
Divide the Space
Oftentimes an event will have one large space where guests will do everything from listen to a speech to play a game to eat dinner. And almost as often, the dinner-eating d├ęcor just isn’t the same as the game-playing d├ęcor or other speech-listening d├ęcor. Rather than fuss about renting chairs that match all three areas, rent chairs that match your tables and place settings, and then rent a portable curtain to wall off the eating area until dinner is actually ready.
Work THAT In
Perhaps the best (but most challenging) route is to work something about THAT into your rental furniture. That God-awful dance floor? What if you could rent LED pendant lights that could be programmed to take on those colors? Or even just rent (or have made) some tablecloths that have ribbons of those colors in them? Just because something seems out of place now doesn’t mean it has to be out of place by the time all is said and done. Be creative!