Tips From a Style Expert: Props For a Quick & Easy July 4th

(Photo Lou Aliotta)

Family holidays being what they are, we don’t always have time and resources to pull together a designer table. Style consultant Ginny Lassiter, who also owns the eclectic Sunset River Marketplace in Calabash, N.C., says, “I’m either at the gallery or working on a design most days, so I rarely have time for elaborate preparations, but I still love to have my friends and family over for cook outs or dinner out on the deck.”

Eclectic simplicity is Ginny’s signature design trait. “I have to keep it simple,” she laughs, “or I wouldn’t be able to pull it off. For outdoor meals, I sometimes like to use different ‘containers’ that I can just fill up with everything we need.

“I always try to incorporate a few of my favorite things into the mix … and I like different textures … a rough hewn antique wooden server is perfect to fill with everything from crystal wine glasses to squeeze bottles of mustard.”

Paper paint buckets, ceramic vessels, standing metal planters, galvanized steel tubs, terracotta garden pots, wooden trench bowls . . . According to this “eclectonista,” these can all be props for your last minute get-together. Lassiter advises her clients to be on the lookout for assorted pieces that can double as home décor and presentation pieces.

For a quick and easy July 4th celebration, Lassiter suggests walking through your home (and garden) on a container hunt. Decide what you want to use. Maybe you have large baskets that work well together, or a collection of antique boxes. If they’re too deep, an overturned tin or pot covered with linens will camouflage it.

Once you’ve determined what your major containers are, develop a theme of color or material from that. Tucking a bit of sphagnum moss or raffia in place gives your presentation an organic feel. Holiday flags and colors add festivity. Keep in mind that a multi-level grouping adds drama and interest.

Remember to stand back at look at the display. You want it to appear creative, not cluttered. Now just throw something on the barbecue, and you’re ready for a festive fourth.

Style consultant Ginny Lassiter is the owner of Sunset River Marketplace, a gallery of fine art and crafts located in the historic fishing village of Calabash, N.C. She lives the eclectic life personally and professionally, and is available for consultations. She can be reached at 910-575-5999. For more information, visit the website:; or "like" the gallery's Facebook page.