How the Better Homes & Gardens Collection at Walmart Starred at People’s SAG Awards Afterparty

Tony Schubert, the designer behind People’s SAG Awards Afterparty, has mastered the art of creating the perfect party—and he shared some of his secrets with us.

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SAG afterparty room design featuring BHG furniture

Chelsea Lauren/Shutterstock

Whether you’re in charge of planning an elaborate wedding ceremony or a casual Sunday brunch, putting together an event can make anyone feel the pressure of getting everything right. Tony Schubert, a designer and owner of Event Eleven, knows this firsthand—his company produces a number of major events, from fashion shows to film premieres to awards show parties. 

He took on the latter at this year’s People’s Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards Afterparty, which welcomes all the ceremony’s attending A-listers. (The Afterparty also featured items from the Better Homes & Gardens Collection at Walmart—more on that below.) When planning an event of this caliber, Schubert sticks to a few golden rules: Make everyone feel at home, work the lighting, and use the existing venue to its full potential.

“I don't veer too far off from what an existing venue looks like, especially if we can’t design a complete overhaul,” he says. “With most of our events, we want the guests to feel comfortable. Like they’re entering someone’s home where they want to kick off their shoes and stay awhile.”

For the 2023 SAG Awards Afterparty, half of the event took place inside a hotel lobby, with the other half tented just outside. It was a challenge to marry both environments and make it feel like they worked together, Schubert says, and the overall vision was to create a lounge environment that spoke to the hotel space but also felt elevated enough for its guests.

To create that ambiance, Schubert and his team start with designing a mood board and choosing materials like stone, wood, and wallpaper. 

“Since most of the design went into the tented environment, I decided to use soft off-white sheer drapery to line all the tents, then we layered a solid backing to them,” he explains. “We backlit these drapes in a soft amber lighting that gives a beautiful glow and makes everyone in the room look great.”

Outdoor furniture set at SAG awards

Chelsea Lauren/Shutterstock

Buy It: Braxton 4-Piece Wood Conversation Set with Off-White Cushions, $1,298,; Hermosa Square OD Throw, $13,; Chad Planter, $9,

This year, Schubert and his team used furniture from the Better Homes & Gardens at Walmart collection to decorate and pull everything together.

“Using the BHG furniture this year worked seamlessly into the design,” Schubert says. “We chose a line of furniture that has a great modern, outdoor feel that would be a nice addition to anyone’s home and created special lounges that sit within our environments that speak specifically to the line. With sofas, coffee tables, planters, lanterns and chairs, it really allowed us to fill in these two areas with great pieces.”

This 4-piece outdoor conversation set allowed guests to take a quick (but certainly comfy break) from the commotion, and textured throw pillows and ceramic planters added the finishing touches. 

Buy It: Decorative Black Metal Battery Operated Outdoor Lantern, $19,; Battery Operated Woven Pendant, $79,; 13oz Black Orchid & Lotus Scented Wooden Wick Jar Candle, $13,

For lighting—which Schubert argues is the most important aspect of designing an event—the Event Eleven team filled the place with floor lanterns of varying sizes for increased visual interest, woven pendant lights, and wooden wick jar candles in a black orchid and lotus scent.

“My biggest tip is always lighting,” he says. “Make sure you have dimmers in all your rooms—there’s nothing worse than walking into a bright room when arriving at a party. Keep everything at 40%, and add lots of candlelight.”

Schubert’s overall piece of advice: Don’t be afraid to go all out, especially if it’s a themed party. 

“Don’t add a few Moroccan pillows and call it,” he says. “Add in lanterns and food. Rent or buy specialty glassware or china that makes the theme come alive. If you can afford to hire a bartender, dress them up in the theme and create specialty drinks that match.”

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