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Ask Jennifer Adams: How to avoid red wine accidentally becoming your entertaining theme

Wondering how to remove red-wine stains? Or can you avoid them altogether by not serving red wine while entertaining? Here are Jennifer's tips for stain-reducing, red-wine strategies for fabrics and decor.

You can ask people not to drink red wine when your decor is mostly light fabrics.
You can ask people not to drink red wine when your decor is mostly light fabrics.Read more(Pam Panchak/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS)

Q: Is it OK not to allow red-wine drinking in my home? I love entertaining and red wine, but it always seems somebody is spilling wine on my white sofa or carpet. Messes come with entertaining, but I wish my guests would at least tell me right away instead of hiding the spill with a throw pillow.

A: What a great question, and just in time for the holidays. Whites in decor are beautiful and timeless, but as you are finding out, they have a downside. I also adore whites — all my walls are white — and I love entertaining with a casual atmosphere where my friends and family feel comfortable and at ease.

In my home, I love the look of white fabrics and often select indoor/outdoor-rated fabrics for durability and stain resistance. Spills do happen, and I also have two Labradoodles, Jaxx and Oliver, who enjoy my sofa as much as I do. I'll generally choose a linen tone for fabric — something darker than white to increase stain resistance. Or leather. And textured fabrics help hide stains. (For good or bad; use that information how you will.) Removable covers for your throw pillows and slipcovers for sofas and chairs make for easier cleaning. Another idea is to pull out slipcovers for your parties and send them out for cleaning after.

Though there are plenty of remedies you can find online to remove stains after the fact, dabbing up the spill while it is fresh, with a clean white cloth dampened with cold water, is the best way to keep it from setting. I also keep a red-wine remover handy for when I find the stain later.

The only sure way to prevent red-wine stains, though, is not to serve red wine at your parties. You can even make a light-spirited joke about the whole thing. Or have fun with a white-wine theme.

But remember, stains happen. It could very well could be coffee, berry jam, mustard, salad dressing, beet juice…

Good luck, and enjoy the season!

Have a design dilemma? Jennifer Adams is an award-winning designer, writer and TV personality. Send your questions to or on Twitter: @JenniferAdams. For more design ideas, visit Jennifer's blog on her website at