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Get your house entertainment-ready

By Olivia Hughes
Australian homemaker Chyka Keebaugh is unveiling her first homewares collection in time for summer, giving us plenty of reasons to spruce up our homes in the name of entertainment.

From champagne-gold and matt-copper cutlery sets to peachy-pink linen napkins and placemats, the emphasis is on bringing the party to the table now that we can start entertaining at home again.

And if you’ve forgotten what it’s like to have people over, Keebaugh – whose collection Chyka Home is out through Harris Scarfe – says there are a few key moves to make the transition seamless. “I love an American style of entertaining – where everything is bold and they use a lot of colour in the home,” says Keebaugh, whose range includes checked and coloured tablecloths, glassware and dinnerware.

“It’s okay to mix and match your sets – think textures that clash, a bit of old and new. It’s about cleverly bringing it all together without the scene looking over-thought,” she says.

Chyka Keebaugh’s homewares range features champagne-gold and matt-copper cutlery sets and peachy-pink linen napkins and place mats. 

It’s also an opportunity to think outside the square.

“We’ve all become a little too comfortable in our homes, so why not take the dining table outside in the backyard, get a large, bright tablecloth and layer the setting?” Keebaugh says.

“There’s nothing more beautiful than a cloth floating in the wind as you all sit around to eat and drink.”

Although bright colouring is her own secret weapon to table setting success, Keebaugh says going tonal is also a chic move.

This is where the theme is carried from the table linen through to the food served. Matching textured pink plates with a chic pink cocktail (think watermelon mojito) is an easy way to impress guests.

“It’s been a while since we invited guests over, so make sure you walk through your front door and really take notice of what you see,” Keebaugh says.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match glassware.

“Perhaps you moved your couch to see the TV better during lockdown, maybe the light globe needs to be replaced, add some new candles to the home and always bring fresh flowers to the setting. Repaint a white wall with some colour, too,” she says.

Make sure you set the table a day before to save time, and opt for a cold entree, a hot main and a cold dessert to save even more precious minutes.

“It means you’ll have more time to mingle rather than slave away in the kitchen,” Keebaugh says. “Go for meals that are easy. If you’re doing a barbecue, go for a few key cuts and do them well.” And make two salads that are abundant and flavourful.

Think of adding comfy, bright cushions to a staple chair in the home. Mix and match glassware – bring out your best and don’t be afraid to keep it kitsch and varied.

With more than 30 sets of china on high rotation at home, Keebaugh says, for her, summer entertaining is all about embracing a new optimism.

“We’ve all missed connections with our friends and family. It’s a special time so go all-out and welcome everyone back in,” she says.

Keebaugh says, for her, summer entertaining is all about embracing a new optimism. Photo: Supplied.

For those looking to mix it up indoors, why not clear the coffee table, round up your favourite floor cushions and have everyone sitting on the ground, picnic style.

“Be creative – this is a time about not always eating in the same space,” Keebaugh says.

Get cocktail batches ready before the guests arrive and make sure the fridge has been chilling the white wine for a few days before.

“Garnishes need to be at the ready – they make perfect eye candy – so think herbs for your cocktails and desserts,” Keebaugh says.

If there’s one thing Keebaugh says makes a sweet point of difference it is swapping classic vases for household vessels, including copper pots and old teapots, and filling them with bright peony roses.

“Make sure you have a good Spotify playlist too,” she adds.


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