When it comes to decorating for a party, I would say that I am an all-or-nothing person. I either go overboard with attention to detail for palette, pattern and style, or I simply cut greens from my garden, throw them in a vase and enjoy the food and company.

Since I wrote this column on the Fourth of July, just a few hours before guests arrived for a potluck, I thought I’d share something a little bit different — something that’s neither all nor nothing, but somewhere in between and stress-free.

At the last minute, I decided to have a small celebration with family and a few friends. Even though I only started shopping the day before, I wanted the house to feel celebratory with a red, white and blue theme, of course. I thought the food would be the easy part. Strawberries, check. Whipped cream, check. But blueberries were $6.99 for the smallest container I’ve ever seen! On principle alone I couldn’t buy them.


Luckily, I found these fun red, white and blue LED-light star necklaces at the supermarket and got my daughter Nicki to model them. The best part was that they were 40 percent off (one of the benefits of being a last-minute shopper), so I bought all they had. These patriotic flashes of color will not only adorn the tabletops, but my guests as well!

While I obviously did not go all out to decorate for our country’s birthday celebration, I’m sure my guests won’t mind. I’m making a mashed potato bar, ribs, Brussels sprouts and corn, with gourmet burgers and other delectables on their way. So, forget about those blueberries! I’ll lay out my strawberries with some Ghirardelli white and dark chocolate that I found in my pantry, and caramel sauce for dipping.

The colors may not be quite right, but the berries will be as sweet as our freedom. And finally, the best accent: a giant American flag that we hang on our lanai every year. That’s the greatest decor of all!

Cathy Lee is a home style expert, speaker, president and designer of Cathy Lee Style. Her redesigns of residential and business spaces have been featured in local and national publications and on HGTV. For more information and inspiring photos of design projects, visit cathyleestyle.com.